What is the Martin Ennals Award?
The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA), created in 1993, is granted annually to someone who has demonstrated an exceptional record of combating human rights violations by courageous and innovative means. The award aims at encouraging Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) who are at risk and therefore in need of immediate protection. This protective publicity requires media attention, particularly in the country of origin of the laureate. The prize money of at least 20’000 Swiss Francs is to be used for further work in the field of human rights. The Martin Ennals Foundation is a unique collaboration among ten of the world's leading human rights NGOs, who form the JURY: Amnesty International; Human Rights Watch; International Federation of Human Rights; World Organisation Against Torture; Front Line; International Commission of Jurists; Human Rights First; International Service for Human Rights; Diakonie Germany; HURIDOCS.
Partners and Sponsors
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
- United Kingdom
In the past 10 years, a qualified number of partners have in one way or another made possible the development of the Martin Ennals Award thanks to its financial contribution and support. In this regard, as from 2004, the MEF has started to work on the basis of multi-year funding for the longer-term that aims at expanding the impact of the Award. For the period 2004 – 2013, the MEF is counting on crucial support from several donors, in particular
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs - Switzerland
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/
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
An Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha
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
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 Federal Foreign Office - Germany
Germany’s foreign policy holds that in the long run, promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law is the most reliable foundation for peace and stability. In this regard, Germany is supporting the Martin Ennals Award as an innovative and effective tool to enhance the visibility and protection of human rights defenders to enable them to pursue respect for human rights, free from fear of attack, repression, threats and harassment.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Finland
Finland endeavours to promote human rights everywhere in the world and human rights are high on its foreign and security policy agenda. Finland has undertaken to pursue openness in the dialogue and cooperation. Finland strives to promote and strengthen international efforts to advance the rule of law world-wide and in particular wants to give further protection to men and women struggling to defend human rights often at the risk of their lives. For this reason, Finland has supported the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.
“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.
Oxfam Novib is a Dutch foundation set up on 23 March 1956. In 1994 Novib joined Oxfam International, which is an alliance of 13 independent organizations that work together on the basis of the conviction that poverty and exclusion are unjust and unnecessary. So, the vision of Oxfam Novib is to consider poverty as an injustice, and to work for basic rights for everyone, particularly to enable poor people to claim their basic rights. In this regard, Oxfam Novib has supported the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders because it provides an innovative and effective tool to give protection to human rights defenders in their work. www.novib.nl
One of Sweden´s most important principles is that global development policy must promote and be marked by respect for human rights. Greater attention should be devoted to upholding the principle of the equal dignity and rights of all human beings regardless of age, sex, ethnic background, beliefs, origins, sexual orientation or disabilities. In this regard, SIDA has sponsored one of the films on the MEA 2007.
Private Foundations and Individuals
The Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation has been supporting the MEA for several years. Barbara Hendricks is not only a renowned artist she is also very committed to human rights and justice issues worldwide. She is Good will Ambassador for Life to UNHCR. www.barbarahendricks.com
Robert Fulghum is a world-known author who has generously donated the proceeds of several books to international human rights work and actively supports several human rights NGOs. He has published several best-selling books. He has been a faithful friend of the MEA for many years.
The 10 Jury member organisations contribute substantially to the work of the MEF. Their cooperation is essential to the success of the annual award, through their role in disseminating the call for nominations, in the research on short-listed candidates as well as in publicity for the award winner and ceremony. The financial contributions from Jury member cover 10% of the MEA budget. For links to their website, see home page of the MEA website.