The Sakharov Prize, the European Parliament and human rights worldwide

Laureates 2006 - 2011

Aliaksandr Milinkevich - 2006, Belarus

As leader of the democratic opposition Movement for Freedom in Belarus, Aliaksandr Milinkevich denounced the Belarusian regime’s offences against democracy and human rights.

There is a lot you can do! You can help us to break down the barriers to information and the restricted view of the world imposed upon my fellow countrymen by government propaganda, to create a public space conducive to open debate amongst the citizens, bringing together independent authors, intellectuals and moral authorities.


Salih Mahmoud Mohamed Osman – 2007, Sudan

Sudanese lawyer Salih Mahmoud Mohamed Osman defends those who have been arbitrarily detained, tortured and abused by the authorities, despite having been detained himself.

The recognition of the European Commission and of you, the European Parliament, for the work of human rights defenders in Sudan gives us the courage and determination to continue to speak for the victims, and relieve some of their suffering.


Hu Jia - 2008, China

Endangering his life through his activism, Hu Jia has brought the world’s attention to the Tiananmen Square massacre, AIDS issues and human rights abuses in China.

If the truth be told, sometimes one’s courage is not enough. Sometimes the price to be paid is very, very high.

Zeng Jinyan


Memorial - 2009, Russia

Founded to preserve the memory of mass repression under Stalin, Memorial advocates respect for human rights, and protects victims of human rights abuses in Russia and the former Soviet states.

Freedom of thought is the basis of all other freedoms.

Sergei Kovalev


Guillermo Fariñas - 2010, Cuba

Doctor of psychology, journalist and political dissident Guillermo Fariñas went on a number of hunger strikes aimed at bringing about peaceful political change and freedom of expression in Cuba.

We are the change.


Mohamed Bouazizi - 2011, "Arab Spring", Tunisia

By setting himself on fire in protest against government corruption and widespread unemployment, Mohamed Bouazizi inspired Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution.


Ali Ferzat - 2011, "Arab Spring", Syria

As a political satirist and cartoonist, Ali Ferzat pushed the boundaries of freedom of expression in Syria through his work criticising the regime and the much-feared security forces.


Asmaa Mahfouz - 2011, "Arab Spring", Egypt

Asmaa Mahfouz’s social media posts calling on Egyptians to protest peacefully for freedom, dignity and human rights helped initiate the revolutionary movement in Egypt.

I would like to tell you about how proud I am of all the martyrs of the Arab revolution. We will not betray them; we will continue along the road ...


Ahmed al-Sanusi - 2011, "Arab Spring", Libya

An opponent of the oppression perpetrated by the military dictatorship, Ahmed al-Sanusi advocates inclusive reconciliation as the only path to peace and democracy in Libya.


2011: Razan Zaitouneh - 2011, "Arab Spring", Syria

Journalist and lawyer Razan Zaitouneh denounced human rights violations in Syria. Her struggle for freedom and democracy led to her kidnapping in 2013.