Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2009-12-16-Speech-3-143"

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"Dear honoured guests, dear colleagues, dear friends, there are days when I am particularly proud to sit in the chair of the European Parliament as President. Today is such a day. Today we are honouring the winners of the 2009 Sakharov Prize, the prize for freedom of thought. It is an enormous honour to recall that the Conference of Presidents decided to award the prize to Oleg Orlov, Sergei Kovalev and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, on behalf of Memorial and all other human rights defenders in Russia. I am proud that this decision was taken unanimously. With this prize we, Members of the European Parliament, honour those still among us who fight for human rights, but we also honour those who lost their lives in this very struggle. Natalia Estemirova should have been among us today, as should Anna Politkovskaya. Their killers have yet to be brought to justice. We in Europe know what the price of freedom is; what the price of freedom of thought is. On 16 December, exactly 28 years ago, strikers were killed in the Wujek coal mine by the Polish communist police because they fought for solidarity; that is, for basic human rights, for dignity. Twenty years ago, on 16 December in Romania, a revolution started which claimed the lives of over 1 000 people because they fought for their freedom. This happened in countries which are now members of the European Union; countries which today are together with us. We in the European Parliament will never forget the past. It is our duty to safeguard those values which are so dear to all of us. In Europe, we enjoy our daily human right of freedom of thought because of their highest sacrifice."@en1

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