Award: Human rights organization Memorial receives Heuss Prize

Human rights organization Memorial receives Heuss Prize

A demonstrator, in the presence of police, protesting against the court order in Moscow in mid-December. Photo: Pavel Golovkin/AP/dpa

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The Board of Trustees of the Theodor Heuss Foundation wants to award the banned Russian human rights organization Memorial with an award and thus support the women and men in their work.

Following the court-enforced dissolution of the Russian human rights organization Memorial, the internationally renowned initiative was honored with the Theodor Heuss Prize as the “Source of Democracy”.

“The award from Memorial puts the focus on the human rights situation worldwide,” said the former FDP Federal Minister of the Interior, Gerhart Baum, on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Theodor Heuss Foundation in Stuttgart. The activists have gained a high reputation internationally. “These courageous women and men need to know that we stand by their side.” Their tasks must be continued and supported.

The presentation of the 57th Theodor Heuss Prize is planned for May. “The award is intended to encourage democracy and strengthen the self-confidence and courage of human rights defenders,” said the non-partisan foundation.

Shortly before the turn of the year, Russia’s highest court ordered the closure of the human rights organization founded in the late 1980s by Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov for violations of the so-called law on foreign agents. Memorial rejects the allegations and complains about political persecution.

The undoped prize goes back to the first Federal President Theodor Heuss (1884-1963). The Theodor Heuss Foundation has awarded it annually since 1965. The winners include philosopher Jürgen Habermas, ex-Bundestag President Rita Süssmuth, environmental scientist and politician Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, former Czech President and writer Vaclav Havel, and the Bulgarian-American object artist Christo.


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