Call for applications – Sakharov Fellowship 2016

The European Parliament has released a call for applications for the first Sakharov Fellowship, taking place from Monday 20 June to Saturday 2 July 2016. The Sakharov Prize Network initiated the Fellowship to enhance the capacity of individuals to defend human rights and thus to promote the freedom of thought as the underpinning value of the Sakharov Prize.

In particular, the objectives of the Sakharov Fellowship are:

  • to increase Fellows’ capacity to advocate for and effect positive change to protect human rights;
  • to disseminate human rights training more widely through the Fellow training other human rights defenders in their region;
  • to create a network of Sakharov Fellows who can share best practice and advocate on each other's behalf;
  • to further improve links between MEPs and human rights defenders; and
  • to extend awareness of the Sakharov Prize and Sakharov Prize Network.

To this end, the European Parliament invites applications from active and qualified human rights defenders in non-EU countries to take part in the 2016 Sakharov Fellowship. The 2016 Sakharov Fellowship includes:

  • training in the European Parliament in Brussels from 19-23 June 2016 developing understanding of the EU's human rights policies and instruments, communications and social media and accessing human rights funding, as well as discussing issues with MEPs, EU officials and NGOs;
  • a place on the Venice School of Human Rights organised by the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation from 24 June – 2 July 2016, which delivers world class teaching in human rights law and practice by leading practitioners. This will give the Fellow the opportunity to work alongside other human rights activists as well as to be taught by a Sakharov Laureate; and
  • the opportunity to publish an article on a human rights issue on the European Sakharov Prize Network website and/or elsewhere;
  • the opportunity to develop human rights training materials for use in the Fellow's region;
  • accommodation in Venice and Brussels, return travel from country of origin and a daily living allowance; and
  • the opportunity to join a network of Sakharov Fellows.

Further details of how to apply and application requirements are set out in the Application Guidelines and Sakharov Fellows’ Charter. Further information on the Venice School of Human Rights is available at

Application Guidelines

Candidates should satisfy the requirements of the Venice School of Human Rights hosted by the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation, available at the EIUC website (

Candidates must have a high level of English, sufficient to follow and contribute to discussion groups and workshops at the Venice summer school and in Brussels.

In order to gain from the summer school teaching, candidates should either have a first degree in a human rights related subject, or a proven record in campaigning for human rights in a NGO or other organisation or in an individual capacity.

Candidates should demonstrate a commitment to improving human rights standards and defending human rights and some knowledge of human rights law or current human rights issues in their region (this could be focused on one specific area, for example child rights, minority rights etc.).

Candidates should send a CV and covering letter by e-mail to the European Parliament's Human Rights Action Unit at by midnight CET Sunday 24 April 2016. Please quote Sakharov Fellowship Application in the subject line.

Applications may also be supported by a written reference or an example of written work.

Successful candidates will be selected from a shortlist by the European Parliament members of the Sakharov Prize Network. The selection will be based on the above criteria and the candidates’ capacity to fulfil the requirements in the Sakharov Fellows’ Charter, as well as on the need to ensure geographical and gender balance. Priority may be given to candidates from the country of last year's Sakharov Prize Laureate and the countries of the shortlisted finalists for the Sakharov Prize of that year.

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