Voting opens today for 2017 Human Rights Tulip

Starting today, everyone can cast a vote for one of the nominees for the 2017 Human Rights Tulip, an annual prize awarded by the Dutch government to courageous individuals or organisations around the world that seek to promote human rights in an innovative way. This year’s nominees are dedicating their energies to causes ranging from the right to good and sustainable management of natural resources in Niger to legal assistance for women who have been victims of abuse or violence in Egypt.

The prize is meant to support human rights defenders and organisations, boost the visibility of their work and inspire others. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs works with Justice and Peace to select the nominees and support the eventual winner. The prize includes a monetary award of €100,000, to help the winner broaden the scope of his or her work and benefit a greater number of people in as many places as possible.

‘The space in which courageous civil society groups can operate is shrinking all the time,’ said foreign minister Bert Koenders. ‘Human rights defenders are sometimes afraid to speak out, due to fear of retaliation. NGOs are struggling in the face of strict legislation. I call on everyone to vote, in order to show that human rights defenders matter.’

This year’s 10 nominees are: Gisha (Israel/the Palestinian Territories), the Cordelia Foundation (Hungary), Azza Soliman (Egypt), Ali Idrissa (Niger), Dina Meza (Honduras), Angélica Choc (Guatemala), Wang Quanzhang (China), Shahzad Akbar (Pakistan), Lottie Cunningham (Nicaragua) and Graciela Pérez Rodriguez (Mexico). The foreign minister will select a winner from the public’s top three candidates. The Human Rights Tulip will be presented around 10 December, Human Rights Day.

Last year the Tulip went to Pakistani internet activist Nighat Dad, whose foundation helps female internet users by offering training sessions on digital security and a cyber harassment helpline.

Online voting will open at 12.00 on Monday 28 August 12.00 and close at 23.59 on Wednesday 6 September.