Irwin Cotler Keynote: What Price Human Rights?
On the occasion of the awarding of the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize - which honours outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights - heroes of humanity from around the world gathered in pursuit of justice.
Professor Cotler delivered the keynote address - broadcast live on telvision throughout the Czech Republic - and which also recognized the Havel Prize recipient, imprisoned Turkish Judge Murat Arslan. A staunch supporter of the independence of the judiciary, Arslan is a former Rapporteur of the Turkish Constitutional Court and President of the now dissolved Association for the Union of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV).
The Prize is awarded by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation. It is inspired by the life and legacy of Václav Havel, playwright, opponent of totalitarianism, architect of the Velvet Revolution of 1989, President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, and an enduring symbol of opposition to despotism.