Lilit Martirosyan receives Human Rights Tulip 2020
The Human Rights Tulip 2020 was awarded today to Lilit Martirosyan. Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok presented the prize during an online ceremony on Human Rights Day.
The Human Rights Tulip is an annual prize awarded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to an individual or organisation promoting human rights in an innovative way. It comes with a bronze statue and €100,000 in prize money, which the winner can use to further their human rights work.
‘This year,’ said Mr Blok, ‘the three candidates shortlisted for the Human Rights Tulip 2020 were an indigenous women’s rights advocate from Guatemala [on behalf of a network of female healers], a doctor from Sudan [on behalf of an association of trade unions] and a transgender woman from Armenia. They all share a common dedication to promoting human dignity and equality, and work to defend other people’s fundamental rights. They have demonstrated the true meaning of hope, and shown that human rights are for everyone. Regardless of who you are, where you’re from or how much money you have.
Lilit Martirosyan is Armenia’s first registered transgender woman. As founder and current president of the Right Side human rights defender NGO, she works fearlessly for equal rights for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. ‘Lilit has never given up on the peaceful path towards change,’ said Mr Blok, ‘even after receiving death threats. Throughout everything she has remained hopeful and has stood up to defend what she believes in. Hopefully this prize will help her continue to make meaningful strides in her human rights work.’
Thanks to the peaceful activities of Lilit and Right Side, there is now a community centre that serves as a home and safe place for the LGBTI community and sex workers in Armenia. They receive legal and social-psychological support, and if they want to change their name in their passport they can do so without undergoing gender reassignment. The Dutch government recognises Lilit Martirosyan for her constant leadership in demanding attention and respect for transgender people and sex workers in Armenia. Her nomination has also drawn attention to the plight of transgender people and sex workers throughout the region.