October 11, 2017
The Venezuelan opposition, a Guatemalan indigenous leader and an imprisoned Eritrean writer were shortlisted on Tuesday (10 October) for the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize.
The parliament said the three finalists for 2016 are Guatemalan Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic, Venezuela’s democratic opposition and Swedish-Eritrean journalist and playwright Dawit Isaak.
The shortlist was decide by a vote by the members of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs and development committees.
Named after the dissident Soviet scientist Andrei Sakharov, who died in 1989, the prize is awarded every year to honour individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression, often falling foul of their governments as a result.
The winner, the Parliament said in a statement, will be chosen on 26 October by the presidents of the European Parliament’s political groups and Parliament President Antonio Tajani.
Aura Lolita Chavez Ixcaquic is a member of the Council of Ki’che’ Peoples, which fights to protect natural resources and human rights from the expansion of mining, logging, hydroelectric and agro-industry sectors, the parliament said, adding she has faced threats.
Also on the list is Venezuela’s democratic opposition, led by National Assembly leader Julio Borges and including all political prisoners who were also Sakharov finalists in 2015. The names of Leopoldo López, Antonio Ledezma, Daniel Ceballos, Yon Goicoechea, Lorent Saleh, Alfredo Ramos and Andrea González are mentioned.
“The situation in Venezuela has been seriously deteriorating as regards democracy, human rights and socio-economy, in a climate of growing political and social instability,” it said.