‘Golos’ has received 2017 Democracy Defender Award
The movement advocating voters’ rights ‘Golos’ has received an International Democracy Defender Award. ‘Golos’ was awarded for ‘outstanding contribution to the promotion of democracy and defence of human rights’.
On 18 January, the award ceremony was held in the capital of Austria, Vienna. The co-chairman of Movement Board Yuri Gurman attended the ceremony. In his speech, he emphasized that one of the major ‘Golos’ achievements was the establishment of community fighting for democracy and human freedoms:
It is enshrined in the Russian Constitution that the human rights and freedoms, as well as civil rights and liberties shall be the supreme national values. It is essential that public authorities, as well as the laws, case-law and justice shall serve the protection of these values. We believe that these provisions of the Russian Constitution represent our national vision. Unfortunately, the words do not always correspond to reality. ‘Golos’ - an association of Russian citizens advocating universally recognized values, such as democracy and human rights, as well as dearly loving and respecting their country, concerned about its future, believing that fair elections can be held and human rights can be respected in this country.
In early 2016, the award was initiated by eight foreign ambassadors and supported by the delegations of 18 OSCE* participating states. This year, the initiative was supported by 22 diplomatic delegations representing Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Great Britain, Canada, Denmark, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, USA, Ukraine, France, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Sweden, Estonia. The award does not include a financial recompense.
The initiative is aimed at the recognition of outstanding work being done by the representatives of independent civil society. The award shall draw attention to the problems faced by activists.
It is worth mentioning that the Russian NGO was awarded at the time when the Minister for Integration, European and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria Sebastian Kurz was on his official visit to Moscow. He is the current 2017 OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.
- OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) - the world's largest regional organization dealing with security issues, with 57 participating States in North America, Europe and Central Asia. OSCE is headquartered in Vienna.