Human Rights Commissioner welcomes Sakharov human rights prize for the “Arab Spring”

27.10.2011 - Press release

The European Parliament awarded the Sakharov human rights prize to the Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi posthumously as well as to four other Arab civil rights activists. On this award, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Markus Löning made the following statement today (27 October) in Berlin:

“I am glad that the Sakharov human rights prize has been awarded to the ”Arab Spring“. That honours the efforts of countless people for democracy, freedom, and human rights. Awarding the prize to them is good, right, and encouraging for the people.
At the same time we are currently seeing different developments in the countries of the ”Arab Spring“.
The elections in Tunisia are a good sign. The citizens again have the right to shape their society, which is a big step towards actually creating a working democracy.
This is also true for Egypt, where parliamentary elections will start at the end of November. Unfortunately we see mixed results here: many people have been sentenced for expressing criticism and for ”defamation and insulting the military“. The case of the blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad, who under questionable circumstances was placed in a psychiatric clinic for a time, is still being heard before a military tribunal instead of a regular civil court. I call on the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the interim government to make it possible for Nabil and all other prisoners to have a fair trial before civil courts.
We have great hope for Libya. The armed conflict there has ceased. The protection of human dignity must now be central to the building-up of a state characterized by democracy and the rule of law. We are thus very worried to hear news of acts of revenge.
Furthermore, Bashar al-Assad in Syria must finally clear the way for democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. The people’s yearning for freedom cannot be suppressed with violence. Sakharov was an example of this!”

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