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Sunday, 14 June 2020

Loujain Al Hathloul won the 2020 Freedom Award!

Loujain Al Hathloul, born in 1989, is a Saudi women's rights activist who has been imprisoned in her country since May 2018 for violating women's driving bans. The first edition of the Freedom Award was granted to Greta Thunberg for her fight for climate justice.

The Freedom Prize is an initiative of the Normandy region in cooperation with the International Institute of Human Rights and Peace, the academic authorities of Normandy and Canopé. It is inspired by the values of the landing on the Normandy Landing Day on June 6, 1944. It is open to young people from all over the world.

The award, an educational initiative involving young people from beginning to end The Freedom Award is an initiative It encourages young people from any country, between the ages of 15 and 25, to appoint each year a person or organization taking part in the exemplary fight for freedom amd human rights.

The 2020 edition consisted of 3 steps: Call for proposals 'Our Freedom Award 2020', announced on July 21, 2019, after the award of the first prize to Greta Thunberg for her fight for climate justice. It was closed on January 17, 2020. 167 requests for a person or organization were received. They came from Burkina Faso, Canada, Columbia, the United States, Spain, France and Madagascar. An international panel of judges, consisting of 24 young people from 13 different nationalities, chaired by Emmanuel Davidenkoff of Le Monde, met on February 14 and 15, 2020 in Caen to nominate three finalists: Loujain Al Hathloul, Father Pedro Opek, and Nasrin Sotoudeh. Online voting, open from March 9 to June 6, 2020, For young people aged 15-25, regardless of nationality. Nearly 5,500 entries from 81 different countries and 5 continents were registered.

Hervé Morin, president of the Normandy region, reacts to this result: "Over and over, the fight for freedom is constantly and tirelessly defended. I am glad that our youth have chosen Loujain Al Hathloula, an outstanding Saudi women's rights activist who has been in prison for almost two years, as the winner of freedom Award 2020. This young woman is a unique embodiment of this exemplary attachment to freedom. " Emmanuel Davidenkoff of Le Monde and the chairman of the panel of judges highlight the consistency of this victory: 

"Loujain Al Hathloul, like Greta Thunberg in 2019, was the youngest of the Freedom Award finalists. Does this explain and explain the choice of 5,500 young people who voted? I don't want or can't speak for them. I can see, however, that this choice is consistent: from parades against the climate crisis last year to mobilizations against racism and police violence after the terrible agony of Georges Floyd in Minneapolis, world youth stand on the front line to
defend universal values, above all freedom. It seems to me that he decides to incorporate these mobilizations as a reward for the involvement of young activists in the same idea: young people want a better world, they are ready to mobilize themselves for this, they do not want to regain the fight and she wants to know it."

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