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Lyudmila Alexeyeva wins 2015 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

September 28, 2015

IllustrationToday, on Monday 28 September, 2015, Russian human rights defender Lyudmila Alexeyeva was ceremonially announced as laureate of the 2015 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The award is presented by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Václav Havel Library and the Charter 77 Foundation.

Lyudmila Alexeyeva is a veteran human rights defender in her native Russia. In her youth, she gave up a promising academic career to join the Soviet dissident movement, going on to become a founding member of the Moscow Helsinki Group. Forced to emigrate to the US in 1977, she returned to Russia in 1989 to continue her work, becoming President of the International Helsinki Foundation and later joining the Russian President’s Commission on Human Rights. She has worked relentlessly for the protection and promotion of the rule of law.

Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize draws attention to extraordinary actions in the field of human rights in Europe and elsewhere. It is presented annually by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation. It comes with a monetary award of EUR 60,000.

The Story of a Refugee

The Václav Havel Library has organised an international conference in honour of the laureate; The Story of a Refugee: The Europe of Dreams and Reality will take place at the Prague Crossroads on 30 September, 2015.

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Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter

„Once you’re here, however, whether you want to or not, you have to ask the question: does all of this have a meaning, and if so, what?… Ultimately, I can only find an answer – a positive answer – within myself, in my general faith in the meaning of things, in my hope. What, in fact, is man responsible to? What does he relate to? What is the final horizon of his actions, the absolute vanishing point of everything he does, the undeceivable “memory of Being”, the conscience of the world and the final “court of appeal”? What is the decisive standard of measurement, the background or the field of each of his existential experiences? And likewise, what is the most important witness or the secret sharer in his daily conversations with himself, the thing that – regardless of what situation he has been thrown into – he incessantly inquires after, depends upon, and toward which his actions are directed, the thing that, in its omniscience and incorruptibility, both haunts and saves him, the only thing he can trust in and strive for? “

Václav Havel:
Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter, August 7, 1980

What Price Human Rights?