Fences, walls and trenches: free movement as a human right?

International conference in honour of the winner of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2016

Prague Crossroads, October 12, 2016

We are very sorry but registration is closed now


8.30–9.00 Registration


  • Interview with Václav Havel Human Rights Prize finalists

“The only lost cause is one we give up on before we enter the struggle.”

Summer Meditations, 1991


  • Michael Žantovský - executive director, the Library of Vaclav Havel (Czech Republic)


  • Gordana Igric – journalist and activist (Serbia)
  • Nadia Murad  Basee - activist (Iraq)
  • Sébastien Touzé – Fondation René Cassin – International Institute of Human Rights


Keynote speech by the Rector of CEU

  • Michael Ignatieff – president and rector, Central European University (Hungary)


  • Panel I: East of Eden

"The idea that a person can rewrite his biography is one of the traditional self-deceptions of Central Europe."

The Salzburg Festival, Salzburg, July 26, 1990 


  • Martin Palouš – diplomat and teacher, Florida International University (United States of America)


  • Ales Bialitski – chairman, the Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
  • Anar Mammadli – human rights activist (Azerbaijan)
  • Saso Ordanoski – journalist (Macedonia)
  • Gordana Igric – journalist and activist (Serbia)

11.35 – 11.55

Special Appearance

  • Nadia Murad  Basee – activist (Iraq)

11.55–13.00  Lunch


  • Panel II: Brexit: who lost the United Kingdom?

"The demons that so fatally affected European history  most disastrously in the twentieth century!  are biding their time. It would be a tragic error to forget about them because of some technicalities over funds, quotas or tariffs."

Europe as a Task, Aachen, May 15th, 1996


  • Michael Žantovský – executive director, the Library of Vaclav Havel (Czech Republic)


  • Eva Jiřičná – architect and designer (UK)
  • Tomáš Prouza – State Secretary for European Affairs (Czech Republic)
  • Martin Woollacott – journalist, the Guardian (UK)


  • Panel III: Openness or closeness of the EU

"The task of politicians is not just to carry out the will of voters and perhaps repeat their delusions so as to win them over, but also to lead and to fight against their delusions. Even with the risk that next time they won’t get elected."

Interview with Václav Havel for the revue Kavárna A.F.F.A., no. 4/95


  • Daniela Drtinová – journalist, DVTV (Czech Republic)


  • Ondřej Liška – activist (Czech Republic)
  • Montserrat Feixas Vihe – UNHRC Regional Representative for Central Europe (Hungary)
  • Sebastien Touze – Institut international des droits de l´homme (France)
  • Aleksander Kaczorowski – author and editor in chief, Aspen Review Central Europe (Poland)


Closing remarks

  • Karel Schwarzenberg – member of Parliament (Czech Republic)

Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter

„I am a child of the age of conceptual, rather than mystical, thought and therefore my god as well – if I am compelled to speak of him (which I do very unwillingly) – must appear as something terribly abstract, vague and unattractive. But it appears so only to someone I try to tell about him – the experience itself is quite vivid, intimate and particular, perhaps (…) more lively than for someone whose “normal” God is provided with all the appropriate attributes (which oddly enough can alienate more often than drawing one closer). And something else that is typical of my god: he is a master of waiting, and in doing so he frequently unnerves me. It is as though he set up various possibilities around me and then waited silently to see what I would do. (…) His Last Judgment is taking place now, continuously, always – and yet it is always the last: nothing that has happened can ever un-happen, everything remains in the “memory of Being” – and I too remain there – condemned to be with myself till the end of time – just as I am and just as I make myself.“

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

What Price Human Rights?