People of Ukraine Awarded the European Parliament’s 2022 Sakharov Prize

People of Ukraine Awarded the European Parliament’s 2022 Sakharov Prize

Members of the European Parliament have awarded the 2022 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the people of Ukraine, represented by their president, elected leaders and civil society.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the European Parliament. It was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is named in honour of Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov and the prize money is 50,000 euros.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola announced the 2022 laureate in the Strasbourg plenary chamber this week, following a decision by Parliament’s Conference of Presidents which encompasses the President and political group leaders.

Commenting on the award President Roberta Metsola said, ‘This award is for those Ukrainians fighting on the ground. For those who have been forced to flee. For those who have lost relatives and friends. For all those who stand up and fight for what they believe in. I know that the brave people of Ukraine will not give up and neither will we.’

The invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces in February this year has led to a war of aggression and the infliction of enormous costs on the Ukrainian people.

A statement from the European Parliament described the people of Ukraine as not only fighting to protect their homes, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, but also defending freedom, democracy, the rule of law and European values on the battlefields against what MEPs have described as ‘a brutal regime that seeks to undermine our democracy, weaken and divide our Union.’

The nomination highlights the efforts of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky together with the role of individuals, representatives of civil society initiatives, and state and public institutions, including the State Emergency Services of Ukraine, Yulia Pajevska, founder of the evacuation medical unit Angels of Taira, Oleksandra Matviychuk, human rights lawyer and chairwoman of the organisation Center for Civil Liberties, the Yellow Ribbon Civil Resistance Movement, and Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of the Ukrainian city of Melitopol, which is currently under Russian occupation.

Last year’s Sakharov Prize was awarded by the European Parliament to Russian opposition politician and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny.

The awarding of the Sakharov Prize will take place on 14th December in Strasbourg. This years’ other prize finalists were Julian Assange, co-founder of Wikileaks, and The Truth Commission in Colombia, created under a 2016 peace agreement to end the Colombian civil war in 2016, which aims to establish the facts about the human rights violations during the conflict and to advocate for the rights of millions of its victims.

Image by Markus Spiske/Via pexels.com/https://www.pexels.com/license/

 

Antoinette Tyrrell is a writer and journalist who started her career in print and broadcast journalism in Ireland. An English and History graduate of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, she worked for 11 years in corporate public relations for Irish Government bodies in the Foreign Direct Investment and Energy sectors.

She is the founder of GoWrite, a business writing and public relations consultancy. Her work has appeared in a range of national and international media and trade publications. She is also a traditionally published novelist of commercial fiction.

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