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Opening of the photo exhibition “They Defend our Freedoms”

Opening of the exhibition: October 4th 6p.m.

Address: Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania
5th floor, Gediminas av. 51, Vilnius

Exhibition dates: October 4-28th
Free of charge
Presented by: European Parliament Office in Lithuania

Since 1988 the European Parliament has been awarding the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to individuals and organisations that have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the prize, the European Parliament, together with Magnum Photos, presents a new documentary project that profiles four human rights activists from around the world. They Defend our Freedoms – 30 years of the Sakharov Prize gives a voice to these unsung heroes, presenting an immersive journey into their daily lives as seen through the diverse perspectives of Magnum photographers.

Samrith Vaing
by Jérôme Sessini

In Cambodia, Jérôme Sessini travelled to remote villages with Samrith Vaing, documenting the life of indigenous minorities contending with forced eviction. Their way of life is further threatened by aggressive and unregulated agribusiness that puts pro t ahead of the local populations.

Asma Kaouech
by Newsha Tavakolian

While some activists work to protect one’s physical rights, others work to ensure the right to express oneself safely and peacefully. This is the case for Asma Kaouech, a young Tunisian activist photographed by Newsha Tavakolian, who tries to prevent teenagers from becoming radicalized. The association Kaouech created, Fanni Raghman Anni, provides them with opportunities to channel their emotions through street theater, workshops, and cultural activities.

Ameha Mekonnen
by Enri Canaj

In Ethiopia, Ameha Mekonnen, a former civil servant turned lawyer, advocates for journalists facing censorship from government authorities. Enri Canaj followed his daily life as he met with clients who face imprisonment for what they publish.

Jadranka Miličević
by Bieke Depoorter

The right to self-expression extends to one’s private life as well. In Bosnia, Bieke Depoorter accompanied former Balkan War refugee and full time women’s rights activist Jadranka Miličević as she travelled from village to village. Jadranka visits women she empowers through her foundation and the workshops she runs regularly.

From women’s rights to freedom of speech, from preventing radicalization and minority oppression, these activists have devoted their lives to defending human rights around the globe.