Martin Ennals

Award 2024


Nominations for the Martin Ennals Award 2024 are now open!

The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders honors individuals and organizations who have shown exceptional commitment to defending human rights, despite the risks involved. The promotion and defense of human rights by activists and civil society organizations plays a decisive role in many countries where they promote the search for justice, peace, and equity for all. The Martin Ennals Award aims to support the tireless struggles of these activists.

We are proud to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Award in 2024, in partnership with the City of Geneva, the Jury member organizations, the extended family of Laureates around the world, and our wonderful donors.

To qualify for the Award 2024, the nominees must:

  • Be currently active in the promotion and protection of human rights
  • Not employ or advocate violence
  • Not be self-nominated
  • Be in need of protection

We encourage nominations of activists under 30 years of age to reflect the growing number of young persons joining the human rights movements in their countries. Post-humous nominations are not eligible. The deadline for nominations is Wednesday February 28, 2024 close of business. Nominees must also read and acknowledge the Martin Ennals Foundation Ethical Guidelines.


Nominate your human rights champion now by filling out the nomination form
(available in ENGLISH, FRENCH) and send it to


The Martin Ennals Award is a unique collaboration between ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations, who form the independent Jury that selects winners of the Award.

In the first half of each year, a nomination cycle takes place over several months, at the end of which the winners of the Martin Ennals Award — or Laureates — are selected by the Jury.

The names of the Laureates will be publicly announced in the summer months 2024. Mark your calendar for the Award Ceremony 2024 which will take place on the 21 November 2024 in Geneva.

Learn more about the nomination process and our ethical guidelines here:

Ethical Guidelines and Code of Conduct

FAQ: Learn more about the Martin Ennals Award Nomination Process

The Martin Ennals Award (MEA) is an international prize given to human rights defenders in urgent need of protection. Many defenders who are nominated for the Award face serious risks – for example, they are in jail or at risk of detention; they have been prevented from carrying out their work by authorities or businesses, or they have disappeared. The Award seeks to protect these defenders by highlighting their work through the media and mobilizing international support for them. The presentation of the Award is accompanied by significant advocacy and outreach activities in favor of the human rights defenders concerned. The winners are also given a financial prize to use at their discretion.

Self-nominations for the MEA are not accepted. Human rights defenders or organizations can be nominated by a third party, as long as the motivation is substantiated and the candidate meets the MEA criteria, namely being a human rights defender at risk. Past Laureates include lawyers, journalists, teachers, civil society activists, and even a Buddhist monk.

Ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations form the fully independent Martin Ennals Award Jury. Together, they are the backbone of the Martin Ennals Award: Amnesty International, Bread for the World, the International Commission of Jurists, the FIDH, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, HURIDOCS, the World Organization against Torture and the International Service for Human Rights.

The Jury is responsible for assessing the candidates’ applications and selecting the winners to the Award. The Jury provides expertise and research capacity in the conduction of due diligence on the defenders and the contexts they work in. Moreover, the member organizations of the Jury collaborate with the Foundation in providing support and protective publicity to the selected human rights defenders.

In order to reflect the cultural and geographic diversity of the human rights movement, a network of regional human rights organizations consults on the nomination process. Regional NGOs – which have grown in number and importance over the last decade – provide first-hand knowledge and expertise on the contexts in which MEA candidates work. In certain cases, they also maintain personal contact with the candidates. They play an important role in distributing the call for applications within their regional networks.

The nomination process takes approximately six months. From the moment the MEA nomination campaign is launched, nominations can be submitted via the MEA website. When the deadline for sending applications is surpassed, the Martin Ennals Foundation staff proceeds to a first review of the candidates, prior to handing over the applications to the Jury. The Jury then has the responsibility to screen every application and prepare a shortlist of up to ten candidates. Those ten are each given to a rapporteur among the members of the Jury. Each rapporteur conducts a thorough assessment of the candidate’s work, personal situation, and achievements for human rights. The assessments are compiled in individual reports, which are then shared with all Jury members. In a final meeting and through in-depth discussions, the members of the Jury select the three “Laureates” to the Award.

The main considerations are the quality of the work of the defenders and their need for protection. The Jury also considers who would benefit most from the Award and the public attention it brings. Gender and geographic considerations play a role in the evaluation. The Jury is guided by the courage human rights defenders demonstrate in their work, the determination and commitment shown by the selected defenders, and their commitment to non-violent means.

At the end of the nomination process, all three Laureates are informed about their win and reconfirm their agreement to be part of the Martin Ennals Award.

The Martin Ennals Foundation works hand in hand with each of the defenders to identify their needs (protection, digital security, self-care, advocacy, etc.) and prepare the MEA public announcement. A film is produced about each of them, and an outreach and media campaign is organized to publicly announce the three Laureates of the Award. Together with the City of Geneva, the Martin Ennals Foundation organizes an Award Ceremony which is open to the public.

All of the winners receive an important financial prize intended to support their work in the field of human rights. However, the importance of this Award to human rights defenders is not restricted to its financial aspect. The international recognition and credibility of the Martin Ennals Award contributes to their protection, as does the support of prominent figures such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the City of Geneva, the Republic and Canton of Geneva and other partner organizations.

The Martin Ennals Foundation has developed several initiatives to further empower human rights defenders in their work and enable the younger generation to develop its own human rights skills. In the months following the Ceremony, the Laureates are invited to take part in the “Geneva Residency” and the “Defenders Network” initiatives.