National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden has been moved to the short-list of finalists for this year’s prestigious international human rights award, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the European Parliament announced this week.

If selected, Snowden would join the ranks of previous winners including Nelson Mandela, a group of Arab Spring Activists and Aung San Suu Kyi, who have all been awarded the prize for their contributions to human rights.

This year’s winner will be announced on October 10, 2013 by the EP.

On Monday, Snowden addressed a hearing of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs through a written statement orated by Jesselyn Radack, National Security & Human Rights Director of the Government Accountability Project.

“The surveillance of whole populations, rather than individuals, threatens to be the greatest human rights challenge of our time,” Snowden began.