PL finalistes 2021
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From February 10 to 13, 2021, the international panel of judges for the Freedom Prize met by videoconference to study the 370 proposals for the Freedom Prize and to select three people or organizations engaged in an exemplary fight for freedom. Chaired by Nadia Khiari, Tunisian cartoonist, known for her character Willis from Tunis, the panel of judges revealed, on Saturday 13 February, after deliberations and a vote, the names of the three finalists of the third edition of the Freedom Prize.

Freedom Prize

The three people nominated by the international panel of judges for the 2021 Freedom Prize are: Sonita Alizadeh (Afghanistan), Agnes Chow (Hong Kong), Omar Radi (Morocco)


Sonita Alizadeh

25 years old


Sonita_Alizadeh​Sonita Alizadeh ©Randy Shropshire
​Sonita Alizadeh ©Randy Shropshire


Sonita Alizadeh is a rapper born in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime who fled to take refuge in Iran, in Tehran. "My childhood was that of all Afghans, filled with war, poverty, the fear of losing a loved one. We left Afghanistan because my family was afraid of war, of the Taliban. We fled for Iran, for our survival." As a child, she managed to escape twice the early marriage arranged by her family. In Tehran, she is supported by an NGO to give her access to education and a job as a cleaning lady which allows her to pay for her school supplies. “One day when I was cleaning the floor I heard Eminem, I didn't know who he was… he was so angry and I felt so connected to him. And that's when I decided to rap.” In her song “Girls for Sale”, Sonita Alizadeh tells her story to protest against child marriage. In Afghanistan, the clip of Sonita garners the views on Youtube. A real phenomenon. She becomes the face of these children who are sold.
Thanks to numerous supports, Sonita Alizadeh is now studying political science in the United States and aims to work in international institutions to continue her advocacy for children.

“I have spoken around the world to policy makers and leaders to remind people that girls need to go to school, to college to be confident, to be able to become who they want to be.”

Application proposed by students from Lycée Nelson Mandela in Nantes, Lycée Augustin Fresnel and Lycée Charles de Gaulle in Caen.



Agnes Chow

24 years old

Hong Kong

Agns_Chow​Agnes Chow ©Keith Tsuji
​Agnes Chow ©Keith Tsuji


Agnes Chow, 24, is one of the leading figures of the democracy movement in Hong Kong, a Chinese trust territory since 1997. She joined the student movement Scholarism at the age of 15 and became its spokesperson alongside Joshua Wong. This movement militates in particular against the introduction of moral and national education courses in schools. The reform is buried in the face of the scale of the mobilization. At 17, she became involved in the "Umbrella Revolt" which called for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. In 2016, she helped found the political party Demosistō and ran for election two years later before Beijing invalidated her candidacy. In 2020, she actively participated in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong before being arrested and sentenced to 10 months in prison under the National Security Act.

Application proposed by students from Lycée Alain Chartier in Bayeux, Lycée Charles de Gaulle in Caen, young people from Nantes and young volunteers on civic service mission at Unis-Cité Normandie (Rouen).



Omar Radi

34 years old


Omar Radi​©


Born in 1986 in Kenitra, Morocco, Omar Radi is a Moroccan investigative journalist. He has written several notable surveys on social injustice in Morocco, the cash economy, land grabbing. He also revealed a large corruption case involving ministers and advisers to the king. These articles are disturbing and have caused a reaction to the highest peak of the state. Omar Radi was sentenced to 4 months in prison for “contempt of court” following the publication of the following tweet: “Neither forgetting nor forgiveness with these officials without dignity”. Placed in preventive detention in July 2020, he was prosecuted for "foreign funding", "attack on the internal security of the State" and "rape". These relatives and numerous human rights organizations strongly condemned the accusations, considering them to be a blatant manipulation of the justice system to silence a critical journalist.

Application proposed by young people from Saint-Mammès in Seine-et-Marne.


"The deliberations of the 2021 Freedom Prize jury, proposed by the Normandy Region and implemented with the International Institute for Human Rights and Peace, in partnership with the Academic Authorities of Normandy and the Canopé network, have designated three finalists from over 250 applications: Agnes Chow, activist for the right to democracy and political independence from Hong Kong (currently serving a prison sentence); Omar Radi, Moroccan investigative journalist and rights activist human beings (also in prison); Sonita Alizadeh, Afghan rapper and activist who fights, through her art, against the forced marriage of young girls. By chairing this jury made up of 30 young people aged 15 to 25 in France and around the world , I was very happy to share these moments of exchange, debate and reflection. Their sincere investment and their commitment moved me and gave me hope for the future. I hope that this award will not only to highlight the struggle of these people but also to arouse the desire in young people around the world to get involved and to perpetuate this fight. Long live freedom !"

Said Nadia Khiari, Willis from Tunis, President of the Freedom Prize 2021 panel of judges, after the proceedings.


The 17 countries represented in the international panel of judges are: Germany, Spain, France, Nicaragua, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Argentina, India, the United States, Poland, Ukraine, Niger, Mexico and Jordan.

In the next step, from March 15 to April 25, 2021, the three people nominated by the jury will be submitted to online voting by young people from all over the world.

The third Freedom Prize will be awarded on June 3, 2021 at the Abbaye-aux-Dames in Caen as part of the Normandy World Peace Forum.

For this third edition, the call for proposals "Our Freedom Prize 2021" was very popular with 15-25 year-olds: 1,400 young people around the world sent 370 proposals this year compared to 238 last year, including 50 young internationals compared to 13 in 2020.

Original event in favor of Freedom in the world, created in 2019 by the Normandy Region in partnership with the International Institute for Human Rights and Peace, the academic authorities of Normandy and the Canopé network, the Freedom Prize puts to honor a person or an organization committed to the defense of freedoms in the world.

The young people presented the Freedom Prize in 2019 to young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg for her fight for climate justice. In 2020, the Freedom Prize was awarded to Loujain AlHathloul, released on February 10, 2021 after 1,001 days of detention in Saudi Arabia, for his fight for women's rights in his country.

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