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31 May 2024

Inspirational human rights defenders from five continents receive Front Line Defenders Award in Dublin

Laureates hail from Cyprus, Honduras, Mozambique, Pakistan and Palestine

Front Line Defenders announced the five winners of its top distinction, the 2024 Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, at a special ceremony in Dublin this morning.Laureates from each of the major global regions traveled to Ireland to accept the Award, including:

  • Africa: Gamito dos Santos Carlos of AJOPAZ, the Youth Association for Peace (Mozambique)
  • Americas: The Trans women collective Muñecas de Arcoíris (Honduras), represented by Jennifer Bexara Córdova
  • Asia and the Pacific: Sammi Deen Baloch of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (Balochistan, Pakistan)
  • Europe and Central Asia: Doros Polykarpou of KISA (Cyprus)
  • Middle East and North Africa: We Are Not Numbers (Gaza, Palestine), represented by Ahmed Alnaouq

“Given the immensity of the challenges we face and the adverse forces working against human rights in many parts of the world, it might seem tempting to lose hope that a better world is even possible,” said Alan Glasgow, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders.

“But these courageous human rights defenders have defied that temptation and inspire us to keep hope alive. They say ‘no’ to the perpetrators and ‘yes’ to optimism – they know a fairer, more equal, rights-respecting world is worth fighting for.

“It has been a privilege to meet and spend time with all of them in Dublin this week. We hope they will return to their home countries – Cyprus, Honduras, Mozambique, Pakistan and Palestine – in the knowledge that Front Line Defenders stands in solidarity with them in their respective struggles.”

The Annual Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk was established in 2005 to honour the work of HRDs who are courageously making outstanding contributions to the promotion and protection of the human rights of others, often at great personal risk to themselves.The Award focuses international attention on the work and struggles of HRDs, providing a greater national and international platform to speak about and advocate for the human rights issues they are defending. This year’s laureates were selected from among scores of candidates put forward in a secure, public nomination process carried out between November 2023 and January 2024.In addition to a cash prize and protection grant, the winners receive support from Front Line Defenders on digital and physical security, advocacy, visibility, well-being and more.

The laureates received the Award at a ceremony in Trinity College Dublin, which was attended by foreign diplomats and representatives of Irish government, civil society and media organisations among others. Irish parliamentary patrons for the Award included: Senator Róisín Garvey, Charlie Flanagan TD, Cormac Devlin TD, Ivana Bacik TD, and Sean Crowe TD.

The 2024 Front Line Defenders Award winners

AFRICA – Mozambique

Gamito dos Santos Carlos, a human rights defender from Nampula, northern Mozambique, is the executive director of AJOPAZ, the Youth Association for Peace. His human rights work centres around social, civil and political rights and accountability. Gamito has been advocating for the protection of human rights activists and engaging with young people to advocate for significant social change in his community, to foster justice and sustainable decision-making by authorities. He is also a member of the Friends of Amurane Association for a Better Mozambique -KÓXUKHURO, as well as an analyst and Provincial Coordinatorof the Mozambican Network of Human Rights Defenders (RMDDH). He has faced ongoing intimidation for his human rights work, including repeated raids on his home and the loss of his job, and in March 2023 he was kidnapped and tortured after he organised a demonstration.

AMERICAS - Honduras

Muñecas de Arcoíris (Rainbow Dolls) is a collective of trans women from the city of Tegucigalpa and Comayagüela in Honduras, founded in 2008. Muñecas works under the LGTBI+ Arcoíris Association of Honduras with the aim of creating a safe space for trans sex worker women. The members of Muñecas started as volunteers of the Arcoíris Association, where they became more aware of the situation that trans people were facing in Honduras. With the support of the Arcoíris Association, Muñecas members received training related to their rights as LGTBI+ people. They then started to document human rights violations specifically against trans women in 2006 and two years later, on 31 October 2008, the collective was formally created as a trans women organisation. Most of its members are sex workers, informal workers, stylists, and housekeepers,among others.


Sammi Deen Baloch is a Baloch woman human rights defender from Mashkai, Awaran District of Balochistan province,Pakistan. She is the General Secretary of the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP), a non-governmental organisation that represents and supports victims and relatives of enforced disappearances in Balochistan. In June 2009, at the age of 10, Sammi’s father, Dr Deen Mohammed Baloch, was forcibly disappeared in Khuzdar, Balochistan. She began persistently campaigning for the release of her father, which further led to her deeper, collective involvement in advocating against enforced disappearances in Balochistan by state forces.


Doros Polykarpou is a leading human rights defender and founding member of KISA (the Movement for Equality, Support, and Anti-Racism). He is an expert on migration, asylum, discrimination, racism, and trafficking in Cyprus. For over 27 years, he has dedicated himself to defending and advocating for the rights of people on the move and tackling discrimination and xenophobia in Cyprus, navigating the unique socio-political environment of the small island nation with strong conservative elements. This has exposed him and the organisation to a backlash, and earlier this year KISA’s office was targeted by a bomb attack.


We Are Not Numbers (WANN) is a youth-led Palestinian nonprofit project established in the Gaza Strip in 2014, with the aim of telling the everyday, human stories of thousands of Palestinians. Their vision is to spread Palestinian voices and narratives, based on respect for human rights through the work of peaceful, non-violent, youth led Palestinians. When co-founder Ahmed Alnaouq lost his 23-year-old brother, Ayman, during an Israeli military attack on Palestinians in the summer of 2014, he was devastated, and sunk into a depression from which he thought he would never escape. During this time, he met American journalist Pam Bailey, who encouraged him to celebrate his brother’s legacy by writing a story about him. Like many young people in Gaza, Ahmed was majoring in English literature to improve his language skills. Pam published the story on a Western news website, which was well-received beyond expectation. Ahmed and Pam realised that writing the story had brought some healing to him and that this could be done on a much bigger platform.