Shahla Ismayil wins the 2018 Bob Hepple Equality Award. Photo:

Key Independent Human Rights Awards 2019: Deadlines and Criteria

Human Rights House Foundation believes that recognition in the area of human rights can serve as a protection measure for threatened human rights defenders and their organisations. To increase awareness of these useful protection tools, we share the upcoming deadlines of some of the key human rights awards.

Receiving an award raises the international profile of the winners and increases their protection at home, as well as often providing opportunities in the way of funding and meeting new colleagues as a result of the increased profile.

Human Rights House Foundation utilises human rights awards as tools to support human rights defenders, and to increase the visibility of the work and the situations in which they operate.

Want to know about more awards?

The awards listed below are only a handful of the large number of annual human rights awards available. In order to put these awards at the fingertips of civil society, True Heroes Films has created The Digest, a comprehensive resource to keep you up to date with almost 200 human rights awards from across the globe.

Upcoming award deadlines and criteria in 2019


Sparkasse Leipzig Media Award

Deadline: 28 February 2019

Type: Journalism

Prize: 30 000 EUR.

The “Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media” is intended for distinguished journalists, publishers and media institutions from around the world committed to the cause of protecting and expanding freedom of the press.

Candidates should display a willingness to take risks, great personal commitment, persistence, courage and a firm belief in democracy.

Brief and informal suggestions can be sent to info(at)

Lawyers for Lawyers

Deadline: 01 March 2019

Type: Human rights lawyers

Prize: Presented in Amsterdam in May 2019. The prize consists of a special token as well as a donation of 10 000 EUR.

In order to qualify for a Lawyers for Lawyers Award, nominees must make an exceptional effort to promote the rule of law and human rights. All practising (or practising until recently) lawyers, or lawyers collectives, who are prevented from carrying out their work independently – or who are at considerable risk – are eligible for nomination. There are no requirements for the nationality or country of origin of nominees. Lawyers or lawyer collectives cannot nominate themselves.

Nominate a candidate for the 2019 Lawyers for Lawyers award.

The Right Livelihood Award

Deadline: 01 March 2019

Type: Human rights defenders

Prize: The Foundation sees its role as being the megaphone and shield for the Laureates, and provides them with long-term support. The prize money in 2018 was 3 million SEK.

Unlike most other international prizes, the Right Livelihood Award has no categories. It recognises that, in striving to meet the human challenges of today’s world, the most inspiring and remarkable work often defies any standard classification. The Laureates come from all walks of life: they are farmers, teachers, doctors, or simply, concerned citizens. The Right Livelihood Award accepts proposals from everyone through an open nomination process.

Nominate a candidate for the 2019 Right Livelihood Award.

Fritt Ord / ZEIT Stiftung – Free Media Awards

Deadline: 01 March 2019

Type: Journalism (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia only)

Prize: Prize amount per recipient is EUR 15 000. There will be 3 to 5 prizes in 2019.

These awards aim to provide support for journalists and media that report independently and refuse to give up in the face of threats. Candidates can include independent journalists, bloggers, internet media and newspapers operating under pressure. Nominations should include references to the quality of their work. The nomination statement should be 1 to 2 pages long, and include a short biography and links to articles, where relevant.

Please send nominations by e-mail to

Martin Ennals Award (2020)

Deadline: 26 March 2019

Type: Human rights defenders

Prize: 30 000 EUR (in 2017)

The Martin Ennals Award is intended for human rights defenders (HRDs) who are defending the rights of others, while at risk. This could include physical danger, repressive legal processes, or other forms of harassment. Candidates must be currently active (posthumous nominations not accepted), demonstrably at risk, and must work with non-violent means.

Nominate a candidate for the 2020 Martin Ennals Award.

Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

Deadline: 30 April

Type: Human rights defenders

Prize: The prize consists of a sum of 60,000 EUR, a trophy and a diploma.

The prize aims to reward outstanding civil society action in defending human rights in Europe and beyond. Candidates should have made a real difference to the human rights situation of a given group, been instrumental in uncovering large-scale systemic violations, or have successfully mobilised public opinion or the international community for a cause. Nominations should be signed by at least five sponsors and submitted in either English or French.

Nominate a candidate for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize.


April 11, 2019

Why is the Venice Commission study on NGO funding so important?

The Venice Commission expresses that “States must create an enabling environment in which associations can effectively operate and access funding, including foreign funding.” This comes in its review of standards applying to funding of NGOs within Council of Europe member states, published in March 2019.

April 10, 2019

Ukraine: Base juvenile justice reforms on international standards

Ukraine is in the process of reforming its system for juvenile justice. Advocating for these reforms to be based on international human rights standards, Mart, member of Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv, and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (HFHR, Poland) have undertaken a joint project with the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice.

April 10, 2019

Беларускі Дом правоў чалавека імя Барыса Звозскава шукае каардынатара па нарошчванні патэнцыялу

Адным з важных стратэгічных напрамкаў БДПЧ з’яўляецца садзейнічанне ўзмацненню дзейнасці і нарошчванню патэнцыялу беларускіх праваабаронцаў і арганізацый грамадзянскай супольнасці Беларусі. Для развіцця дадзенага кірунку, а таксама нарошчвання крэатыву і пазітыву, БДПЧ шукае каардынатара па нарошчванні патэнцыялу, у чые кампетэнцыі будзе ўваходзіць наступнае: Распрацоўка канцэпцыі, праграмы, пошук экспертаў і арганізацыя трэнінгаў/семінараў па нарошчванню кампетэнцый; Сумесная праца […]