The prize is awarded annually by the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity to two personalities, who have distinguished themselves by their deep commitment to promote solidarity between the global North and South. The promotion and protection of human rights and the defense of pluralist democracies is one of the criteria considered by the prize committee.
Belhassan was given the award by Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva, for her long history of activism advocating for human rights, in particular those of women in developing countries.
Serbian President, Boris Tadic, was the second recipient of this year’s award “in recognition of his political action for the reconciliation of the Balkans and the integration of his country in the process of European construction.”
Belhassan told Tunisian news agency TAP that she feels delighted to have received this prestigious prize in distinguished company of the likes of Nawal Al-Saadawi and Kofi Annan.
“This award comes at an important moment in our struggle. We saw down an absolutist regime and now we are building free and democratic institutions. This is a tribute to Tunisian human rights activists and to all human rights activists,” said Belhassan.
She emphasized the importance of this award at a unique time when North-South relations are experiencing tensions from both ends.
“In the north, we are now witnessing the shutdown of free circulation, a savage globalization and the settlement of right-wing governments, while in the South, Islamist governments have settled,” she noted.
The 2010 winners were former Brazilian President, Lula Da Silva, and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour.