More than 170 nominations for the Human Rights Defenders Tulip

This year, 174 human rights defenders have been nominated for the Human Rights Defenders Tulip, the Dutch government’s human rights award. They come from 73 countries all over the world, and from all walks of life.

‘Each year, we are getting more and more nominations for the Tulip,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Verhagen. ‘This year we had nearly 60 more than in 2009. So support for this award for human courage is growing, and that is a very good thing. Because no matter who ultimately wins the award, we are supporting all human rights defenders. Each and every one of them is a hero.’

The Netherlands introduced the Human Rights Defenders Tulip as a token of recognition of a man or woman who has shown exceptional courage in protecting and promoting the rights of his or her fellow citizens. The Minister of Foreign Affairs will present the award at a ceremony in the Ridderzaal on International Human Rights Day, Friday 10 December.

This year, 78 women and 96 men have been nominated. They include journalists, musicians, university professors, clergy, lawyers and writers. The majority of the nominees are from India (11), Israel and the Palestinian Territories (9), Colombia (9) and Sudan (8).

An independent jury chaired by journalist Cisca Dresselhuys will select three candidates from the nominees. The Dutch government will then choose the winner from these three. The award is a bronze tulip, and €10,000. The winner may also propose a project to the value of €100,000 to strengthen his or her work as a human rights defender.

Last year’s winner was Iranian human rights activist Shadi Sadr. In 2008, the prize was awarded to Justine Masika Bihamba from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.