The Human Rights award 2015 was granted to Mr Intigam Aliyev, an Azerbaijani human rights lawyer who has devoted his life to protecting the rights of individuals against the repressive system of the Azerbaijani government, and to Fengrui, a Chinese law firm which was particularly targeted by the attacks on human rights defenders which took place in July 2015.
About the Award
Every year since 2007, the CCBE has granted a Human Rights Award. The objective of the CCBE is to honour distinguished lawyers/lawyers’ organisations that have demonstrated outstanding commitment and sacrifice to uphold fundamental values. It is an effective and useful tool to raise awareness of the core values of the legal profession. The Award is officially delivered to the winner by the CCBE President at the Plenary Session.
CCBE Human Rights Awards 2023
The CCBE decided to grant the CCBE Human Rights Award 2023 to Chinese Lawyers Hang Tung Chow, Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi for their courage, determination and commitment to defending human rights and the rule of law in China.
The CCBE Human Rights Award 2023 Ceremony was held during the CCBE Plenary Session, on 24 November 2023 in Athens in the presence of the representatives of the Award winners, as they are still being detained. The opening of the ceremony by the CCBE President, Panagiotis Perakis and CCBE’s Human Rights Committee Chair, Stefan von Raumer, was followed by a speech from Linos-Alexander Sicilianos, former President of the European Court of Human Right. Moving speeches full of hope were then delivered by Sophie Luo, Ding Jiaxi's wife, and Patrick Poon, a friend of Hang Tung Chow, who received the Awards on behalf of the three Award winners.
Speech by Hang Tung Chow, presented by Patrick Poon
Speech on behalf of Chinese human rights lawyers Ding Jiaxi and Xu Zhiyong, presented by Sophie Luo
Previous CCBE Human Rights Awards
The CCBE Human Rights Award 2022 Ceremony was held during the CCBE Plenary Session, on 25 November 2022 in the presence of some of the recipients and their representatives. The CCBE President, James McGuill, opened the ceremony, followed by a keynote speech by Maria Arena, Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the European Parliament (DROI). CCBE’s Human Rights Committee Chair, Stefan von Raumer introduced the Award’s winners:
- Lawyer Nadia Volkova ;
- The Ukrainian National Bar Association (UNBA) represented by Lidiya Izovitova, President of the UNBA and Valentyn Gvozdiy, Vice-President of the UNBA ;
The CCBE decided to grant the CCBE Human Rights Award 2022 to both Ukrainian lawyer Nadia Volkova and the UNBA for their courage, determination and commitment to defending human rights and the rule of law in Ukraine. With this award, the CCBE wishes to highlight the important role that the legal profession plays for Ukrainian citizens in defending their fundamental rights. It will also demonstrate the need to preserve the integrity of the administration of justice and the rule of law, especially in times of war.
The CCBE President, James MacGuill had the opportunity to grant the Award in person to Nadia Volkova two weeks later in Brussels.
The virtual 2021 Award ceremony was held during the CCBE Plenary Session held on the International Human Rights Day on 10 December in the presence of some of the of the recipients and their representatives. It also counted with a video message from Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights who notably underlined the great service done by the CCBE in honouring lawyers all around the world who work in situation of heightened threat to defend the rule of law and human rights.
The CCBE Human Rights Award 2021 was granted to Belarusian lawyers Lilya Vlasova, Maksim Znak, Dmitry Laevski and Leanid Sudalenko for their courage, determination, and commitment to defending citizens’ fundamental rights and the rule of law in Belarus. With this award, the CCBE extends its support to all Belarusian lawyers who fight for the respect of the rule of law and the core values of the legal profession while risking their freedom and opportunity to practice.
In addition to this, an exceptional Human Rights Award was granted by the CCBE to the endangered lawyers in Afghanistan who have been at the forefront of the defence of fundamental rights of the Afghan population.
At its online Plenary Session on 27 November, the CCBE granted its CCBE Human Rights Award 2020 to Egyptians lawyers Haytham Mohammadein, Hoda Abdelmoniem, Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy, Mahienour El-Massry, Mohamed El-Baqer, Mohamed Ramadan and Zyad El-Eleimy for their courage, determination and commitment to defending human rights in Egypt.
In addition to its 2020 Human Rights Award, the CCBE exceptionally granted a posthumous Human Rights Award to Turkish lawyer Ebru Timtik who died following the hunger strike she started fighting for and defending the right to a fair trial in Turkey.
