2013peopleschoice_extendedDo you have a Human Rights Hero you want to tell the world about?  Well, then you’re in the right place.

Introducing the 2013 Human Rights People’s Choice Award Contest, where people just like you nominate and vote for their Human Rights Hero.

To take part, just log on to our Human Rights Awards website to nominate and vote for your Human Rights Hero/Heroine.

Share the story of a person or organization working for human rights, whether they’re building a movement to end the Mexico drug war, empowering women, promoting local farming — tell us who inspires YOU!

You can nominate as many individuals and organizations as you like, but of course you can only vote for each nominee once.  After you’ve nominated, make sure to spread the word to your networks to increase your honoree’s odds of winning.

The last day to nominate and vote is March 22, 2013.

UPDATE: The last day to nominate and vote has been extended to March 26, 2013.

Your nominations and votes help determine who will win the People’s Choice Award and take home $1,000 to support their work.

Past People’s Choice honorees include Bradley Manning, Mexican Poet/Activist Javier Sicilia and Cambodian human rights activist Mu Sochua.

Daniel Ellsberg accepting the 2012 People's Choice Award on behalf of Bradley Manning

Daniel Ellsberg accepting the 2012 People’s Choice Award on behalf of Bradley Manning

The power to choose this year’s People’s Choice Award winner is in your hands.  Help us celebrate everyday human rights heroes and heroines.


  • Nominate and Vote: What are you waiting for? It’s easy and free! Log on to www.humanrightsaward.org to get started.
  • Attend the Human Rights Awards: Join us at the Human Rights Awards Gala on May 9, 2013 in San Francisco. And don’t forget to participate in our exciting online auction.  Visit www.humanrightsaward.org for more details.
  • Follow along on Twitter: Use Twitter hashtag HRA13 to keep up to date on the 2013 People’s Choice Contest & Human Rights Awards.

Last week, we let you know about the June 2nd guilty verdict that the Cambodian Supreme Court struck on Global Exchange’s 2010 People’s Choice Honoree, Mu Sochua in the alleged defamation case against Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen.

Sochua sent us a note from Northern Cambodia where she is training women for the next commune elections and walking the campaign trail. She informed us of a petition that was just created asking President Obama to condemn the recent decision against her.

Sochua states that her case, “tells of the very unjust judiciary in Cambodia that is affecting millions of Cambodians.”

According to the petition:

The Cambodian Supreme Court’s ruling on June 2, 2010, exemplifies politically motivated targeting of opposition leaders by Prime Minister Hun Sen, lack of judicial accountability and fairness in the proceedings, and a denial of Cambodian citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and holding of their public officials accountable in the event of perceived breach of the law.

Join Sochua and hundreds of others to Stop the Suppression of Speech in Cambodia and sign the petition:


Two weeks ago, Global Exchange honored Mu Sochua at our Human Rights Awards gala with the People’s Choice Award. Unable to attend the event as she was facing trial and prosecution for simply asserting her right to free speech, her daughter Devi Leiper accepted the award on her behalf. Her court case took place last week in Cambodia where the Supreme Court charged her with a ‘guilty’ verdict in the year-long defamation case against Prime Minister, Hun Sen.

Mu Sochua sent the Global Exchange staff an update on her trial and asked us to share her story far and wide.

2nd June, Phnom Penh
Mu Sochua Charged “Guilty” by Supreme Court

Opposition Sam Rainsy Party Member of Parliament and human rights advocate Mu Sochua was summoned by the Supreme Court to appear this morning, Wednesday 2nd June, at 8am. This was to be for the third and final ruling on the year‐long defamation case which has brought her against Prime Minister, Hun Sen.

After a first case on land grabbing, Mu Sochua’s hearing began at 9am in front of a full audience of SRP members, local and international journalists, as well as human rights advocates and EU representatives and diplomats. When questioned by the judge, Mu Sochua maintained her argument to remain silent as she does not have a lawyer of her own choosing. Mu Sochua asked permission to read her statement which was granted by the Court.  Mu Sochua emphasized her position driven by the principles of fair trial, freedom of speech and gender justice.

Proceeding this first testimonial, the prosecutor presented his case. He contended that Mu Sochua’s statements were fabricated and that she was bringing unwarranted attention to Hun Sen.

