Posts Tagged ‘Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize’

A little gem in Prague: the Václav Havel Library

September 19, 2019

The Tennessee Journalist of 18 September 2019 carries a short featrure on a human rights asset in Prague: Beyond the bustling Old Town Square is a little library off a side street. With humble signage and a modest building, the Václav Havel Library welcomes thousands of people yearly. The library, named after and founded in 2004 by former Czech president Václava Havla, is meant to be a hub for education, art and social progress. The main meeting space holds about 100 people, and there are gatherings there almost daily from September until June. Events like debates, film screenings and literature nights are open to the public and frequently entice students.

There are two large conferences that the library hosts each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The spring conference is meant to discuss Havla’s European Dialogues and their implementation into today. In addition, the fall conference is to award and celebrate that year’s winner of the Havla Human Rights Prize. [see:]

Aside from hosting events throughout the year, the library also serves as a publishing house. “A lot of Czech people don’t know who we are or what we do,” Stránská said. As the institution continues to grow, the concern of the financial requirement and having enough people to run the library continues to rise. “Three years ago, we did not have an education manager,” Stránská said. “Now we are thinking we’ll need to add another within the next year to help manage the interest.”

The library is open for use by researchers, as well as an online database available for public, global use. More information about the library, its history and upcoming events is located on its website.

Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad wins Vaclav Havel human rights prize 2016

October 18, 2016

Nadia Murad in Strasbourg accepting her award from the Council of Europe

  • Nadia Murad was one of thousands of Yazidi women and girls captured and enslaved by Islamic State in August 2014 – copyright EPA

Iraqi human rights defender Nadia Murad was awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize by the Council of Europe (prize money 60,000 euro). She is a Yazidi woman who was tortured and raped by Islamic State (IS).  The 23-year-old was bought and sold several times, and subjected to sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the jihadists.

Nadia Murad became the face of a campaign to free the Yazidi people and stop human trafficking after escaping IS in November 2014. Miss Murad, who was named a United Nations goodwill ambassador in September, called for the creation of an international court to judge crimes committed by IS extremists in her acceptance speech in Strasbourg. She went on to brand IS’s attack on the Yazidi a “genocide“, adding: “The free world is not reacting.”

 see also:


Source: Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad wins human rights award – BBC News

Call for nominations for Front Line and PACE awards 2016

January 16, 2016

Calls of nomination for two major human rights awards are now open:

The Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedFront Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk was established in 2005. The Award seeks to focus international attention on the human rights defender’s work, thus contributing to the recipient’s personal security, and a cash prize of Euro 15,000 is awarded to the Award recipient and his/her organisation in an effort to support the continuation of this important work. If you would like to nominate a human rights defender for the Twelfth Annual Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk (2016), please click on the following link to access a secure online nomination form: (English). Age deadline is Friday 19 February 2016.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in partnership with the Vaclav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation, has today issued a call for nominations for the 2016 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, which will be awarded on 10 October in Strasbourg. The Prize aims to reward outstanding civil society action in defending human rights in Europe and beyond. Candidates should have made a real difference to the human rights situation of a given group, been instrumental in uncovering systemic violations on a large scale, or have successfully mobilised public opinion or the international community for a given cause. The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize consists of a sum of €60,000. The deadline is 30 April 2016.  More details can be found at


For more on these and other awards see True Heroes’ awards Digest:áclav-havel-prize-human-rights

88-year old Russian human rights defender received 2015 Vaclav Havel Prize

October 2, 2015


The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has awarded its annual Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize to veteran Russian activist Ludmilla Alexeeva, 88, at a special ceremony in Strasbourg on the opening day of its fall plenary session on 28 September 2015.

Ludmilla Alexeeva has inspired many generations of activists in Russia, but also abroad, to commit themselves to the struggle for justice” – PACE President Anne Brasseur, chair of the selection panel, said presenting the award on 28 September. In her youth, Alexeeva gave up an academic career to join the Soviet dissident movement, going on to become a founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Group in 1976. A year later, she was forced to emigrate to the United States. Alexeeva returned to Russia in 1989 and became the International Helsinki Foundation president and later joined the Russian presidential human rights commission. At a demonstration in Moscow’s Triumfalnaya Square in 2010 against restrictions on the freedom of assembly, the by then 82-year-old head of the Moscow Helsinki group, received a severe blow to the head.

Alexeeva told the Assembly that for her receiving the prize was a “recognition of all Russian human rights defenders who work in very hard circumstances”. She also condemned the so-called foreign-agent law adopted in 2012, which she said aimed at “destroying” civil society groups. [Critics say the Russian government is using the foreign-agent law to hound non-governmental organizations that are critical of the Kremlin. As of June, there were 67 organizations deemed as such by Russia’s Ministry of Justice, including Transparency International and the Sakharov Center.]

Source: Russian Rights Activist Awarded Vaclav Havel Prize – Transitions Online

for info on this award:áclav-havel-prize-human-rights

Belarus Ales Byalyatski wins Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize of Council of Europe

September 30, 2013


Ales Byalyatski wins Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize

Imprisoned Belarus human rights defender Ales Byalyatski has been awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize of the  Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.  Read the rest of this entry »