Hülya Gülbahar receives Human Rights Tulip

The 2023 Human Rights Tulip has been awarded to Hülya Gülbahar, a feminist attorney from Türkiye and founder of the Equality Watch Women’s Group (EŞİTİZ) and the Women’s Platform for Equality Türkiye (EŞİK). Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot presented the prize on 14 December at a ceremony in the Peace Palace.

Enlarge image Minister Bruins Slot en Hülya Gülbahar
Hülya Gülbahar is awarded the Human Rights Tulip by Minister Hanke Bruins Slot.

About the Human Rights Tulip

The Human Rights Tulip is an annual award presented by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to a human rights defender to support them in their work advancing, protecting and raising awareness about human rights around the world.

The winner of the Human Rights Tulip receives a bronze tulip and money that they can use to expand their human rights work in order to reach more people, in more places.

In her speech, Ms Bruins Slot said: ‘Human rights are among the most important resources we have at our disposal to tackle the major problems of our time, such as war, poverty and climate change. But without action, human rights are no more than words, just some sentences from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The nominees for the Human Rights Tulip understand this at a profound level. Through their tireless efforts, these human rights defenders make a real difference for people and society.’

Hülya Gülbahar’s human rights work

Hülya Gülbahar is a feminist attorney who has been contributing to the women’s rights movement and to protecting human rights in Türkiye for over 40 years. She is also the founder of Equality Watch Women’s Group (EŞİTİZ) and Women’s Platform for Equality Türkiye (EŞİK).

EŞİTİZ and EŞİK publish legal analyses of legislative bills and amendments on feminist and LGBTIQ+ issues, conduct awareness-raising campaigns (for example on the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence) and promote social mobilisation by the Turkish feminist movement.

‘For more than 40 years,’ Ms Bruins Slot said, ‘Hülya Gülbahar has been defending women’s rights and fighting injustice in Türkiye. She does so using her extensive legal expertise and through her influential network, comprised primarily of women, which is too extensive to ignore. And she has been very successful at it. It’s thanks to people like Hülya that the call for human rights is heard. She deserves our support.’

Other finalists

The two other finalists for the 2023 Human Rights Tulip were:

  • Julienne Baseke is a journalist and human rights defender who fights for women’s rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As a journalist, Ms Baseke founded the South Kivu Women’s Media Association (AFEM), which aims to enhance women’s visibility and participation in the DRC media.
  • Claudelice dos Santos is a human rights and environmental activist in the Amazon region. She is the founder of the Zé Claudio e Maria Institute, whose shelter and protection house provides a safe haven for indigenous land, environmental and human rights defenders.