The Martin Ennals Award is a annual prize for human rights defenders. Finalists and the laureate are selected by a Jury of 10 of the world's leading human rights NGOs. The Award provides protection and support to human rights defenders who are at risk.


The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) 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 | Switzerland is committed to human rights and international humanitarian law, and in this regard, the promotion of human rights is an objective of Swiss foreign policy as it tries to improve the human-rights situation for as many people as possible throughout the world. This is based on Switzerland’s long humanitarian tradition, and the conviction that the protection of human rights serves the cause of peace and international stability.  Switzerland concentrates on areas in which it can make a special contribution by virtue of its experience and obligations, such as human rights defenders ; concretely, the Political Affairs Division IV,  supports the safety of individual human beings and the protection of people against political violence, war and acts of arbitrary violence. In this context the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs has been supporting the work of the Martin Ennals Foundation for the past ten years. www.eda.admin.ch/

Ville de Genève | In parallel with the federal support, as the international city for human rights, the Ville de Genève is a crucial supporter of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. Its contribution is essential for the development of the Award in Geneva, a recognized world platform for enhancing human rights. www.ville-geneve.ch/

Department of Foreign Affairs of Ireland | The philosophy of Irish Aid is rooted in Ireland’s foreign policy, in particular its objectives of peace and justice. Successive Governments have attached priority to human rights in terms of Ireland’s foreign policy. In this regard, its development cooperation reflects the country longstanding commitment to human rights and fairness in international relations. Ireland is therefore supporting under the Human Rights and Democratisation Scheme the Martin Ennals Award as an innovative instrument to enhance protection to human rights defenders worldwide. www.irishaid.gov.ie

“Brot für die Welt” (“Bread for the World”) is a programme of church-related development aid cooperation under the auspices of “Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung”, the Protestant Agency for Diakonia and Development . The main areas of action for the organization are “Food Security”, “Access to Basic Social Services” and  “Promoting Democracy”, . In all three areas the promotion of the universally recognised Human Rights is regarded as crucial. The work of “Brot für die Welt” consists in the empowerment of its partner organizations all over the world. This includes taking care for the partners when they are persecuted or harassed because of their engagement. Hence “Bread for the world” is supporting the Martin Ennals Award as an important and effective instrument to improve the protection to Human Rights Defenders.

Canton of Geneva | With its International Solidarity Service, the canton of Geneva is aiding the battle against poverty in the least developed countries and acting to stop socio-economic inequalities, discrimination and exclusion. The support of Geneva canton is centred on the following four areas: Cooperation and development; Humanitarian aid; Promoting peace and human rights; Decentralized cooperation.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Spain | The promotion and defence of human rights are one of the priorities of Spanish foreign policy. Spain strongly supports the reinforcement of international legal instruments and their effective implementation because the respect of the rule of law is essential for world peace and security. In this regard, Spain is contributing to the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) as a new international tool offering protective publicity to those men and women who are at risk struggling for the respect of human rights and the rule of law in their respective countries.

The Human Rights House Foundation, based in Oslo (Norway is the secretariat of the Human rights House Networks (HRHN). HRHF is international partner of the South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders and the emerging Balkan Network of Human Rights Defenders. HRHF has consultative status with the United Nations and HRHN has participatory status with the Council of Europe.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands | Human rights 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. The Netherlands has a rich tradition of defending human rights, both at home and abroad. Doing so is a moral and legal obligation, besides which respect for human rights leads to a more stable and prosperous world, which also benefits the Netherlands.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark | Denmark will support processes of change which creates societies where checks and balances on the executive are exercised by citizens, independent bodies, a strong civil society and a free media, and where people participate actively and take on responsibility for the development of society. Denmark will support processes and institutions which promote human rights, work for equal access for all to fair legal proceedings and promote access to complaint mechanisms and alternative conflict resolution mechanisms – both nationally and internationally.

A country where women do not have the same opportunities as men is denying itself a valuable resource. Denmark will work to reduce discrimination against women and work for women’s equal right to education, health, economic prosperity and influence as well as women’s ability to enjoy their sexual and reproductive rights.


For many years the Martin Ennals Foundation (MEF) has relied on ad hoc funding by a large variety of donors, such as

The European Foundation for Human Rights
Francoise Demole, Geneva
Amnesty International (International Secretariat)
Elisabeth Ahmadi, Verbier
The Evens Foundation, Belgium
Amnesty International Netherlands section
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 ofUnited Kingdom
Government of Finland
Government of Germany
Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation
Robert Fulghum


Martin Ennals was a British human rights activist. Ennals served as the Secretary-General of Amnesty International from 1968 to 1980. He went on to help found the British human rights organisation ARTICLE 19, followed by International Alert in 1985.


Louise Arbour (Canada)
Theo van Boven (Netherlands)
Leandro Despouy (Argentina)
Adama Dieng (Senegal)
Robert Fulghum (USA)
Barbara Hendricks (Sweden)
Asma Jahangir (Pakistan)
Irene Khan (Bangladesh)
Werner Lottje†(Germany)
José Ramos-Horta (East Timor)