An Open Letter to the Nobel Committee

Nobel Prize Award Ceremony 2017 © Nobel Media AB 2017. Photo: Alexander Mahmoud.

Dear Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee,

9 December 2018 will mark the 20th anniversary of the UNs Declaration on human rights defenders*. It is an ideal and opportune moment to recognise and celebrate the efforts of these extraordinary individuals who despite threats of violence and unlawful imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, torture and assassination, continue to peacefully challenge injustice and call for the implementation and strengthening of the rule of law. Since 1998, over 3000 human rights defenders have been killed for defending the fundamental values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN.

In recognising the increasingly hostile environments globally, in which human rights defenders must work, the late Former Secretary-General to the United Nations, Kofi Annan, recently said:

“To stand up for human rights requires courage, perseverance, vigilance and a strong foundation of knowledge and evidence. We need to be vigilant in the protection of human rights defenders, for when the defenders’ rights are violated, all our rights are injured.”**

In the same vein and emphasising the critical role that human rights defenders play in promoting and fostering stable democracies and sustainable peace, Permanent Representative of Norway to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Ambassador Steffen Kongstad said:

“Threats and attacks against human rights defenders may hamper the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights, undermining social cohesion, and ultimately stability and development.”***

Despite this recognition and respect at the highest levels of the international community, human rights defenders are killed every day. human rights defenders who suffer disproportionately are those activists working at grassroots and community levels, in isolated regions and from marginalised populations, who lack networks and resources to command international attention. Human rights defenders can be community leaders, lawyers, journalists, environmental activists, victims of abuse, trade unionists and teachers.

It is for these urgent reasons that Peace Brigades International with the support of the UK All- Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group has nominated the global community of human rights defenders for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. It is the highest humanitarian achievement through which to recognise human rights defenders and celebrate their commitment to advocating for and building societies that are peaceful, safe, inclusive, tolerant, just and sustainable for all. The nomination is currently supported by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and some governments, diplomats and parliamentarians around the world.

We believe that awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the global community of human rights defenders will mark a milestone in legitimising the crucial work they undertake to protect humanity and bring the trends of persecution they suffer to the public eye.

Furthermore, this collective award would mark a world first. By nominating a community rather than individuals or organisations, we emphasise that the trends making the defence of human rights ever more risky and ever more admirable, are global. We seek to highlight that the community itself is integral to the defence of human rights and it is the idea of community that motivates people to take enormous risks defending the rights of others and advancing peace.


* Also known as the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups, and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by all states at the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

** Kofi Annan’s address to the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Oxford University in 2017.

*** Steffen Kongstad made this statement during an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst during the first week of the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council.



