Human Rights Award
About the Award

The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award identifies and honors those who embody Robert F. Kennedy’s belief that the power of individual moral courage can overcome injustice. Each year, we invite the public to nominate outstanding champions of moral courage 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 strategic litigation, training and capacity-building, and advocacy before governments, international organizations, and other institutions. 

About the 2020 laureate

Alessandra Korap Munduruku, 36, is a human rights defender and leader of the Munduruku people of the Tapajós River Middle Course. Born in the village of Praia do Índio, in the municipality of Itaituba (Pará) in the Brazilian Amazon region, she taught early childhood education from 2014 to 2015 and was the coordinator of the Pariri Indigenous Association from 2017 to 2018. She is the head of the Munduruku warrior women of the Middle Tapajós and an advisor of the Pariri Association, and she accompanies chiefs and leaders in the defense of the territory of the Tapajós River and the Amazon. As a leader, Korap defends Indigenous rights, notably in the struggle for the demarcation of Indigenous lands and against major government projects that affect those lands and traditional territories in the Tapajós region. Korap has participated in several protests and political advocacy actions in Brasilia, such as the suspension of construction of a major hydroelectric plant. She also led the political actions that prevented the holding of a public hearing to discuss projects of forest concession in Indigenous and traditional territory that overlaps with the National Forests. Korap decided to attend law school in 2019 at the Federal University of Western Pará, part of the strategy of the Munduruku people to use the tools of the pariwat (whites) in the defense and autonomous management of their territory. Locally and nationally, Korap works to guarantee the rights of Indigenous populations, whether in the political spaces of the Munduruku people, in the advocacy of the Indigenous people of Brazil and other Indigenous traditional movements, at universities, or during events and hearings.