Raoul Wallenberg Prize

At the initiative of the Swedish Government and the Hungarian Parliament, the Council of Europe has created a Raoul Wallenberg Prize in order to keep the memory of Raoul Wallenberg's achievements alive.

Starting in 2014, the Council of Europe Raoul Wallenberg Prize, worth € 10 000, will be awarded every two years in order to reward extraordinary humanitarian achievements by a single individual, a group of individuals or an organisation. The award ceremony will take place at the Council of Europe on 17 January – the date of Raoul Wallenberg's arrest in Budapest in 1945.

The Jury consists of seven independent persons with recognised moral standing in the field of human rights and humanitarian action, and appointed by: the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the municipality of Budapest, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Raoul Wallenberg family.

2014 Prize

Elmas Arus, Turkish film director of Roma origin, awarded the Raoul Wallenberg Prize of the Council of Europe

The first Council of Europe Raoul Wallenberg Prize was awarded to Elmas Arus, a young Roma film director from Turkey , during a ceremony on 17 January in Strasbourg. The prize recognises Ms Arus' outstanding contributions to raising awareness about the conditions of the Roma people in Turkey and elsewhere.

Between 2001 and 2010, Ms Arus and a group of volunteers visited more than 400 Roma neighbourhoods in 38 cities in Turkey. They produced 360 hours of documentation, and she created an hour-long documentary on the challenges of the different Roma groups in Turkey. Subsequently, Ms Arus established the "Zero Discrimination" Organisation, which has paved the way for other similar groups: there are now over 200 Roma associations in Turkey. Her work has played a crucial role in the elaboration of the Turkish government's "Roma opening" policy of 2009.

The ceremony took place at 12h00, Foyer du Comité des Ministres, Palais de l'Europe.

In Budapest in 1944, Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg used his status to save tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust. His actions show that one person's courage and ability can really make a difference, offering inspiration to us all to speak out and indeed to act against persecution, xenophobia and anti-Semitism.

In recognition of his outstanding contribution during that period, the State of Israel awarded Wallenberg the title of "Righteous among the Nations". He was also made an honorary citizen of Israel, the United States, Canada and Hungary.

Raoul Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviet forces on 17 January 1945. His fate remains an intriguing mystery. There is still no clear picture of what happen to him after his arrest.