Foundation was established on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Documentation Centre of German Sinti and Roma in November 2007 and was awarded for the first time in December 2008.
In light of the rather precarious human rights situation of Sinti and Roma in many European countries – especially in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe – this prize is intended as a contribution to the protection and enforcement of civil rights and equal opportunities for members of the Sinti and Roma minorities in their respective home countries.
At the same time, the prize acts as a signal to political leaders, the media and social groups in Europe to take action against deeply embedded stereotypes and structural prejudice in order to gradually overcome the daily marginalization of the minority.
The European Civil Rights Prize of the Sinti and Roma is a means to strengthen social commitment and thus invite politicians and citizens to advocate actively the actual equal treatment of Sinti and Roma and their natural inclusion in all aspects of public life.
Finally, the prize is intended to support political and social efforts to provide sustainable protection for those affected in order to enable them to lead a self-determined life in the long term.
The prize is awarded to individuals, groups or institutions, primarily from the majority population, who face up to the historical responsibilities and have advocated exemplary efforts to improve the human rights situation of Sinti and Roma.
The laureate of the Civil Rights Prize 2019 is Andrej Kiska, the former president of the Slovak Republic. The special prize of the Civil Rights Prize of the Sinti and Roma honored Piotr Cywiński, the director of the State Auschwitz Birkenau Museum.
The European Civil Rights Prize of Sinti and Roma is awarded by the Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma, the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma and the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation. The event was facilitated by the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation, the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and the “Europe for Citizens” program of the European Commission.