  1. ABColombia 
  2. ABCPAZ 
  3. Acceso a la Justicia 
  4. Access Now 
  5. Acuerdo de Mujeres 
  6. Adivasi-Koordination 
  7. Advocacy Forum (Nepal) 
  8. Albergue de Migrantes Hermanos en el Camino A.C. 
  9. Aliansi Demokrasi untuk Papua (AlDP) 
  10. Alianza Sierra Madre A.C. 
  11. Alliance des Avocats pour les Droits de L’Homme 
  12. All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group 
  13. Aluna Acompañamiento Psicosocial A.C. (México) 
  14. Amazon Watch 
  15. American Jewish World Service 
  16. Amigos 
  17. Amnesty International 
  18. Appleton Foundation 
  19. Artículo 19 
  20. ask! – ArbeitsgruppeSchweiz-Kolumbien 
  21. Asociación Calidad de Vida 
  22. Asociación Colectivo Violeta 
  23. Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos y Víctimas de Violaciones a los Derechos Humanos en México (AFADEM)
  24. Asociación Mujeres Palante 
  25. Asociación para una vida mejor (Apuvimeh) Honduras 
  26. Asociación Talita Cumi 
  27. Asociación Taller Abierto 
  29. Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE) 
  30. Association Tunisie Terre des Hommes 
  31. Ayuntamiento de Donostia/San Sebastián 
  32. Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales 
  33. Bindmans LLP Law Firm 
  34. Brot für alle CH 
  35. Brot für die Welt 
  36. Bulungan Pioneer Foundation 
  37. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre 
  38. CAFOD 
  39. Casa del Migrante de Saltillo 
  40. Caucasus Civil Initiatives (CCIC) 
  41. Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) 
  42. Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) 
  43. Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York 
  44. Centre for Human Rights and Development 
  45. Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montaña “Tlachinollan” 
  46. Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” 
  47. Centro Diocesano para los Derechos Humanos Fray Juan de Larios 
  48. Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental A.C. 
  49. Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social A.C. 
  50. CFD the Feminist Peace Organisation 
  51. Chairperson Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Organization Public Union
  52. Christian Aid Ireland 
  53. CIVICUS 
  54. Civil Rights Defenders 
  55. CMDPDH 
  56. Colectivo ANSUR 
  57. Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad A.C. 
  58. Colectivo de Abogados Dike 
  59. Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo 
  60. Colombia Libre 
  61. Colombian Caravana UK Lawyers Group 
  62. Comhlámh 
  63. Comisión de Solidaridad y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos A.C. 
  64. Comision Intereclecial de Justicia y Paz 
  65. Comision Nacional de los Derechos Humanos Cndh-Rd 
  66. Comité Cerezo México 
  67. Comité de Defensa Integral de Derechos Humanos Gobixha A.C. 
  68. Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos 
  69. Community Resource Centre 
  70. Comunidad Martín Carrera 
  71. Conciencia Ciudadana A.C. 
  72. Congreso de los Pueblos, Colombia 
  73. Consorcio para el Diálogo Parlamentario y la Equidad Oaxaca A.C. 
  75. CORE Coalition 
  76. Corporación Andares Ida y Vuelta 
  77. Corporación Espacios de Mujer 
  78. Corporación Foro Ciudadano 
  79. Corporación Kes Kiwe 
  80. Defend Defenders (East & Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) 
  81. Deighton Pierce Glynn (Law Firm) 
  82. Diakonia 
  83. Docip 
  84. Earth Rights International 
  85. Ecos de Colombia – Migración y Refugio 
  86. Educación para la paz, A.C. 
  87. ELAS – Fundo de Investimento Social 
  88. Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Center 
  89. ELSAM (Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy) 
  90. Environmental Network for Central America (ENCA) 
  91. Epikeia Observatorio Universitario de Derechos Humanos 
  92. European Bars Federation 
  93. Faculty of Advocates Human Rights and Rule of Law Committee 
  94. Familia Pasta de Conchos 
  95. Feminist Self-care Collective – Brazil 
  96. FIAN International 
  97. Finca minga La Constanza 
  98. Fondo Alquimia 
  99. Fondo Centroamericano de Mujeres 
  100. Fondo de Acción Urgente para América Latina y el Caribe 
  101. Fondo de Mujeres Bolivia Apthapi Jopueti 
  102. Fondo Lunaria Mujer – Colombia 
  103. Founders of the “Academics under Threat” Network 
  104. Frauen für den Frieden Schweiz 
  105. Friends of the Earth United States 
  106. Front Line Defenders 
  107. Fuerzas Unidas por Nuestros Desaparecidos en Coahuila
  108. Fuerzas Unidas por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México 
  109. Fund for Global Human Rights 
  110. Fundación Acceso 
  111. Fundacion Aguaclara 
  112. Fundación Moisés Bertoni 
  113. Fundación Pro Defensa del Derecho a la Educación y la Niñez 
  114. Funders’ Initiative for Civil Society 
  115. Global Fund For Human Rights Defenders, Freedom House
  116. Global Fund for Women 
  117. Global Greengrants Fund 
