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The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

Thank you for your interest in the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. The 2015 nomination process is now closed. All submitted nominations are currently under review. For any questions, please contact



Persons working non-violently to promote and protect human rights of all are eligible for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. Those who have worked strategically and effectively to address serious human rights problems are given the highest priority. Often these human rights defenders are working against tremendous odds and at grave personal risk. The nominee should have an established reputation for integrity, creativity, and commitment to human rights principles.

Please note the following criteria for ineligibility:

  • Nominees must not be part of a government institution;
  • Nominees must not have an official role within a political party (please note the nominee can be affiliated with a political party);
  • Nominees must not be self-nominated; and
  • Nominees must not be nominated for the purposes of a lifetime achievement award or a posthumous award.


About the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award

The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award was established in 1984 to honor courageous and innovative individuals striving for social justice throughout the world. Each year, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights awards an individual whose courageous activism is at the heart of the human rights movement and in the spirit of Robert F. Kennedy's vision and legacy. The Human Rights Award Laureates have made significant contributions to their countries through years of dedicated work. Laureates are chosen through an exhaustive annual nomination and selection process with nominations submitted from all over the world. Robert F. Kennedy Human RIghts offers a monetary contribution to their cause and forges strategic partnerships with the recipients of the Award. Please note, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is not a grant-making organization and does not provide project funds to the recipients of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Laureates.

The only international human rights program of its kind, RFK Partners for Human Rights (PHR) forges multi-year, strategic partnerships with recipients of the annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. This unique model, which provides sustained advocacy, litigation and capacity-building support to activists working at the ground level of ongoing human rights crises, is one of the most effective ways to advance long-term, systemic change for communities across the globe. Since 1984, PHR has built an extensive grassroots network, working with 46 civil society activists from 28 countries who have received the RFK Human Rights Award.

Watch this video to learn more about the RFK Center's impact partnering with human rights defenders around the world!

About Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights core programs focus on the power of the individual, working through alliances and organizations, to generate change. RFK PARTNERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS bolsters the efficacy of human rights defenders through sustained, strategic partnerships, extending their reach to legislators, diplomats, international institutions, and corporations. RFK SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER educates students and the public about human rights issues and provides the tools for creating change in their communities; RFK COMPASS convenes the financial community to advance a discussion of the connections among investment performance, fiduciary duty, and public interest issues to optimize risk-adjusted rates of returns and address current and future global challenges. Through its offices in Florence, Italy, RFK EUROPE extends its human rights education and advocacy programs across Europe, raising awareness and igniting change. Through the RFK TRAINING INSTITUTE, RFK EUROPE organizes training programs for high school teachers and increasingly engages with human rights leaders, executives, and nonprofit directors throughout the world to develop human rights and social justice strategies. For more information on RFK Center programs, please visit:

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Laureates

Adilur Rahman Khan (Bangladesh): Exposing the most serious human rights violations in Bangladesh through a nationwide network of defenders.

Ragia Omran (Egypt): Advancing women's rights, the rule of law, and democracy in Egypt through human rights legal advocacy.

Librada Paz (United States): Advocating for the rights of farmworkers and migrant workers in the U.S.
Frank Mugisha (Uganda): Championing human rights for sexual minorities in Uganda and against discrimination and persecution faced by the LGBTI community.
Abel Barrera Hernández (Mexico): Fighting for the full spectrum of human rights of indigenous and rural communities and demanding protection of human rights defenders in the region.
Magodonga Mahlangu & Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) (Zimbabwe): Advocating for political and social change in Zimbabwe, empowering women, and striving for universal education.
Aminatou Haidar (Western Sahara): Promoting the civil and political rights of the people of Western Sahara, including the freedom of speech and assembly and the right to self-determination.
Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Abdallah (Sudan): Treating victims of torture, and to ensure peace process includes provisions for post conflict truth and reconciliation.
Sonia Pierre (Dominican Republic): Working for the rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic.
Stephen Bradberry (United States): Establishing the right to return and participate for those displaced from their homes by the Gulf Coast hurricanes.
Delphine Djiraibe (Chad): Advocating for social, economic, and environmental rights in Chad and for World Bank accountability and corporate responsibility in the disbursement of oil revenues.
Coalition of Immokalee Workers (United States): Ending modern-day slavery and the exploitation of migrant workers in the U.S. agricultural industry.
Loune Viaud (Haiti): Realizing the human right to health for all Haitians.
Darci Frigo (Brazil): Promoting rights of the landless and sustainable agriculture in Brazil and combating modern-day slavery.
Martin Macwan (India): Bringing an end to human rights violations and discrimination against the “untouchable” Dalit population in India.
Archbishop Michael Kpakala Francis (Liberia): Strengthening Liberian civil society and respect for human rights as a basis for sustainable peace.
Berenice Celeyta, Gloria Florez and Jaime Prieto (Colombia): Protecting human rights defenders and defending the rights of those marginalized by the internal conflict in Colombia.
Sezgin Tanrikulu (Turkey): Defending the rights of Kurdish citizens.
Senal Sarihan (Turkey): Strengthening Turkey's civil society and promoting women's rights.
Anonymous (Sudan): Eliminating the persecution of minorities in Sudan.
Doan Viet Hoat (Vietnam): Striving for a democratic government and economic and human rights reform for the Vietnamese people.
Nguyen Dan Que (Vietnam): Advocating for political reform and freedom of expression in Viet Nam.
Kailash Satyarthi (India): Ending child labor and realizing the human right to education for all children.
Ren Wanding (China): Promoting a democratic government and the release of political prisoners.
Wei Jingsheng (China): Advocating for human rights and political reform in China.
Bambang Widjojanto (Indonesia): Promoting self-determination and control of natural resources by West Papuans.
Chakufwa Chihana (Malawi): Promoting a democratic society and workers' rights.
Avigdor Feldman (Israel): Advocating for civil rights and justice in Israel.
Raji Sourani (Palestine): Defending the human rights of the Palestinian people.
Amilcar Mendez Urizar (Guatemala): Protecting the constitutional and human rights of Guatemala's indigenous population.
Fang Lizhi (China): Advocating for democracy and freedom of education in China.
Gibson Kamau Kuria (Kenya): Championing for Kenya's legal and constitutional reform.
Kim Keun Tae and In Jae Keun (South Korea): Striving for democracy in South Korea and eliminating the systematic torture of political prisoners.
Zbigniew Bujak (Poland): Promoting a democratic society in Poland.
Adam Michnik (Poland): Opposing communist rule in Poland.
Allan Boesak, Beyers Naude, and Winnie Mandela (South Africa): Ending apartheid in South Africa.
CoMadres (El Salvador): Ending politically motivated forced disappearances in El Salvador.

For more information about the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award Laureates, please visit

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Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
RFK Partners for Human Rights
1300 19TH Street, NW, Suite #750
Washington, D.C. 20036 USA