IBA Human Rights Award

IBA Human Rights Award

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Each year the IBA presents an award to an outstanding lawyer in the world of human rights law.

Application details

Each year, the IBA presents an award to an outstanding lawyer in the world of human rights law.

Established in 1947, the International Bar Association (IBA) is the world’s leading organisation of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. The IBA influences the development of international law and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world. It has a membership of over more than 80,000 individual lawyers and 195 bar associations and law societies spanning all continents. Grouped into two divisions – the Legal Practice Division (LPD) and the Public and Professional Interest Division (PPID) – the IBA covers all practice areas and professional interests, providing members with access to leading experts and up-to-date information.

The IBA has always been dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights and the independence of the legal profession under a just rule of law. The International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) was established in 1995 under the honorary presidency of Nelson Mandela. The IBAHRI is an independent entity within the Public and Professional Interest Division (PPID) of the IBA. The Section on Public and Professional Interest (SPPI) sits within the PPID and within that entity, there is also a Human Rights Committee.

The award will be made to a legal practitioner (whether in private practice, public interest, employment as a legal adviser, academia, bar leadership or other regulation of the profession) who, through personal endeavour in the course of such practice, is deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion, protection and advancement of the human rights of all, or any group of, people, particularly with respect to their right to live in a fair and just society under the rule of law.

LexisNexis is honoured to sponsor the IBA Human Rights Award and hopes the winner will accept the Award in person during the IBA’s Annual Conference. LexisNexis sponsorship provides a contribution of $5,000 USD to their attendance.

Download the application form


Previous Winners

Galina Arapova, Russia
Presented with the award for her unstinting effort to protect the right to freedom of expression and information in her home country of Russia.

Adilur Rahman Khan, Bangladesh
Presented with the Award for his tireless dedication to championing human rights in Bangladesh, campaigning against torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and violence against women and minority communities.

Abukar Hassan Ahmed, Somalia
Presented with the Award for his dedication to the fight for human rights and the rule of law in Somalia, speaking out against the brutal Siad Barre regime and defending people arrested for their political beliefs.

Abdolfattah Soltani, Iran
Presented with the Award for his courage and commitment to the rule of law and human rights in Iran, enduring long-term prison sentences, harassment, and intimidation for providing pro-bono legal counsel to those in need.

Ivan Velasquez Gomez, Colombia
Presented with the Award for his commitment to human rights and justice and his courage working on parliamentary transparency and organised crime.

Clive Stafford Smith, United Kingdom
Presented with the Award for his commitment to bringing legal rights to the most vulnerable and to those who cannot afford representation. In addition, for his work defending individuals on death row, ensuring due process and justice for those wrongly convicted.

George Bizos, South Africa
Presented with the Award for his outstanding contribution to human rights law in South Africa. Nelson Mandela, one of the many who nominated Mr Bizos said, ‘I know of no person more worthy for this honour’.