Swedish singer Loreen (winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest) receives Läkerol’s culture award “Voice of the Year.” The singer is praised for her voice, but also for focusing on important human rights issues during the Eurovision Song Contest, which took place in May in Baku, Azerbaijan. The prize is 100,000 SEK ($14,227). “Wow,” Loreen said about the award. “I’m very happy and flattered. I have followed my creative heart in spite of setbacks; I’ve believed in what I’m doing. To receive an award like this is just further confirmation that it’s extremely important to follow your heart.” Loreen showed engagement in human rights issues while in Baku, and she wants to continue doing so. “I want to continue to create music and to tell the truth. To try to change in whatever ways I can, I imagine my voice as a tool for standing up for what’s right.” Which is why Loreen donates half of the sum of the award money (50,000 SEK or $7,106) to the organization Civil Rights Defenders and their work for human rights in Azerbaijan. “So that journalists there get the chance to safely write truths, and for women to be able to go their own way, and have as many rights as men,” says Loreen. However, Loreen’s participation in a festival in Belarus, which was opened by the controversial President Alexander Lukashenko, was questioned by media. But Loreen says she is against boycotts. “People are my focus, not politics. Even if politics and human rights go hand in hand, we mustn’t forget that those who suffer most in political games are people. And I’m on the people’s side. It’s sad to have to rob them of culture and things coming from the outside world. I’ve had such an enormous love from fans in Belarus, that’s what I focus on.”