Acclaimed French journalist Éric Fottorino delves into the history of human rights for Magnum and the European Parliament. Awarded for the first time in 1988 to Nelson Mandela and Anatoli Marchenko, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is the highest tribute paid to human rights work by the European Union. It gives recognition to individuals, groups and organizations that have made an outstanding contribution to protecting freedom of thought.
To mark 30 years of the Sakharov Prize, Magnum photographers Jérôme Sessini, Bieke Depoorter, Enri Canaj, and Newsha Tavakolian have worked with four remarkable individuals, all staunch defenders of human rights, to shine a light on their work. A commission for European Parliament, these stories are gathered in a new book and exhibition which will launch this month, and the work will be serialized on Magnum Photos over the coming weeks.
Human rights. Two short words with a long history. Two short words which, armed only with the force of an ideal, do so much to prevent human beings from preying on one another. How many ideals and struggles are encapsulated in this term? How many tortured faces have been banished from the world of the living? How many charters and resolutions, protocols and pacts, conventions and petitions are there? How many hopes and battles against the arbitrary? How many places on this planet where the force of law has finally won out over laws imposed by force?
–excerpt, They Defend Our Freedoms