Sakharov Prize: GUE/NGL nominates whistle-blowers as defenders of free speech (...)
The GUE/NGL group has nominated three whistle-blowers – Antoine Deltour, Stephanie Gibaud and Edward Snowden – for the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize which honours people who defend freedom of expression and human rights.
Candidates put forward by all the Parliament's political groups will be presented to a joint meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Development committees and the Subcommittee on Human Rights today.*
Antoine Deltour, Stéphanie Gibaud and Edward Snowden have made tremendous personal sacrifices to preserve integrity, speak the truth to those in power and protect citizens' rights to information while exposing economic inequality and mass surveillance at the heart of the European Union.
Deltour and Gibaud laid bare a system of corporate tax evasion and avoidance aided and abetted by EU governments, the financial sector and the EU treaties. These legal and illegal tax practices are ensnaring Europe in austerity, economic inequality and the deterioration of the public good; they are undermining tax justice and equality in the eyes of the law and depriving millions of citizens of the fruits of their labour and the means of society to improve living conditions for all.
While the system of corporate tax dodging remains intact today, and one important architect of a corporate tax haven, Jean-Claude Juncker, heads the EU Commission, Deltour and Gibaud are faced with indictment, personal harassment and serious consequences for their careers and their families.
As for Snowden, a former employee of the US National Security Agency (NSA), he became the focus of international attention in 2013 after he leaked classified evidence of US government surveillance programmes to the media. He fled to Moscow, where he was granted temporary asylum despite repeated extradition demands from Washington. He remains in exile in Russia today.
GUE/NGL believes these three individuals particularly represent the desire of millions –especially the disillusioned younger generation – the right to know, to speak the truth to those in power and to “do the right thing”. Therefore, they forcibly represent freedom of expression and raise the important question of the necessary international protection for whistle-blowers everywhere.
Traditionally, only people and organizations from outside the EU have been awarded the Sakharov Prize. While people around the globe daily risk their lives to protect human values against the powerful, we believe it is high time the European Parliament honours those who expose the violation of justice and freedom of speech and information at the heart of the European Union itself.
* Next steps:
– 15 October: Foreign Affairs and Development Committees vote to designate three finalists
– 29 October: Conference of Presidents designates prize-winner
– 16 December, 12 noon: Sakharov Prize awarded in plenary
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
Nikki Sullings +32 483 03 55 75