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Council of Europe awarded this year's Václav Havel Human Rights Prize to Iraqi human rights activist Nadia Murad


This year's laureate of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize has been presented at the start of the autumn plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The fourth Václav Havel Human Rights Prize has been awarded to Nadia Murad, a young human rights activist (one of the nominees for this year's Nobel Peace Prize) from northern Iraq. After she managed to escape the ISIS, she found refuge in Germany where she applied for asylum. Since then, she has become a human rights activist, bringing the plight of the Yazidi community she comes from, to the forefront of international attention. She has become known primarily for her efforts to support Yazidi women and children who are victims of sexual enslavement and human trafficking.

The Prize winner comes from a shortlist of three candidates. The other shortlisted candidates included Gordana Igric, a Serbian journalist and an active defender of human rights and media freedom, renowned for her extensive coverage of war crimes during the wars in the Balkans, and the International Institute of Human Rights - René Cassin Foundation that since 1969 contributes to the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, especially in areas affected by conflict.

The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize has been awarded since 2013 by the Parliamentary Assembly, in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation, in recognition of exceptional civil society action in defence of human rights in Europe and beyond. The Prize which consists of a trophy and a diploma for significant contribution in the struggle for human rights involves a reward of € 60 000. The Czech Republic grants financial support to the Prize.

A conference in honor of the laureate held in Prague follows the Strasbourg award ceremony. This year's conference entitled "Fences, Walls and Trenches: Freedom of Movement as a Human Right?" will take place in the presence of all three finalists on October 12 in Prague Crossroads.

The laureate will be received by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for security and multilateral issues Mr. Ivo Šrámek on 12th October.