Aid to the Church in Need nominated for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament
Montreal/Königstein, 22 September 2014 – The Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has been nominated this year for the prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The Prize is awarded every year by the European Parliament to honour individuals or organizations for their efforts on behalf of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion or belief.
ACN has been selected among a group of agencies including l’Oeuvre d’Orient and Open Doors International coordinated by the French organization CHREDO (La Coordination des Chrétiens d’Orient en Danger). This proposal is promoted by Mr. Philippe Juvin, Member of the European Parliament (France, EPP), obtaining individual support from colleagues of different countries and political families.
The total of seven nominations for the Sakharov Prize includes that of the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, His Beatitude Louis Raphaël Sako along with Prof. Mahmoud Al-Asali who was murdered for defending the rights of Christians in Mosul on 20 July 2014. ACN encouraged greatly this proposal within the membership of the European Parliament to keep a spotlight on the suffering of the persecuted Christians in Iraq at this time. Two nominations in the defense of the fundamental right to freedom of religion and thought in the same year are highly unusual, acknowledging Europe’s growing awareness of the danger to religious minorities throughout the Middle East.
Previous winners of the prize include Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, the Russian NGO Memorial and the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and his staff.
ACN Executive President Johannes Heereman said: “We understand this nomination as an acknowledgment from the international community to the terrible suffering of persecuted Christians around the world and as a recognition of the work of ACN in protecting and promoting religious freedom and thought. This would not be possible without the grace of God and the support of our benefactors.”
For more information please see:
The official EP press release: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20140919IPR66309/html/Nominees-for-Sakharov-Prize-2014-announced
The official Sakharov Prize webpage: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/00f3dd2249/Sakharov-Prize-for-Freedom-of-Thought.html