Graciela Pérez Rodriguez to receive 2017 Human Rights Tulip

The Human Rights Tulip is an annual award for individuals or organisations that promote human rights worldwide in innovative ways.

Graciela Pérez Rodriguez to receive 2017 Human Rights Tulip

The 2017 Human Rights Tulip has been awarded to Mexican human rights defender Graciela Pérez Rodriguez. Foreign minister Halbe Zijlstra will present her with the prize on Friday 8 December in The Hague, two days ahead of Human Rights Day. The Human Rights Tulip is an annual prize awarded by the Dutch government to human rights defenders who take an innovative approach to promoting human rights. The prize consists of a bronze sculpture and €100,000, which is intended to enable recipients to further develop their work.


Graciela Pérez Rodriguez defends the rights of family members of disappeared persons in Mexico. Through her work she attempts to break through the taboos surrounding this issue. The human rights defender is herself searching for her disappeared daughter, brother and three nephews. Graciela Pérez Rodriguez, a non-professional who has immersed herself in forensic science, is a founding member of the Forensic Citizen Science project. This national collective of disappeared persons’ family members in various Mexican states helped establish the Mexican National Citizen Registry of Disappeared Persons and a DNA database run by and for citizens, which facilitates the identification of victims’ remains at a late stage.

‘Despite the difficult circumstances in which she works, Graciela remains committed to searching for disappeared persons in Mexico,’ Mr Zijlstra said. ‘Human rights defenders like Graciela are indispensable in the fight for a better world. It takes pressure from the inside to achieve real change.’ Disappearances are a serious problem in Mexico. Between January and August this year over 2,400 people were reported missing. In mid-October the Mexican Congress passed a new law to combat disappearances, which provides for longer prison sentences and a committee tasked with finding disappeared persons. The Dutch government sees this law as an important step forward in dealing with this problem.

The bronze tulip-shaped award.

The final 3 candidates for the Human Rights Tulip 2017

The final 3 candidates for the Human Rights Tulip 2017 have been selected. The final winner will be elected by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The three public favorites after voting are: Mirza Shahzad Akbar from Pakistan, Wang Quanzhang from China and Graciela Pérez Rodriguez from Mexico. More than 22.000 votes were cast.

The winner will be awarded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, on 8 December, around International Human Rights Day.

The winner of the Human Rights Tulip will be awarded the tulip-shaped bronze statuette. Furthermore, the winner will receive extensive training and support worth €25,000,-. On top of this, a prize of €75.000 will be given to the winner to further develop or expand the scale of the human rights defender's work for human rights. In this way the prize benefits more people in more places.

Voting opens today for 2017 Human Rights Tulip

Starting today, everyone can cast a vote for one of the nominees for the 2017 Human Rights Tulip, an annual prize awarded by the Dutch government to courageous individuals or organisations around the world that seek to promote human rights in an innovative way. This year’s nominees are dedicating their energies to causes ranging from the right to good and sustainable management of natural resources in Niger to legal assistance for women who have been victims of abuse or violence in Egypt.

The prize is meant to support human rights defenders and organisations, boost the visibility of their work and inspire others. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs works with Justice and Peace to select the nominees and support the eventual winner. The prize includes a monetary award of €100,000, to help the winner broaden the scope of his or her work and benefit a greater number of people in as many places as possible.

‘The space in which courageous civil society groups can operate is shrinking all the time,’ said foreign minister Bert Koenders. ‘Human rights defenders are sometimes afraid to speak out, due to fear of retaliation. NGOs are struggling in the face of strict legislation. I call on everyone to vote, in order to show that human rights defenders matter.’

This year’s 10 nominees are: Gisha (Israel/the Palestinian Territories), the Cordelia Foundation (Hungary), Azza Soliman (Egypt), Ali Idrissa (Niger), Dina Meza (Honduras), Angélica Choc (Guatemala), Wang Quanzhang (China), Shahzad Akbar (Pakistan), Lottie Cunningham (Nicaragua) and Graciela Pérez Rodriguez (Mexico). The foreign minister will select a winner from the public’s top three candidates. The Human Rights Tulip will be presented around 10 December, Human Rights Day.

Last year the Tulip went to Pakistani internet activist Nighat Dad, whose foundation helps female internet users by offering training sessions on digital security and a cyber harassment helpline.

Online voting will open at 12.00 on Monday 28 August and close at 23.59 on Wednesday 6 September.

Nominations for 2017 Human Rights Tulip now open

Nominations for the 2017 Human Rights Tulip open today. Until 24 April, anyone can nominate a candidate. Nominations can be made by filling in the nomination form.    

The Human Rights Tulip is the Dutch government’s human rights award. The Minister of Foreign Affairs will present the prize and the bronze tulip-shaped statue to the winner around December 10, International Human Rights Day. ‘At a time when human rights are under pressure, support for human rights defenders is more important than ever,’ said minister Koenders. ‘Human rights defenders are struggling to improve human rights every day. They are heroes.’

The Human Rights Tulip is awarded annually to courageous organisations or individuals that promote human rights in innovative ways. The aim is to put their valuable work in the public spotlight. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs works with Justice and Peace to select and support the winner.

The prize money is €100,000, of which €25,000 is dedicated to training and €75,000 to improving and expanding the work of the winner. The prize money enables the winner to further develop or expand the scale of their human rights work, benefiting more people, in as many places as possible.

The 2016 Human Rights Tulip has been awarded to the Pakistani internet activist Nighat Dad. Ms Dad is a staunch defender of digital rights and the importance of protecting women and girls and marginalised groups on social media.

The Human Rights Tulip in the sand