They defend our freedoms: 30 Years of the Sakharov Prize

The European Parliament together with Magnum Photos will mark the 30th anniversary of The Sakharov Prize by presenting a new documentary project that profiles four human rights activists from around the world.

From the July 17 to August 31, They Defend our Freedoms – 30 years of the Sakharov Prize gives voice to these unsung heroes by having Magnum photographers follow them thorughout the day for an immersive look into their daily lives.

Magnum photographers Jérôme Sessini, Bieke Depoorter, Enri Canaj, and Newsha Tavakolian worked with four remarkable individuals: two women and two men fighting for human rights in Cambodia, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Bosnia Herzegovina. Two of which are:

Ameha Mekonnen, an Ethiopian activist is a former civil servant turned human rights lawyer who campaigns to help journalists facing censorship from the government. His daily life is a constant fight to defend the freedoms of expression and the right to criticise.

Ameha Mekonnen at his office. ETHIOPIA. Addis Ababa. August 2017.

Jadranka Miličević, a Bosnian former refugee from the war in Bosnia in the 1990s and a full-time women’s rights activist. She travels from each village and helps women in despair by aiding assisting them to take control of their lives and become aware of their rights. Through her foundation and workshops, she promotes gender equality and the development of society through education and culture.

Jadranka Miličević night drives from villages ©Bieke Depoorter/Magnum Photos, 2017

with more than 100 photos, this exhibition gives the opportunity to reflect on the importance of devoting one’s life in defending human rights. A commission for the European Parliament, the exhibition will showcase across the EU in 2018 and these stories will be gathered for a new book.