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Annual Global Human Rights Defender Awards

The honorees of the 2022 Annual Global Human Rights Defender Awards.

Each year the United States honors a select group of people who stand out for their efforts to protect and support human rights.

Annual Global Human Rights Defender Awards
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Each year the United States honors a select group of people who stand out for their efforts to protect and support human rights with the Global Human Rights Defender Awards.

The first award recipient, Mohammad Nur Khan, led two of Bangladesh’s best-known domestic rights organizations and partnered with international organizations to document human rights abuses and promote accountability in Bangladesh.

From Brazil, Elaize de Souza Farias is a cutting edge indigenous investigative journalist who reports on issues of the environment, agriculture, and Indigenous and traditional peoples, among other topics.

Chhim Sithar, leader of the Labor Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at the NagaWorld Resort and Casino in Cambodia, led a strike demanding higher wages. Amid harassment and her arrest in 2022, Ms. Sithar continues to speak out about labor rights.

Throughout Nino Lomjaria’s tenure as Public Defender of Georgia from 2017 through 2022, she and her team advocated for human rights protections for all.

Rosa Melania Reyes Velásquez is being recognized for fighting violence against women in Honduras.

Nasrin Sotoudeh is an Iranian human rights lawyer and activist. In March 2019 she was sentenced to a cumulative 38 years in prison and 148 lashes for providing legal defense services to women charged with crimes for not wearing a hijab.

Bashdar Hassan, an Iraqi human rights lawyer, headed up a group of lawyers who served as defense counsel for numerous journalists, activists, and protesters. According to Amnesty International, these attorneys were “arbitrarily arrested” and “forcibly disappeared” in Badinan in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region.

Mohamed Ely El Her of Mauritania has made monumental progress in securing land rights for former victims of slavery.

Ding Jiax, who lives in the People’s Republic of China, is being honored for helping to start the New Citizen’s Movement. This organization supported independent candidates in local elections, launched calls for government officials to disclose their personal finances, and supported property rights. According to reports, Mr. Ding was tried in secret in 2022 with no verdict announced.

And finally, Ekoue David Joseph Dosseh of Togo is be honored for supporting Togolese civil society, fighting against injustice and impunity, and promoting democratic advancement across the region for over 15 years.

Protecting and supporting these and other human rights defenders remains a key U.S. foreign policy priority as they are integral to democracy, access to justice, a vibrant civil society, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability.