On May 29, 2010 the International Four Freedoms Award 2010 will be granted to the European Court of Human Rights, in a ceremony held in the Nieuwe Kerk in Middelburg. Jean Paul Costa, the President of the Court will accept the medal on behalf of the Court.
At the same ceremony, the Freedom of Speech and Expression Medal will be granted to the Russian weekly Novaya Gazeta, for their resolute commitment to freedom of the press, the Freedom of Worship Medal to human rights activist and UN-rapporteur for freedom of religion Dr. Asma Jahangir from Pakistan, the Freedom from Want Medal to Maurice Strong from Canada, in recognition of his role as a foremost spokesman regarding global environmental concerns and the principle of sustainability, and the Freedom from Fear Medal to Gareth Evans former Foreign Minister of Australia and recently retired Chair of the International Crisis Group, headquartered in Brussels. Gareth Evans career is reflected in the significan role he has been assigned in preparation for the UN negotiations of the nuclear non-proliferation agreements.
The European Court of Human Rights will receive the award for its contribution to the protection of individual human rights in post-war Europe in the past half century. Since its founding in 1959 the Court has decided more than 10,000 cases on the basis of the principles laid out in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950. The principles of this Convention include the right to a fair trial and a condemnation of discrimination and can be traced to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms. The European Court for Human Rights offers citizens an accessible tool to strengthen an effective democracy and reinforce a constitutional state. The Court effectively applies the principles of Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms in the contemporary world.
The Four Freedoms, first declared by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on January 6th 1941 in an address to the American Congress, are still a pressing concern and essential to humanity. All over the world individual citizens and organizations commit themselves to the protection of these freedoms, which are the basis of the Charter of the United Nations.
The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in Hyde Park, New York and the Roosevelt Stichting of Middelburg, the Netherlands, cooperate to organize the annual presentation of the Four Freedoms Awards to emphasize that the struggle for freedom is far from over. The ceremony is a reminder that social engagement and personal efforts are powerful peaceful instruments for the protection of freedom. The event originated in New York in 1950, and since 1982, the centennial of F.D. Roosevelt’s birth and the bicentennial of Dutch-American diplomatic relations, the Four Freedoms medals have also been presented in Middelburg, the Netherlands.
Among the many exceptional laureates decorated in Middelburg have been H.R.H. Princess Juliana, Alessandro Pertini, Harold Macmillan, Olof Palme, Helmut Schmidt, Teddy Kollek, Václav Havel, Jacques Delors, Simon Wiesenthal, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Anan, Mohamed ElBaradei and Richard von Weizsäcker.