Human Rights Award

The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award identifies and honors those who embody Robert F. Kennedy’s belief that the power of individual and collective moral courage can overcome injustice. Each year, we honor outstanding champions of social justice who stand up to oppression, even at great personal risk, in the nonviolent pursuit of human rights.

Over the past 37 years, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award has recognized 56 outstanding activists and organizations from 30 countries. Honorees receive a cash prize of $30,000, but what sets this awards program apart is that they also receive ongoing support for their important work from RFK Human Rights—through campaigns and mobilization, strategic litigation, training and capacity-building, and other forms of critical support for their work and movements.

In 2020, the award honored Indigenous human rights defender and Munduruku leader Alessandra Korap Munduruku of Brazil for her work as a fierce defender of Indigenous, women's, and environmental rights. A virtual award presentation and expert panel discussion held in October of 2020 explored the challenges that the Munduruku people, and the Indigenous population in Brazil at large, are up against: exploitation, degradation and invasion of their lands and territories, ensuring their right to be properly consulted regarding projects that affect their rights, and the threats to Indigenous leaders and activists for their work—all amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that represents a particularly serious risk to them.

Highlights from the 2020 ceremony

John Kerry delivers keynote address at the 2020 Human Rights Award
Kerry Kennedy's remarks and introduction of Alessandra Korap Munduruku
Indigenous activist Alessandra Korap Munduruku accepts the 2020 Human Rights Award