The Budapest-based organisation European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) has received today the Raoul Wallenberg Prize of the Council of Europe for successfully challenging discrimination, anti-Romani racism and rights abuses of Roma through innovative litigation, evidence based research and policy development.
On this day in 1945, Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat who used his status to save tens of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust, was arrested in Budapest. The Prize instituted in 2012 by the Council of Europe at the initiative of the Swedish Government and the Hungarian Parliament, is meant to keep his memory and outstanding achievements alive.
Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, said when awarding the 10,000 EUR prize to Ðorđe Jovanović, the ERRC Director: “While it is a matter of regret that individuals and communities in our continent are still subject to abuse and mistreatment, it is right that prizes like this highlight problems that might otherwise be overlooked – and recognise those who have gone to extraordinary efforts to counter them.”
“I am happy to say that the 2018 award goes to an organisation that is breaking down barriers for Europe’s largest minority, the Roma people; an organisation whose energy, tenacity and belief in the rule of law are ensuring the delivery of Roma rights; an organisation whose courage and determination are inspiring young Roma people and showing them a future full of possibility.”
As a Roma-led public interest law organisation with the staff being majority Roma, the ERRC has proven both relentless and effective in combatting anti-Romani racism and human rights abuses in many countries, he added.