Nominations Human Rights Tulip 2021

The nomination period for the Human Rights Tulip is closed. A total of 74 nominations were received. These nominations will be presented to the expert panel (see below). They will be in charge of selecting a top 10 and 3 wild-cards. 

The Human Rights Tulip is an annual award of the Dutch government to individuals or organisations that promote human rights in peaceful  ways. The Human Rights Tulip was established in 2008 and is intended to support human rights defenders and provide them with a platform and visibility. From 2013, the focus has been on the innovative character of the work of human rights defenders. 

The award

The award comes with €100,000 in prize money, which the winner can use to further develop or expand the scale of their work for human rights. In this way the prize benefits more people in more places. The winner also receives a bronze sculpture in the shape of a tulip, designed by the Dutch artists Huub and Adelheid Kortekaas.

Since 2018, selected Dutch embassies have also issued a Human Rights Tulip to a local human rights defender. This way, the Netherlands demonstrates its support for human rights defenders also locally. The winners of Human Rights Tulips, selected by embassies, receive financial support to help them continue their work and a stainless steel sculpture in the form of a tulip.

The 74 nominees fall in the following categories

Geographical diversity:

  • Asia: 14 nominations
  • Europe and Central Asia: 10 nominations
  • MENA-region: 9 nominations
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: 22 nominations
  • the Americas: 19 nominations

Individual or organisation:

  • 50 individuals (female 22, male 28)
  • 23 organisations
  • 1 community

Get to know the expert panel

Hassan Shire

Hassan Shire (Uganda) is the Executive Director of DefendDefenders, which provides emergency protection, advocacy, awareness raising, capacity building, and technological support to human rights defenders. Shire founded and co-directed the Dr. Ismail Jumale Human Rights Centre (1996-2001) and was the Chairperson of Peace and Human Rights Network (1998-2001) in Mogadishu, Somalia, before he was forced to flee Somalia by extremist groups. 
While in Canada, he worked with the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University and Amnesty International Canada to create the African Human Rights Defenders Project. He later co-founded the DefendDefenders and the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network. Shire was also actively involved in building coalitions for the protection of human rights defenders in the east and Horn of Africa.

Shire regularly engages with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, UN Human Rights Council, the Community of Democracies, government authorities, and African and foreign diplomatic missions for the advancement of human rights in Africa. He is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Civil and Political Rights (Geneva, Switzerland), board member of the Institute of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (Banjul, The Gambia), and Board member of the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (Kampala, Uganda).     
Shire has received numerous awards from the international community including the U.S. State Department’s 2011 Human Rights Defender Award, the Leadership Awards of the Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network in 2015, and the Richard C. Holbrooke Leadership Award by Refugees International in 2017. 

Márta Pardavi

Márta Pardavi (Hungary) is a civil society leader and human rights advocate and is the co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), a Budapest-based leading human rights non-governmental organisation focusing on civic space, rule of law, refugee protection and criminal justice. Márta leads the HHC's work to challenge unlawful policies and winning critical safeguards by engaging with the public, and international and European intergovernmental and civil society organisations.

She has won international recognition for her work, having been awarded the 2018 William D. Zabel Human Rights Award from Human Rights First, Civil Rights Defender’s Civil Rights Defender of the Year 2019 Award and was selected to be a member of POLITICO28 Class of 2019.

Verónica Vidal

Verónica Vidal Degiorgis (Uruguay) is a feminist activist and a women human rights defender. Born in Argentina during the military dictatorship and raised in neighboring Uruguay, she has lived in Mexico City for the past 16 years. She holds a B.A in International Relations, Law Faculty at the University of the Republic in Uruguay and an M.A, in International Cooperation for Development from the Research Institute José María Luis Mora in México. 

With over 20 years of experience on human rights work she has focused her career on women's rights, particularly on research on the funding landscape and funding needs for feminist organisations, on feminist approaches to protection for women human rights defenders, network creation and alliance building of women defenders networks. She was coordinator of the IM-Defensoras' Mesoamerican Registry of Attacks to Women Human Rights Defenders between 2014 and 2019. She has carried out advocacy work at the UN level and provided accompaniment to women defenders at risk. Since 2020, she is Deputy Director at ProDESC, a Mexican Human Rights organization founded in 2005 by Alejandra Ancheita, winner of the Martin Ennals award. 

She has been a consultant for the Global Fund for Women since 2018. Verónica has been part of the Frontline Defenders Board of Directors since 2018 and is a member of the Women Human Rights Defender National Network in Mexico and the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition. 

Mary Jane N. Real

Mary Jane N. Real is a founding Co-Lead of Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights Asia and Pacific (UAF A&P). She was in charge of Programmes and Innovation, and co-led the setting up of the organisation in 2017. She is also a founding member, and former Coordinator of the International Coalition on Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD IC), an international network for the protection and support of women human rights defenders worldwide. 

A lawyer by profession, she was part of setting up the Alternative Law Groups (ALG), a network of legal organisations that advocates for human rights in the Philippines. She is a long-time advocate of women’s human rights having worked in various capacities with women’s rights and human rights organisations, including as Coordinator of the Asia Pacific Forum for Women, Law and Development (APWLD). She sits in the Board of Front Line Defenders, Southeast Asia Women's Watch and other local organisations. In 2020, she was also a member of the Expert Panel of the Tulip Award for Human Rights.

Mohammed Al Maskati

Mohammed Al Maskati (Bahrain) is a human rights activist and digital security consultant for Middle East and North Africa. He is the founder of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR). In 2018, Al-Maskati launched, a website to provide advice on protecting the freedom of expression of individuals and organizations in the digital world and the Internet. He is also the founder of a rapid response team available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to help resolve digital attacks as they happen in real time. 

He was awarded the 2019 Access Now Human Rights Heroes Award for the protection of freedom of expression online. Al-Maskati is recognized for his outstanding efforts to defend human rights by providing digital security training to human rights defenders and vulnerable groups throughout the Middle East and North Africa. He works with Front Line Defenders and has assisted a number of international organisations working in the Middle East and North Africa in developing their policy and guidelines.