2014 Human Rights Tulip for Mideast Youth

This year’s recipient of the Human Right Tulip is Mideast Youth. The Human Rights Tulip is an annual prize awarded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to innovative human rights defenders. Foreign minister Bert Koenders will present the prize on Tuesday 9 December. Mideast Youth’s founder and director Esra’a Al Shafei will accept the prize on the organisation’s behalf. ‘The dramatic global decline in the observance of human rights requires an unconventional approach to tackling violations. Mideast Youth excels at this,’ said Mr Koenders.

Mideast Youth builds online platforms to give a voice to people who are working to promote human rights. The platforms create a safe space where young people in particular can talk about issues that are taboo in parts of the Middle East, such as equal rights for LGBT people, equal rights for religious and ethnic minorities like the Baha’i and Kurds, and the protection of labour migrants who live in harsh conditions in large parts of the Middle East. The websites are accessible and interactive, to ensure that these positive messages are both expressed and heard.

Esra’a Al Shafei (b. 1986) is one of the most influential internet activities in the Arab world. She fights for a world without censorship by using the internet as a platform for freedom of expression and information. She is the voice of a new generation who use social media, design and music to highlight controversial issues.

Director Esra’a Al Shafei will accept the prize today on the organisation’s behalf.