The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named in honour of the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, is awarded each year by the European Parliament. It was set up in 1988 to honour individuals and organisations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Each nominee must have the support of at least 40 MEPs, and each individual Member may support only one nominee. Signed nominations accompanied by supporting evidence are then assessed in a joint meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET), the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and the Committee on Development (DEVE). A shortlist of three candidates is drawn up through a vote by AFET and DEVE committees, and then submitted to the Conference of Presidents for a final vote. The winner is announced in October, and the award ceremony takes place in December at plenary sitting in Strasbourg.
The nominations for the 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought are:
The democratic opposition in Belarus, represented by the Coordination Council, initiative of brave women and political and civil society figures, nominated by EPP, S&D, Renew Europe
Mgr Najeeb Moussa Michaeel, Archbishop of Mosul, Iraq nominated by ID
Guapinol activists and Berta Caceres in Honduras, nominated by Greens/EFA, GUE/NGL
The democratic opposition in Belarus, represented by Sviatlana Tsikhanouska, nominated by ECR
Polish LGBTI activists Jakub Gawron, Paulina Pajak, Paweł Preneta and Kamil Maczuga, founders of the website Atlas of Hate, nominated by Malin Björk, Terry Reintke, Marc Angel, Rasmus Andresen and 39 other MEPs.
The democratic opposition in Belarus has been awarded the 2020 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.