The chapter of the Polish prize, established by the Solidarity trade union, decided unanimously to award the 2014 prize to Mustafa Dzhemilev, world-renowned human rights activist, who headed the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People until recently and serves as MP in Ukraine. Foreign Minister of Poland Radoslaw Sikorski informed Dzhemilev of the award by phone on May 7.
Dzhemilev’s spokeswoman Leila Muslimova told The Day that the award ceremony would take place on June 4, 2014 in Warsaw, with participation of the presidents of Poland, the USA, and France planned. The laureate will receive the award from President of Poland Bronislaw Komorowski and former chairman of the Solidarity, former president of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the legendary Lech Walesa.
“This year the Solidarity Prize will be awarded for the first time, for achievements in the struggle for freedom, democracy, and human rights,” Muslimova told us. “The prize was established on the initiative of the Polish government and the public to celebrate the nationwide Solidarity movement which started the economic and political transformation in Poland in the early 1980s and contributed to the country’s transition from communism to a parliamentary democracy and a free market economy. This trade union movement is known to have great international importance, including for Ukraine and for the Crimean Tatars as Poland came with it to the forefront of the fight against the communist colonialist regime. As previously stated by Minister Sikorski, ‘even before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Poland held a partly free elections, its first since the Second World War. Poland is a country that has managed to use the newly-regained freedom to good effect.’ Sikorski said that Dzhemilev was exactly the laureate they looked for, as he had made a great contribution to the fight for freedom, democracy, and human rights.”
Cash equivalent of the Solidarity Prize is 1,000,000 euros. It will be divided into three parts, with 250,000 given directly to the prize winner, 700,000 to be used to fund Polish government programs at the winner’s discretion, and 50,000 to cover his trip to Poland to show him the country and its successful struggle for freedom. The funding for the award will come from European financial assistance for Poland which the nation received before joining the EU.