On the 23rd of September, the Committee of Development of the European Parliament jointly with the Committee of Foreign Affairs met to discuss who is worthy of receiving the 2014 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The European Parliament has awarded this prize each year since 1988 “to honour individuals or organisations for their efforts on behalf of human rights and fundamental freedoms” (Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought).
Last year’s Sakharov prize was given to Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani activist fighting for girls’ rights to access the educational system. For this year’s, the presentation of the candidates was done this Wednesday. On October 7th, the vote on the short list of the three candidates will take place, and finally the results will be presented on October 16th in Strasbourg. The World Youth Alliance will be following all this process to support candidates that stand for Human dignity.
During the meeting, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were trying their upmost to push for their preferred candidates to win the prize by presenting their arguments with strong claims of what makes each the best fit. The names mentioned were mainly from the Middle East, particularly Egypt and Iraq. Countries like Azerbaijan were also promoted; Ukraine was also mentioned in support of the recent demonstrations and serious upheaval in that area. The mention of ISIS and their massacres that caused an obstruction on practicing the Freedom of Religion in the name of “Islam” has shed the light on not only Muslims’ threatened rights, but also Christians’ agony in trying to choose between their religion and their lives.
Additionally, some MEPs asserted that compassion with such massacres is not enough and that action is needed. They also suggested that this could be achieved by providing on-going aid and creating an international coalition with a UN mandate and proclaiming that “liberties cannot be denied”. Also, the idea of “cultural relativism ranging beyond values” was mentioned in order to explain how some might make the mistake of prioritizing human rights over the human dignity, which causes a wrong prescription to a severe issue.
The official candidates nominated by the Committee of Development and the Committee of Foreign Affairs are:
The Arab revolutions along, with the different waves that is striking across the world, have entered in a race between themselves to fight for freedom and how it should be attained. However, real freedom is deeply linked to the respect of human dignity. Should them then refrain from striving for that freedom at the expense of human dignity until these freedoms are attained? Who of these candidates stands better for human dignity and freedom? Who do you thinkdeserves it the most?
Keep supporting World Youth Alliance in its constant mission to promote human dignity in Europe. Donate at WYA15 Campaign.