Shortlisted Nominees 2017

The selection panel of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize, comprising independent figures from the world of human rights and chaired by the Vice-President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) Sir Roger Gale, drew up the shortlist of candidatures in Prague today. The shortlisted nominees, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Murat Arslan (Turkey) The nominee, in detention since 2016, is a well-known and reputed judge. President of the now dissolved Association for the Union of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV), he has always been a supporter of the independence of the judiciary.
  • Hungarian Helsinki Committee A non-governmental human rights organisation founded in 1989 and based in Budapest, it carries out a broad range of activities in the area of human rights with a particular focus on access to justice and the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons.
  • Father Georg Sporschill (Austria) A Jesuit who has devoted his life to the care of the most vulnerable, notably children. He has set up an association (Elijah) which carries out numerous projects in Austria, Bulgaria, Republic of Moldova and  Romania.

Speech to Joint Session of the United States Congress, Washington

„We are still a long way from that „family of man;“ in fact, we seem to be receding from the ideal rather than drawing closer to it. Interests of all kinds: personal, selfish, state, national, group and, if you like, company interests still considerably outweigh genuinely common and global interests. We are still under the sway of the destructive and thoroughly vain belief that man is the pinnacle of creation, and not just a part of it, and that therefore everything is permitted. There are still many who say they are concerdend not for themselves but for the cause, while they are demonstrably out for themselves and not for the cause at all. We are still destroying the planet that was entrusted to us, and its environment. We still close our eyes to the growing social, ethnic and cultural conflicts in the world. From time to time we say that the anonymous megamachinery we have created for ourselves no longer serves us but rather has enslaved us, yet we still fail to do anything about it.“

Václav Havel:
Speech to Joint Session of the United States Congress, Washington, February 21, 1990

Václav Havel’s Prague