Christoph Strässer, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (29 September) in response to Lyudmila Alexeyeva receiving the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize:
My heartfelt congratulations go to Lyudmila Alexeyeva as she receives the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. In awarding her this prize, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recognises Ms Alexeyeva’s tireless commitment to human rights, especially her defence of the rule of law and freedom of assembly in her native Russia.
Her outstanding work in the Moscow Helsinki Watch Group since 1976 has inspired generations of people not only in Russia but around the world.
With stamina and persistence, Alexeyeva manages to make the voices of the persecuted and disadvantaged heard. She never shies away when it comes to standing up for what is right.
Particular recognition is also due for her efforts, as a member of Russia’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, to maintain dialogue between human rights activists and state authorities even in difficult times.
I would also like to congratulate the other nominees, the non‑governmental organisations Women for Afghan Women and the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, on the distinction of being nominated for the prize and thank them for their valuable work.
The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Czech Charta 77 Foundation to reward outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights. The Prize is awarded in memory of Václav Havel, the Czech playwright, essayist, human rights activist and politician. It is worth 60,000 euros.
Lyudmila Alexeyeva has been a member of Russia’s Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights since 2002. Between 2009 and 2011, she co‑founded and played a leading role in organising Strategy‑31, a civil rights movement defending freedom of assembly. In 2009, Alexeyeva received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her committed work for democratic values and human rights as well as her contribution to ending the Cold War and developing German-Russian relations.