At its Plenary Session in Brussels on 29 November, the CCBE granted its 2019 Human Rights Award to Iranian lawyers Nasrin Sotoudeh, Abdolfattah Soltani, Mohammad Najafi and Amirsalar Davoudi for their courage, determination and commitment to defending human rights in Iran - where all forms of opposition, be it ideological or political, are not tolerated.
Given the situation of these four lawyers who are currently detained in Iran, three of them accepted that Ms. Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Peace Nobel Prize, receive the Award symbolically in their name.
On 2 December, the CCBE granted its 2016 Human Rights Award to four Turkish lawyers - Ayşe Bingöl Demir, Ayşe Acinikli, Ramazan Demir and posthumously to Tahir Elçi - who have been particularly active in the defence of human rights and the rule of law in Turkey.
The Human Rights award 2014 was granted to Ms Valdênia Aparecida Paulino Lanfranchi, honouring her life’s work in defence of the most vulnerable in the disenfranchised areas of São Paulo, Brazil.
- Speech by Valdênia Aparecida Paulino Lanfranch, on the occasion of the Human Rights Award 2014 - Brussels - 28.11.2014
- Press release
The Human Rights award 2013 was granted to the President and Bar Council members of the Istanbul Bar Association in recognition of their outstanding commitment, perseverance and courage in support of human rights in Turkey.
The Human Rights award 2012 was granted to Mr. Pavel Sapelko, in recognition of his unwavering involvement in campaigning for human rights in Belarus.
- Speech by Pavel Sapelko, on the occasion of the Human Rights Award 2012 - Strasbourg - 30.11.2012
- Press release
The Human Rights award 2011 was granted to Mr. Abderrazak Kilani, in his capacity as President of the Tunisian Bar Association, for his commitment and that of his Bar to human rights, in particular during the Jasmine Revolution (2010-2011).
The human rights award 2010, was granted to Mexican lawyers David Peña Rodríguez and Karla Micheel Salas Ramírez, members of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (ANAD). David Peña Rodríguez and Karla Micheel Salas Ramírez were the lawyers representing the families of the victims of the uninvestigated assassinations of women in the Campo Algodonero case, also known as Ciudad Juárez femicides.
- Recorded message of Heidi HAUTALA, Chair of the Human Rights sub-committee of the European Parliament, on the occasion of the CCBE Human Rights Award 2010
- Press release
The human rights award 2009, was granted posthumously to assassinated Russian lawyer Stanislav Markelov.
- Speech by the CCBE President, Anne Birgitte Gammeljord, on the occasion of the CCBE Human Rights Award 2009 - Brussels - 28.11.2009
- Press release
The human rights award 2008, was granted to Li Heping, a well-known Chinese lawyer, and to the group of Spanish lawyers who represented defendants and victims in the trial following the 11 March 2004 Madrid train bombings.
- Written statement from Li Heping read on his behalf at the CCBE Plenary Session on 29 November in Brussels
- Li Heping press file
- Spanish Lawyers Group press file
- Press release
More information about the award
Why create a CCBE Human Rights award for European Lawyers?
There are numerous human rights awards that exist at international level, but only a few honour lawyers in particular. Moreover, there is currently no human rights award especially designed to recognise the work of European lawyers.
Who can be granted the CCBE Human Rights award?
The CCBE award is granted to a lawyer or lawyers’ organisation that has brought honour to the legal profession by upholding the highest values of professional and personal conduct in the field of human rights. The field of human rights is interpreted in the broadest way (this allows, for example, the possibility to grant the award to a lawyer who is the victim of human rights violations). The award is, by preference, granted to a European lawyer/lawyers’ organisation. However, there are no geographical limits for the granting of the award.
Procedure for the nomination of candidates for the CCBE Human Rights award
- Candidates for the award shall be nominated only through the CCBE’s member or observer Bars and Law Societies.
- The CCBE Human Rights Committee shall be responsible for considering the submissions and for submitting a proposal regarding the winner to the Standing Committee.
- The Standing Committee shall be responsible for taking the decision to attribute the award to a candidate.
- Beginning of February: The call for nominations is circulated to the CCBE delegations
- End of April: Deadline for the CCBE delegations to submit candidacies
- Mai: The candidacies are considered by the Human Rights Committee
- September: The winner is selected by the Standing Committee on the basis of the Human Rights Committee proposals
- November: The prize is officially presented to the winner by the CCBE President at the Plenary Session