  118. Global Witness 
  119. Grupo belga ‘Solidair met Guatemala’ 
  120. Grupo de Pensamiento Afrodescendiente (GPA) 
  121. Grupo Ecuménico de Mujeres Constructoras de Paz 
  122. Grupo Sociedad Civil 
  123. Honduras Forum Switzerland 
  124. HRM Bir Duino 
  125. Humanistas por la Renta Básica Universal e Incondicional 
  127. Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales
  129. IDHEAS, Litigio Estratégico en Derechos Humanos AC 
  130. IFOR-MIR Switzerland 
  131. INAH Mexico 
  132. Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) 
  133. Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Defensores de Derechos Humanos 
  134. Iniciativas de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (ICID)
  135. Iniciativas para el Desarrollo de la Mujer Oaxaqueña 
  136. InspirAction 
  137. Instituto Mexicano de Derechos Humanos y Democracia A.C.
  138. Inter Pares (Canada) 
  139. International Accountability Project 
  140. International film festival and forum on Human Rights (FIFDH)
  141. International Labor Rights Forum 
  142. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 
  143. Irish Council for Civil Liberties 
  144. Iván Castro Chadid Profesor Titular Universidad Javeriana
  145. Jamaa Resource Initiatives 
  146. JASS – Just Associates 
  147. Karapatan 
  148. Kenoli Foundation 
  149. Kolectivo Antimilitarista de Medellín 
  150. Lambi Fund Of Haiti 
  151. Latin America Bureau 
  152. Latin America Working Group (LAWG) 
  153. Latino Life Media 
  154. Leigh Day 
  155. Lesbenorganisation Schweiz LOS 
  156. LGBT Centre (Mongolia) 
  157. Link-AR Borneo 
  158. LP3BH Manokwari, the Institute for Research, Investigation and the Development of Legal Aid 
  159. Lush 
  160. Mathare Social Justice Centre 
  161. Mesa de Derechos Humanos Oriente Ant. 
  162. MISEREOR 
  163. Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights 
  164. Movimiento Social Discapacidad Colombia MOSODIC 
  165. Narasha Community Development Group 
  166. National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (Kenya) 
  167. Novaokupa Red PIDHDD Argentina 
  168. Nürnberger Menschenrechtszentrume.V. 
  169. Observatoire d’Etudes et d’Appui à la Responsabilité Sociale et Environnementale (OEARSE ) 
  170. Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad de Los Andes
  171. Observatorio San Calixto 
  172. Odhikar 
  173. Oficina Ecuménica por la Paz y la Justicia / Ökumenisches Büro für Frieden und 
  174. OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture 
  175. OMI – Västerås Suecia 
  176. Organización de Colombianos Refugiados en Chile OCORCH 
  177. Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña, OFRANEH 
  178. Oxfam
  179. OyuTolgoi Watch 
  180. Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network 
  181. Peace Brigades International 
  182. Peace Watch Switzerland 
  183. Perifèries del Món 
  184. Plataforma Internacional contra la Impunidad 
  185. Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund 
  186. Project on Organizing, Development, Education and Research (PODER) 
  187. Promoción Educación y Defensa en DDHH, PROMEDEHUM 
  188. Protection International 
  189. Protection International Mesoamérica 
  190. Psychological Responsiveness NGO 
  191. Red de Género y Medio Ambiente 
  192. Red de Huertos Urbanos Comunitarios de Madrid 
  193. Red de Víctimas Colombianas por la Paz en Latinoamérica y el Caribe -REVICPAZ- 
  194. Red europea de Comités Oscar Romero 
  195. Red Popular de Derechos Humanos Bogotá REDHUS 
  196. Revicpaz-Lac 
  197. Rivers without Boundaries Coalition (Mongolia) 
  198. Santa Fe Humana 
  199. Servicio Internacional para la Paz (SIPAZ) 
  200. Servicios para una Educación Alternativa EDUCA Oaxaca A.C.
  201. Servicios y Asesoría para la Paz (Serapaz) 
  202. Simmons & Simmons 
  203. Sociedad Hominis Iura (SOHI) 
  204. Society for Threatened Peoples (Germany) 
  205. Sri Lanka Advocacy 
  206. SweFOR 
  207. Swiss Peace Council, Zurich 
  208. Swiss Working Group on Colombia/Arbeitsgruppe Schweiz Kolumbien
  209. Tamera – International Peace Research Center 
  210. Tania González Peñas, Parlamento Europeo 
  211. Tavistock Peace Action Group 
  212. Terre des Hommes France 
  213. The Alliance for Lawyers at Risk 
  214. The Bromley Trust 
  215. The Norwegian Human Rights Fund 
  216. The Priory Fund 
  217. The Washington Office on Latin America 
  218. Trócaire 
  219. UGT España – Director ISCOD 
  220. Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos Guatemala – UDEFEGUA
  221. Unión Vecinal para la Participación Ciudadana A.C 
  222. Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights 
  223. Vamos por los Derechos. Nariño
  224. Vicaría de Justicia y Paz, Diócesis de San Cristóbal de Las Casas
  225. West African Human Rights Defenders’ Network 
  226. Westpapua-Netzwerk 
  227. Yanet Fermín – Diputada Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela