Human Rights Tulip 2022: this is the shortlist

Each year the Ministry of Foreign Affairs awards a human rights defender somewhere in the world a prize: the Human Rights Tulip. In 2022 the award ceremony will take place on 8 December during Human Rights Week. Today we introduce the top 10 candidates.

What is the Human Rights Tulip?

The Human Rights Tulip is a prize that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs awards each year to a human rights defender or human rights organisation to support their important work. The winner receives a bronze tulip and €100,000. This money and the international visibility the prize creates help the winner continue and expand their human rights efforts.

Shortlist for the Human Rights Tulip 2022

From 80 nominees, 10 candidates – individuals and organisations from around the world – have been selected for the shortlist for the Human Rights Tulip 2022. Among other things, they have been chosen on the basis of the impact of their work on society, and their courage in striving to promote human rights despite threats and attacks. These are the candidates on the shortlist:


  • Adeola Oyinlade is a human rights lawyer who champions the rights of his fellow Nigerians. He has developed a free app for this purpose: Know-Your-Rights-Nigeria. The app gives explanations of all fundamental rights in several languages, and allows people to chat directly about human rights issues with Mr Oyinlade and 50 other lawyers. Mr Oyinlade has also played a prominent role in implementing Nigerian anti-torture legislation.
  • Leng Ouch has been working for human and environmental rights in Cambodia for 22 years. By investigating abuses and exposing corruption, he takes up the cause of groups of people whose interests are harmed by companies or government. These groups include local communities who are losing their land to large-scale deforestation. 
  • Nadia Murad and her organisation Nadia’s Initiative defend the Yezidis and their rights in Sinjar, Iraq. The Yezidis suffered greatly under ISIS from 2014 onwards. Nadia’s Initiative contributes to investigating mass graves and putting ISIS perpetrators on trial. It also calls for action to save almost 2,800 Yezidi women and children who are still missing or imprisoned. In 2018 Ms Murad won the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Philip Obaji Jr. is a Nigerian journalist who has worked for the past decade to protect refugees and displaced persons and help tell their stories. He has reported on topics including the victims of the Boko Haram uprising in Nigeria and female survivors of the conflict in Mali who were sold to human traffickers in Niger. Mr Obaji has managed to publish these stories in some of the world’s most authoritative newspapers and magazines.


  • Casa Frida is a Mexican human rights organisation that has provided shelter since 2020 to victims of homophobic or transphobic violence and of hate crimes against LGBTIQ+ people. This violence has increased in recent years. Casa Frida provides protection and psychosocial support, and helps victims – including many migrants – pursue social, economic and cultural integration.
  • The Viasna Human Rights Centre is a human rights organisation that was established in 1996 during mass protests by the democratic opposition in Belarus. Viasna is currently working to monitor the human rights situation in Belarus and raise awareness of democracy and human rights. The organisation also defends individual rights, particularly the rights of political prisoners. It has been operating illegally in Belarus since 2003.
  • PEN Belarus is an organisation that defends the freedom and rights of writers and journalists in Belarus and investigates human rights issues. It is for example investigating the violence used against demonstrators at the time of the presidential elections in 2020. It has been forced to close its centre in Belarus, but is continuing its work from a base in Poland.
  • The LGBTIQ+ coalition of Hungary is a partnership between several NGOs that stand up for equal rights for LGBTIQ+ persons. A campaign in 2022 against a referendum in Hungary on restricting the rights of LGBTIQ+ persons was a major milestone for the coalition. Due to the campaign, the referendum failed to reach a majority of the votes and was invalidated, due to 1.7 million invalid votes.
  • Thai Lawyers for Human Rights is an organisation that was established in 2014 by a group of human rights lawyers and social activists, two days after the military coup in Thailand. The lawyers offer pro bono legal assistance to people who suffer arbitrary treatment or are put on trial for exercising their civil and political rights. The organisation also works to raise awareness among the Thai people, working closely with other human rights organisations and the UN. 
  • The Ukraine 5 AM Coalition is a network of more than 30 Ukrainian human rights organisations working to gather evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russia. It is called 5 AM because that is when war broke out in Ukraine on 24 February 2022. The coalition’s aim is to protect the victims of Russian aggression and bring the perpetrators of these crimes and those in positions of responsibility to justice.

What now?

An independent jury will select the three top candidates from the 10 on the shortlist. They will be announced in the second week of November.