The Ukrainian people have been awarded the Sakharov prize by the EU | Photo: Metin Aktas / AA / picture alliance
The Ukrainian people have been awarded the Sakharov prize by the EU | Photo: Metin Aktas / AA / picture alliance

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said "no one is more deserving" of the EU's annual human rights prize, which recognizes individuals and organizations defending fundamental freedoms.

The European Parliament on Wednesday awarded its top human rights prize to the Ukrainian people amid Russia's ongoing invasion of their country

"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 who and what they believe in," said European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

"No one is more deserving," Metsola tweeted.

DW Brussels correspondent Jack Parrock said it "would have been a big shock" if anyone else would have been awarded the prize. It is still unclear whether Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will accept the prize on behalf of the Ukrainian people during a ceremony scheduled in December.

Other nominees this year included detained Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Colombia's "Truth Commission," a body started in 2018 investigating atrocities committed during Colombia's five-decade conflict that ended in 2016.

What is the Sakharov Prize?

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is named after the late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov,

It has been awarded annually since 1988 to individuals and organizations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The prize comes with a cash prize of €50,000 (almost $49,000), which will be given to members of Ukrainian civil society. 

Last year, the award was given to Russian dissident and Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

Past recipients have included South African President Nelson Mandela, Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai and Belarus’ democratic opposition.

wd/wmr (Reuters, AP, AFP)

First published: October 18, 2022

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