The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders honours individuals and organizations who have shown exceptional commitment defending and promoting human rights, despite the risks involved. It strives to provide them with much needed protection, raising their public profile and gathering international support for their work. It sheds light on their plight and that of the communities and people they support and defend.


The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders is a unique collaboration among ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations to give protection to human rights defenders worldwide.













Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs | The promotion of human rights is an important concern and a foreign policy goal of Switzerland, enshrined in its Constitution. It is based on the conviction that respecting fundamental rights and freedoms is key to sustainable economic and social development, for the benefit of all. Respect for human rights contributes to global peace and security, world prosperity and sustainable development. It also prevents conflict and violent extremism. Switzerland's support to the Martin Ennals Award is part of this policy. www.eda.admin.ch/

City of Geneva | Geneva has a long-standing tradition of supporting the cause of human rights. Host city of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and many other human rights organizations, Geneva is a world-renowned actor in the defense and promotion of the most fundamental rights. The City of Geneva has been supporting the Martin Ennals Award for several years. Its contribution is key to the award’s recognition and international outreach. www.ville-geneve.ch/

Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland | Human rights, sustainable development and fairness in international relations are pillars of Ireland’s foreign policy. The country is committed to contributing to a more just and peaceful world, a more stable and prosperous world, for the benefit of all. Ireland supports the Martin Ennals Award under the Human Rights and Democratisation scheme. It sees it as an innovative instrument to enhance protection to human rights defenders worldwide. www.irishaid.ie

Brot für die Welt (Bred for the World) | Bred for the World is the development and relief agency of the Protestant Churches in Germany. In more than 90 countries across the globe, it empowers vulnerable and marginalised people to improve their living conditions. Bread for the World primarily focuses on food security, health and education, access to clean water, strengthening democracy and respect for human rights. Its support to the Martin Ennals Award is part of its commitment to improving the protection of human rights defenders. https://www.brot-fuer-die-welt.de/en/

Canton of Geneva | With its Service for International Solidarity, the Canton of Geneva endeavours to promote sustainable development in order to contribute to the fight against poverty and to address socio-economic disparities, discrimination and exclusion. It strives to empower vulnerable people and communities, facilitate their access to education and healthcare and promote gender egality, respect for cultural diversity, democracy and human rights. www.ge.ch

Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) | A Norwegian Foundation, HRHF aims at protecting, empowering and supporting human rights defenders and organizations. Its network of Human Rights Houses is a strong tool to foster partnerships, pooling expertise and resources, and thus enhancing the visibility and impact of participating organizations. HRHF is in particular dedicated to promoting freedom of speech, association and assembly. It benefits from a consultative status with the United Nations and a participatory status with the Council of Europe. https://humanrightshouse.org

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands | Human rights at the heart of the Netherlands foreign policy. They are the cornerstone of human dignity, freedom and development, and form the basis for open and free societies all over the world. There can be no democracy or rule of law if these rights are not promoted and protected. For the Netherlands, defending human rights leads to a more stable, safe and prosperous world. It is also a moral and legal obligation. www.government.nl

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark | Promoting and protecting human rights has long been a priority for Danemark in foreign policy. Especially the absolute prohibition of torture, the global fight for gender equality and the rights of indigenous peoples are key priorities. Danish efforts in promoting women’s rights focus on reducing discrimination and violence against women and on their right to have control over their own body: women’s health is essential not only for the women themselves and their family; it also affects the communities and countries in which they live. www.um.dk/en

The Principality of Lichtenstein | Strengthening the rule of law and protecting human rights are guiding principles of Liech­tenstein foreign policy. The basis of this commitment is the conviction that respecting human rights and strength­ening democracy and the rule of law are key to development, security, and peace. Liechtenstein is particularly committed to promoting the rights of women and children, protecting civilians in armed conflict and fighting against torture and the death penalty. Liechtenstein is also involved in combating impunity and strengthening  international human rights mechanisms. https://www.regierung.li/

Other donors

Over the years, the Martin Ennals Award could rely on ad hoc funding by a large variety of donors, such as:

The European Foundation for Human Rights
Francoise Demole, Geneva
Amnesty International
Elisabeth Ahmadi, Verbier
The Evens Foundation, Belgium
Oltramare Foundation, Geneva
Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Sweden
UBS, Geneva
European Commission, Brussels
Organisation Internationale pour la Francophonie
OAK Foundation
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Government of France
Government of United Kingdom
Government of Spain
Government of Finland
Government of Germany
Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation
Robert Fulghum


Martin Ennals was a British human rights activist. He served as the Secretary-General of Amnesty International from 1968 to 1980. He went on to help found two British human rights organisations: ARTICLE 19 and International Alert.