STRASBOURG (Sputnik) – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) awarded this year's Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize to Russian activist and Soviet dissident Lyudmila Alekseyeva, the head of Moscow Helsinki Watch Group, on Monday, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
"I received this reward after such a wonderful prize as Vaclav Havel. From my heart I'm grateful to the parliament for this, because I understand that this is not a recognition of me personally, but this is a recognition of all Russia human rights defenders, who work in very hard circumstances." Alexeyeva told reporters after she was awarded the prize.
The Moscow Helsinki Watch Group is the oldest human rights group in Russia, created in 1976 to observe compliance with the Helsinki Accords, an informal, non-binding attempt to improve relations between the then-communist bloc, comprising the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact, and the West, as well as to monitor human rights abuses.
This is the third time that the Parliamentary Assembly has awarded the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize.
Last year, PACE awarded the prize to Azerbaijani human rights defender Anar Mammadli. Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski received the award in 2013.