Over 30 non-governmental organizations in Poland nominated Ales Bialiatski for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize.
The initiative was launched by the Polish Stefan Batory Foundation.
The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded each year by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation to “reward outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe and beyond.”
On 25 March 2013, the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize was launched at a ceremony in Prague with the signature of the Co-operation Agreement by the President of the Assembly, Jean-Claude Mignon, the Director of the Václav Havel Library, Marta Smolíková, and the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Charta 77 Foundation, František Janouch, in the presence of Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.
The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize replaces the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Human Rights Prize, which was created in 2007 and awarded every two years, first in 2009 to “British Irish Human Rights Watch” and then, in 2011, to the Russian NGO “Committee against Torture.”
The Prize will be awarded at a ceremony which shall take place in Strasbourg on 30 September 2013. The Prizewinner will receive a diploma and an award of 60,000 Euros.
Norwegian MP Jan Saner nominated imprisoned Viasna’s leader Ales Bialiatski for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
During the last year, Ales Bialiatski, who remains in prison, was repeatedly honored for fighting for justice and human rights, including the Petra Kelly Award and the Lech Wałęsa Prize. The prominent human rights defender was also among the winners of the prize awarded by the Charter’97 website for his outstanding achievements in the field of protection of human rights in 2012.