Soraya Post and Thomas Hammarberg win the Stieg Larsson Prize

This year’s Stieg Larsson Prize has been won by Soraya Post and Thomas Hammarberg for their assiduous work on behalf of the Roma people and their human rights.

“Discrimination against the Roma is a shameful blot on contemporary and historical Europe. Thomas Hammarberg and Soraya Post win the Stieg Larsson Prize because they are two of Sweden’s most important advocates for the rights of Roma people, says Daniel Poohl, chief editor of the journal Epo, and the head of the jury.

The jury’s statement was as follows:

The Roma have for a long time been in an exposed position in Europe. Thomas Hammarberg and Soraya Post have worked tenaciously, unselfishly and with inspiring commitment to improve the human rights of Roma people. They operate wholly in the spirit of Stieg Larsson.

Soraya Post has for a long time been active in resisting discrimination against Roma people in Sweden and Europe, not least Roma women. She is a strong, pioneering figure in the fight for human rights and equality.

Thomas Hammarberg took up the question of the human rights of Roma people at an early stage, while many others were maintaining a silence on the issue. He has been active for most of his working life in promoting human rights around the world.

 About the Prize-winners

Soraya Post is of Roma origin. Her mother, Ingrid, was compulsorily sterilised by the healthcare system in Gothenburg in 1958. In 2003, Soraya Post was one of the founders of the International Roma Women’s Network (IRWN), a collective of Roman women’s organisations from 18 European countries confronting European governments with human rights issues in relation to Roma women. Since May 2014 she has been an MEP representing Feminist Initiative (Fi). One of her central ambitions is to improve the situation of Roma people in the EU.

Thomas Hammarberg held the post of Commissioner of Human Rights in the Council of Europe between 2006 and 2012. Under his leadership, the Council of Europe produced a sharply critical report on the treatment of Roma people in European countries. Criticism was also levelled at Sweden. Thomas Hammarberg has proposed that a Swedish commission should propose measures to tackle discrimination against Roma people.

 

About the Stieg Larsson Prize

Stieg Larsson, the author of the Millennium trilogy, waged a constant battle for freedom of speech, and against racism and the oppression of women. His contention was based on a simple idea: that all human beings have a right to be themselves.  

In memory of Stieg Larsson, Norstedts Publishers along with Stieg Larsson’s father, Erland, and brother, Joakim, have endowed a prize of 200 000 Swedish kronor. The prize is awarded to those who work in the spirit of Stieg Larsson.

An independent jury selects one or more winners every year. This year’s jury includes the chief editor of Expo Magazine, Daniel Poohl (head of the jury), the lawyer Claes Borgström, the SVT journalist Cecilia Bodström, the author Per Olov Enquist and the managing director of We Effects Anneli Rogeman.

Earlier winners include:

2013 Svetlana Gannusjkina

2012 Maryam Al-Khawaja

2011 Vilma Nuñez de Escorcia

2010 Anne Sjögren

2009 Expo Magazine

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