Sakharov Freedom Award 2019 to heroes of Europe

Hungarian Helsinki Committee was awarded the Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award 2019 in an award ceremony Monday.

Monday representatives from all political parties in Norway, sivil society organizations, embassies, media and other supporters were gathered to pay tribute to the laureates in The Norwegian Theatre.

The laureates were grateful of the award.

– We want to thank the Norwegian Helsinki Committee for this very strong symbol of support. It is good to have such strong allies standing by our side, co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee Márta Pardavi said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide and leader The Norwegian Labour Party, Jonas Gahr Støre, both gave a short speech.

I want to congratulate the Hungarian Helsinki Committee on winning the Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award 2019. This is a clear recognition of the Committee’s achievements and dedicated efforts to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law.


Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs 

– I want to congratulate the Hungarian Helsinki Committee on winning the Andrei Sakharov Freedom Award 2019. This is a clear recognition of the Committee’s achievements and dedicated efforts to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law, Eriksen Søreide said.

I use to say that the existence of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee makes me sleep good at night, because I know that competent people are on watch if something bad happens out there in the world. Now I also know that the Hungarian Helsinki Committee will make me sleep better at night here in Norway, because they work for a safer world with their strong fight for democracy and human rights in Hungary.


Leader of The Norwegian Labour Party

– I use to say that the existence of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee makes me sleep good at night, because I know that competent people are on watch if something bad happens out there in the world. Now I also know that the Hungarian Helsinki Committee will make me sleep better at night here in Norway, because they work for a safer world with their strong fight for democracy and human rights in Hungary, Støre said.

In his speech, Secretary General in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Bjørn Engesland focused on the changed situation in regards of democracy and human rights in Europe. There is now a stronger need of human rights defenders than it has been in many years.

I’m delighted to see both Márta Pardavi and András Kádár among us here today. They are two admirable representatives of the movement against the authoritarian developments in Hungary the last years. You are now part of a great tradition.


Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee

– I’m delighted to see both Márta Pardavi and András Kádár among us here today. They are two admirable representatives of the movement against the authoritarian developments in Hungary the last years. You are now part of a great tradition, Engesland said.

Chair of the board in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Ragnhild Astrup Tschudi, also held a speech greeting the laureates, where she among other things emphasized the important work the Hungarian Helsinki Committee does to help the human beings that are victims of human rights abuse in Hungary.

– They also provide legal protection to “everyday heroes”, ordinary Hungarian citizens who are targeted by the increasingly illiberal state, Tschudi said.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee was established in 1989, and has since that been working to promote respect for human rights in addition to inform and report on human rights violations and offering free legal aid. The organization is headed by Márta Pardavi og András Kristóf Kádár and has a staff of 24. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee fights for the basic human rights in an environment of more smear campaigns and harassment, especially towards organizations that are helping refugees and asylum seekers.

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Bjørn Engesland

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Emil André Erstad

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