HRDs being interviewed by journalists


Human Rights Defenders Poetry Reading & Book Launch

18 May 2022

15 June 2022

14:00-15:30 CET

Zoom Webinar

The Human Rights Defenders Poetry Challenge was launched in September 2021 as a way to celebrate the work of defenders when times were particularly tough, especially for artists, due to the lasting effects of the global pandemic. This challenge was meant to bring together artists and activists from around the world, and we worked hard to best ensure that human rights defenders (HRDs) could express themselves in their native languages and voices—accepting poems in Swahili, Portuguese, Thai, English, French and Spanish. During the Human Rights Defenders Poetry Reading, we will celebrate the winners of the challenge by showcasing their work to the international community and opening up a space for discussions surrounding the importance of protecting artists and activists in order to keep critical conversations alive and social movements moving.

The 30 finalists (five in each language) have already been announced, and during the virtual Human Rights Defenders Poetry Reading we will announce the top three overall winners. Join us to hear our three winners read their poems aloud, as well as hear poems from a few special guests, and join the conversation about the importance of art as a means of reflection, expression and motivating action for the protection of human rights defenders and the right to defend human rights.

This event is being organized by Protection International,, and the Human Rights Defender Hub of the University of York.

Interpretation will be provided in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Thai.

Click here to register for free to the Human Rights Defenders Poetry Reading.


  • Introduction to the organisers & the HRDs Poetry Challenge
  • Launch of the Poetry Booklet
  • Announcement of the top three winners
  • Poetry reading featuring:
    • The top three winners
    • Rosa Chavez, a poet, artist, and
    educator of Maya K’iche’ Kaqchiquel origin from Guatemala and member of the Associated for Justice JASS Guatemala Henry Raby, a spoken word punk poet and co-host of the Vandal Factory podcast on East Leeds FM in the United Kingdom,
    • highlights the magic moments where art and activism meet
    • Ben Kamuntu, a poet, singer, and activist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who is part of the La Lucha movement
  • Panel discussion on the protection of activists and artists and the right to defend human rights