Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize awarded to Loujain Alhanthloul

Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize awarded to Loujain Alhanthloul

The 2020 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize rewards the effort to protect women’s rights

During the opening of the Assembly’s spring plenary session, the 2020 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize was awarded to Loujain Alhathloul, a prominent women's rights activist and one of the leaders of the Saudi feminist movement. She has been arrested and released on several occasions due to her opposition to the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia. In May 2018 she was imprisoned on the charge of "attempting to destabilise the kingdom" and this February she was finally released, but she is still subject to a travel ban and forbidden from speaking to the media.

The Group of Socialists, Democrats and Greens (SOC) within the PACE warmly congratulates Loujain Alhathloul for her fight towards a more equal and inclusive society, as well as with the Nuns of the Drukpa Order and Julienne Lusenge, the other two shortlisted candidates. They were also nominated because of their active involvement in promoting and defending women’s rights and gender equality, principles that are at the very heart of the work of our Group.

The award ceremony has been organised by PACE since 2013 in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation. The Prize consists of compensation of € 60 000 awarded together with a trophy and a diploma in recognition of outstanding civil society action aimed at defending human rights in Europe and beyond. The jury is composed of the PACE President and six independent figures (who cannot be current members of the Assembly) from the world of human rights. 

“The women and men who work every day to uphold our rights deserve our profound gratitude and admiration,” said PACE President Rik Daems. “Often at great personal cost, they hold governments to account and stand up for equal rights with courage and determination. They are on the front line of building a fairer and more just world, and we are all in their debt.”