Furthermore, he argued that this had not been done for the sake of Cambodian women, but as a premeditated effort to attack the Prime Minister’s authority and honour. Ultimately, the prosecutor illustrated Hun Sen as an unfortunate victim.

After an hour and a half of discussion, the court came back into session to read the verdict. The judges declared they could not accept Mu Sochua’s claims, and in the end upheld the verdict from the previous rulings. Mu Sochua is to pay the fine of $4100 or else will have to face a prison sentence.

Immediately following the court ruling, Mu Sochua spoke to the press. Alternating between Khmer and English, she expressed that her and every Cambodian’s right to freedom of speech and justice had been violated. She called for everyone to not be hindered by fear and to affirm their rights. With a resolute passion, she reaffirmed her refusal to never pay the fine and her readiness to go jail.

With a large and diverse group of followers behind her, Mu Sochua led a march from the Supreme Court to the Royal Palace and the SRP headquarters. White candles in hand, the SRP’s symbol, the protestors sang a well-­known Khmer song calling on Khmers to defend their nation with pride and courage.

The protest was carried out with no incident, although, the group faced anti-­riot police barriers and barricades along the way. Calmly yet defiantly, the group pressed on, moving past the police blockade.


Power and strength goes out to Mu Sochua as she continues to fight for human rights and justice. Please spread this story far and wide. For more on Mu, visit http://musochua.org/

Global Exchange staff showing off their evening looks

Global Exchange started the Human Rights Awards in 2001 to recognize and elevate the contributions of individuals and organizations who work tirelessly to advance the cause of peace, justice and the inalienable rights we call “human rights”—here in the United States and around the world.

This years’ honorees, Van Jones, Raúl del Águila from Peru, and our People’s Choice Honoree Mu Sochua exemplify and embody this spirit, and we’re proud to have honored them at the 2010 Human Rights Awards gala on Thursday, May 27th at Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco, CA.

It was an inspiring evening shared by incredible human rights advocates.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield speaking about Fair Trade while attendees enjoy Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream

We enjoyed the company of Ben and Jerry – who talked about their commitment to go 100% Fair Trade by 2013, while feasting on delicious Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for dessert.

All proceeds from the event go to support the important work of Global Exchange.  We are grateful to all of our sponsors and participants for their support.

If you weren’t able to make it this year, we hope you will join us in 2011.  Dates and details to come.

Check out some highlights from this years’ gala event! (click photo to enlarge)

Green Leaders Van Jones (2010 Human Rights Award Domestic Honoree) and Kevin Danaher (Global Exchange, Green Festivals) chat it up

Code Pink Alert!

Medea Benjamin, Pierre Labossiere and Van Jones smile for the camera

2010 Human Rights Award International Honoree Raúl del Águila accompanied by his wife

Guests dining it up!

Shannon Biggs (Global Exchange) with Jeff Furman (Ben & Jerry’s)

Nhu Miller with Devi Leiper, daughter of People’s Choice Award winner Mu Sochua

Global Stewards Saori and Mike Kappus with Medea Benjamin

Ben Cohen with Global Steward Jodie Evans of CODEPINK: Women for Peace

Global Exchangers and guest mingle

Fair Trade models sporting their “Ask Me About My Outfit” sashes

Gala attendees sharing a smile

Global Exchange’s Andrea Hightower with Domestic Honoree Van “I don’t take a bad picture” Jones

Global Exchange is pleased to announce the winner of our 2010 Human Rights Awards People’s Choice, Mu Sochua, as chosen by YOU, supporters of Global Exchange and human rights around the world.

Mu Sochua joins our other award recipients, Raúl del Águila, International Honoree, and Van Jones, Domestic Honoree.

Mu Sochua has been a tireless advocate for human rights and the rights of women in Cambodia. In fact, her dedication to her work has meant that she is currently facing trial and prosecution for simply asserting her right to free speech.

Please join us, and the global community of human rights supporters, in extending our sincere thanks to Mu Sochua for her courage and dedication to those in need in her native land.

Accepting the People’s Choice Award on Mu’s behalf at our gala celebration in San Francisco tonight will be Sochua’s daughter Devi Leiper, a resident of San Francisco.

If would like to learn more about Mu Sochua, Raúl del Águila, and Van Jones, please visit www.humanrightsaward.org.

Thank you all for nominating and voting for your human rights heroes during the 2010 Global Exchange Human Rights Awards!