The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded each year by the European Parliament.
Uyghur economist and Human Rights activist Ilham Tohti has been awarded 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
The European Parliament on 24 October 2019 announced that Ilham Tohti, an Uyghur economist fighting for the rights of China’s Uyghur minority, is the winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2019.
“By awarding this prize, we strongly urge the Chinese government to release Tohti and we call for the respect of minority rights in China,” Parliament President David Sassoli said.
Tohti is a proponent of dialogue and advocate for the implementation of regional autonomy laws in China.
In 2014, he was sentenced to life imprisonment on separatism-related charges. Despite this, he remains a voice of moderation and reconciliation.
Since 2017, more than one million Uyghurs have been detained in a network of internment camps.
The prize, consisting of a certificate and €50,000, will be awarded during a ceremony in the Parliament in Strasbourg on 18 December 2019.
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 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.
Last year, the prize was given to the Ukrainian Film director Oleg Sentsov.
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