The Martin Ennals Award 2022 Call for Nominations is open!

April 13, 2021

Human Rights Defenders, who are on the front lines of many struggles, often need protection. Today we start looking for the 2022 human rights champions who deserve support and recognition for their achievements.

More than 60 outstanding defenders from 34 countries have been recognized by the Martin Ennals Award to this day.  Some lobby discreetly to promote policy changes, or do grassroots awareness raising. Others raise their voices against injustice, support victims, document abuses and pursue the perpetrators of crimes. As a consequence of their work, some defenders are imprisoned, tortured, disappeared or even killed.  

“It always seems impossible until it’s done”

Although the price they pay is high, they are part of a vibrant critical mass of people standing up for rights and justice. With unwavering optimism, human rights giant Nelson Mandela believed that progress for peace and human rights was always possible. The Martin Ennals Foundation is making the same bet. We believe that every stone added to the human rights building counts, that every act of recognition and protective measure for human rights defenders matters; and that showing solidarity with those on the front lines of this fight does make a difference. Not only do human rights defenders need protection, they also need to be applauded and recognized for the good they’ve done. And they are not alone. In 2020, millions of people around the world joined the struggle for human rights, be it for the Black Lives Matter movement or justice in Russia, reaffirms Isabel de Sola, Director of the Martin Ennals Foundation.  

Positive impact

Many of our past Laureates and Finalists emphasized how the Martin Ennals Award positively impacted their personal and professional lives. While my government tried to bash my work, the Award gave me the confidence to pursue my battle, knowing I was doing the right thing”, explains former Martin Ennals Laureate Luon Sovath from Cambodia.  

The Mexican lawyer Alejandra Ancheita, who won the Martin Ennals Award in 2014, says that receiving the Award gave her the opportunity to broaden her networks outside of Mexico and position her human rights organization’s work globally. The Award played a central role in the path to sustainability, growth and impact that ProDESC has taken since”, she adds. 

Focus on Digital rights in 2022

The COVID19 pandemic spurred new efforts to leverage digital connectivity for work, health and our personal relationships. But a human rights lens is urgently needed so that the opportunities of digital technology reach all of humanity and solutions can be found for risks online. Human rights Defenders are at the forefront of ensuring digital technology is inclusive, respectful of human rights and employed for human betterment. To offer our support to them and keep the spotlight on these issues, the Martin Ennals Award 2022 will reserve one of its three prizes for defenders working at the intersection of human rights and digital technology.  

Make a difference

The nomination cycle for the Martin Ennals Award 2022 begins today and runs through 30th of May 2021. Nominations can be submitted by completing the MEA nomination form in Arabic, English, French or Spanish here! We encourage nominations of persons working at the intersection of human rights and digital technology. 

Our independent Jury will select three Finalists to the Award, who will be announced publicly in early 2022. The Laureate of the Award will be announced in the first semester of 2022. 

Read our Nominations FAQ here to learn more about the nominations process.