The Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award

The 2018 recipient of the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award was the Turkish journalist and human rights defender Murat Çelikkan.

Civil Rights Defenders annually awards one human rights defender with the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award. The recipient is a person who, despite the risk to her or his own safety, continues their fight for the respect and protection of civil and political rights.

The recipient must carry out their work without the use of 
violence and within an independent human rights organisation. In addition, candidates:

  • should have a central role in the human rights movement in the country or region where the person is active;
  • should have a long experience of working with the protection of civil and political rights in the country or region where the person is active;
  • could be in need of international attention to improve the person’s protection.

Nomination process

The recipient of the award is appointed by the Civil Rights Defenders Board, which chooses between three candidates presented by the organisation’s secretariat. The secretariat makes their choices based on nominations submitted by Civil Rights Defenders’ worldwide network of human rights defenders and human rights organisations. Nomination for the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award is by invitation only.

Eligibility for Nomination

  • Only individuals, not organisations, can be nominated
  • Self-nominating is not allowed
  • Incomplete application forms will not be considered

The prize

The prize has been handed out by Civil Rights Defenders since 2013. It consists of a specially designed statuette and a diploma. In 2018, the award was handed out to the Turkish journalist and human rights defender Murat Çelikkan. Read more about all previous recipients here.

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