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 around 17 January – the date of Raoul Wallenberg's arrest in Budapest in 1945.

The Jury consists of six 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 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Raoul Wallenberg family.

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European Roma Rights Centre receives Raoul Wallenberg Prize for combating racism, rights abuse

Council of Europe Strasbourg 17 January 2018
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European Roma Rights Centre receives Raoul Wallenberg Prize for combating racism, rights abuse

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.


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About Raoul Wallenberg About Raoul Wallenberg


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.