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A conference on the Sakharov Price for Freedom of thought was held at the European Parliament in Brussels last week. The Sakharov Price honors organizations or individuals for their efforts on behalf of fundamental freedoms and human rights.
The European Parliament in Brussels hosted a Human Rights Conference and Sakharov Prize Networking event on November 23rd. The President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek with several former Sakharov Price laureates, opened a 'Sakharov Lounge' outside the European Parliament.
Buzek said he would like to build a 'Sakharov Prize Winners network' to allow Human Rights defenders and Sakharov Prize laureates to exchange their views and experiences.
[Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament]:
"Networking is very popular today in the whole world, in this case we can support them, we can support us, we can support Human Rights fighters, we can support civil society if we have such a strong network of very brave persons all over the world."
This year the Sakharov Price goes to five representatives of the Arab Spring coming from Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Tunisia.
Hauwa Ibrahim is a human rights advocate from Nigeria who won the Sakharov Price in 2005. She said she's very pleased with the historical changes in the Arab World.
[Hauwa Ibrahim, Sakharov Price Winner of 2005]:
"For me the Arab spring is the future. Future for democracy, future for human rights and freedom and future for dignity of human beings...I think it's a huge recognition to a new world order. A new world order where it is no longer the space for a selected few. To have power and keep power forever."
Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng won the Sakharov prize in 1996. He said he was very pleased when in 2008 the prize went again to another Chinese dissident...