A Human rights defender is an individual or a group of people, that stand and defend the rights of others. They are remarkable and their work and efforts need to be recognized and appreciated for their hard work so as to encourage and motivate them to keep up.

The South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network organized a Human Rights Defenders Awards to recognize human rights defenders that stood out in the year 2022. Defenders that have shown outstanding efforts, achievement and/or leadership in the promotion of human rights, equality, nondiscrimination and diversity.


The awarding committee started a call for nominations on the 20th of August 2022 that ran up to October 14th 2022. After a thorough process of nominations, shortlisting and verification, the judges were able to select the winners who were then awarded on the 9th of December 2022 during the commemoration of the International Human Rights Defenders Day.

The first category was for the outstanding Human rights defender of the year and the nominees were;

  1. Ayuel David Machar

    Adv. Godfrey receiving his award on the left and on the right is Commissioner Beny Gideon
  2. Jackline Nassiwa Sunday
  3. Ter Manyang Gatwech
  4. Sarafina Desire
  5. Godfrey Victor Bula
  6. Bol Deng Bol

In this category, Advocate Godfrey Victor Bula emerged the overall winner.



In the second category was the Woman Human Rights Defender of the year and the nominees were as follows;

Jackline receiving her award
  1. Sarafina Desire
  2. Hawa Adams
  3. Jackline Nasiwa
  4. Liala Apayi


And the winner for this category was Jackline Nasiwa



In the third category was the Human Rights defender of the year for persons with disabilities’ rights

Zekia Ahmed Receiving her award

And the nominees were,

  1. Zekia M. Ahmed
  2. Abacha Ahmed

The award for this category was given to Zekia M. Ahmed.




In the fourth category was the Greater Equatoria Human Rights Defender of the Year– and the nominees were;

  1. Dawa Felix
  2. Hawa Adams

The winner in this category was Hawa Adams

In the fifth category was the Greater upper Nile Human Rights Defender of the year with the following nominees;

  1. Bol Deng Bol
  2. Ter Manyang Gatwech
  3. Ayuel David Machar

The winner was Bol Deng Bol.

There was a sixth category for Greater Bahr Ghazal region but there were no nominations that came on time. Therefore, this was left open and the nominations that came in late were to be reviewed by the judges and awarded at a later date as stated by John Ador the chairperson of the awards organizing committee, during the ceremony.


Mr Bidal James – coordinator, SSHRDN

“It is crucial for us to work closely with our government and the security sector to ensure that all human right violations are stopped and the rights of all citizens of this beloved country are recognized and not violated in any form or manner.” Said Bidal James, the coordinator of the SSHRDN in his remarks as he welcomed everyone to the award ceremony.



The Award ceremony brought together many stakeholders and partners of the network. Among them was the South Sudan Human Rights Commission;

Beny Gideon- Human Rights Commissioner

Commissioner Beny Gideon who called for the South Sudan government togive more resources to the judiciary to enable its independence. He also Congratulated the HRDs that were awarded while calling for the government to pay close attention to HRDs and persons with Disability issues. The commissioner while extending invitation to the HRDs to continuously attend global human rights forums, stated that the commission will touch base with the HRDs and continue to collaborate with them in those different forums like the upcoming 74th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights in March 2023


Mr. Kamau giving his remarks during the ceremony

With support from the Defend Defenders Network, Mr Kamau who is the chair of East and Horn of Africa Human rights Defenders Network and the Executive Director of Defenders Coalition Kenya, joined the SSHRDN during the ceremony. In his remarks, Mr kamau congratulated the SSHRDN for a successful SSHRD Awards which honored the outstanding wok of HRDs to defend rights despite serious risks and challenges. The chair further recalled that civil strife and conflict in South Sudan has affected the respect of rule of law and human rights but HRDs have remained steadfast in their commitment to demand for the rule of law, respect for human rights and enabling space for civic engagements.


The European Union Head of Cooperation representative, Mr. Grabiel Leonte in his remarks called for HRD day not to only be recognized in a day but encouraged them to keep upholding human rights every day of the year. He went on and encouraged the HRDs to Keep faith of humanity even through

. Gabriel Leonte – Representative of the EU Cooperation in South Sudan

challenging times because they give hope to others. and called the government to stop violence and ensure safe access to all humanitarian and development partners who help those in need and seize the violence and act with full respect to the humanitarian law.

“ promoting and defending of human rights is a job for everybody not only the civil society and HRDs”. Said Gabriel Leonte as he continued in his remarks.  He raised his concerns on the Shrinking of the civic space and urged the government to open up this space so that HRDs can participate in the development of the country.


The Dutch representative was also at the ceremony and in her remarks called for opening up of civic spaces for meaningful dialogue. She acknowledged HRDs working in difficult spaces like Malakal and stated that they could not move forward unless peace is formed and made a responsibility of everyone to maintain it.

Rosella Mikaya Gama

She then congratulated all human Right Defenders and promised the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands commitment to work with HRDs not only at the national level but at the state level in order to make a lasting peaceful coexistence.





The south Sudan Head of mission at Nonviolent Peaceforce , Ms. Rosemary Kabaki noted “ it is important to recognize the work done by HRDs to protect human dignity and rights with all associated risks and threats. As NP, we support non-violent approaches to resolve conflict. “ as she was giving her remarks.

She continued to state that they aim to work with communities to increase the number of HRDs at grassroot levels in South Sudan. She then commended the SSHRDN for recognizing and having a category of awards given to HRDs for PWD.





The South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Awards is an event that the network hopes to have every year and Mr. John Ador, a Protection officer at the SSHRDN Stated that next year (2023) awards would start at an early date and shared on all media platforms to allow nominations come in early.

Mr. John Ador


More pictures of the Award Ceremony




Hon. Fidensia Charles, Representative for Awards Panel of Judges 2022



Mr Bidal , receiving the award on behalf of Bol Deng


Adeng – receiving the award on behalf of Hawa Adams.





Sign up for our Newsletter today

This ebook will change everything you ever thought about relationships and attachment. Find the secret to connecting better and faster