Jürgen Habermas received the International Brunet Prize for Human Rights 2008 at a ceremony on May 9, 2009, in Pamplona, Spain. The prize was awarded by the Fundación Jaime Brunet and the Public University of Navarre (UPNA). The chairman of the Government of Navarra, Miguel Sanz, the president of Parliament, Elena Torres, and the rector of UPNA and president of the Foundation Brunet, Julio Lafuente, participated at the ceremony.
Read Habermas's acceptance speech (in German) here.
In his acceptance speech Habermas stressed that the human rights are the result of "political resistance against arbitrariness, repression and humiliation. After the constitutional revolutions of the eighteenth century they have gradually been incorporated into nearly all nations and all languages, but as often violated as confirmed." "The struggle for the establishment of human rights continues in China, Africa, Bosnia or Kosovo, and also in our own countries. Every return of asylum applicants behind the closed entry at an airport, every sinking boat with people fleeing from poverty on their way from Libya to the island of Lampedusa puts a question to us - the citizens of Europe. The struggle for recognition of religious, racial and cultural minorities, for child protection, for equal treatment for homosexual couples and for equal working conditions between men and women is still ongoing - not to forget the young women from immigrant families who have to extricate themselves from the violence of a code of honor rooted in tradition." (unofficial translation).
Before the ceremony Habermas met the press. Asked about president Obama, he stated that "Obama is an American phenomenon and in Europe we have nothing comparable to him. After eight years of Bush, Obama has been a great gift. Something that sets us apart from the Americans is that they get exited about things that are not directly related to their personal interest. The history of Europe in the twentieth century has been quite complicated, and that makes it more appropriate that in Europe we are less enthusiastic and to a larger extend have our feet placed on the ground." (unofficial translation from "Diario de Navarra, May 9, 2009).