Raif Badawi to get European Parliament human rights prize

Raif Badawi to get European Parliament human rights prize

10 December 2015

Today December 10th marks world Human Rights Day.   This year the UN has chosen to use the day to honour President and Eleanor Roosevelt’s human rights plan, which outlined a vision for the future that focused on four fundamental freedoms: free of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear. This ethos was encapsulated in the establishment of the United Nations where on December 10th 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  

The European Parliament is very active on human rights and every year it awards the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe. This year’s laureate is Raif Badawi.  Raif is a Saudi blogger and activist who founded the Free Saudi Liberals, an online platform for political and religious debate.  He was arrested in 2012 on a charge of insulting Islam and was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in 2013, and then resentenced to 1,000 lashes and ten years in prison plus a fine in 2014. The first 50 lashes were administered before hundreds of spectators on 9 January, 2015. Subsequent sets have been postponed in the face of international condemnation and Badawi's dire state of health.  Despite repeated calls for his release, Raif Badawi remains in prison. Ensaf Haidar, Raif’s wife, will collect the prize on his behalf.  

The European Convention on Human Rights was adopted after World War II by a Europe which had seen appalling human rights abuses in the 1930s and 1940s and took a collective decision of "never again".  By marking Human Rights day and awarding our Sakharov prize to Raif Badawi, we underline our commitment to uphold basic freedoms and campaign for human rights across the globe.

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