Defenders Network

Luon Sovath at the UN Headquarters in Geneva on October 1, 2020

Since 1992, the Martin Ennals Foundation supports more than 60 outstanding Defenders in 34 countries with a prestigious Award. Our Finalists and Laureates have made exceptional contributions to human rights causes around the globe. Their work contributes to exposing abuses of power, ensuring the implementation of international agreements on the rights of minorities and vulnerable groups, and denouncing violence against women and girls.  

Building on the objectives of the Martin Ennals Award, in 2020 the Foundation launched the Martin Ennals Award Defenders Network, which aims to leverage the synergies between the Martin Ennals community of Human Rights Defenders.

Defenders are best positioned to understand and support each other in their work and well-being. Their causes will be positively impacted by greater levels of collaboration and opportunities to learn from one another.
Cristina Rendon, Program Officer.

The Defenders Network:

  • Offers a safe space to Martin Ennals Laureates and Finalists to exchange, learn, and grow professionally and personally.
  • Offers a mentorship and a peer-coaching platform for Defenders, by Defenders.
  • Provides longer term protective publicity for Defenders at risk, through collaborative actions and public engagement with other Defenders.
  • Empowers the Network’s members in their endeavors for lasting change.
  • Enhances access of Defenders to international human rights mechanisms and other relevant networks.


The Geneva Residency is made possible thanks to the Foundation’s
numerous partnerships and sponsors


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