HRDs being interviewed by journalists


Human Rights Defenders Poetry Challenge Finalists

5 April 2022

Congratulations to all of the finalists!

We received a total of 438 poems coming from artists and activists representing over 58 countries around the world–from Cameroon to Cuba, from Ecuador to Eswatini, and from Peru to the Philippines. We applaud all of the brilliant work by all those who have submitted to our poetry challenge, especially the poems submitted by young artists–there were 21 submissions from artists under 18 years old. All of the artists listed below will have their poems professionally translated, and both the original and English versions will be compiled into a digital poetry booklet. This booklet will be launched at the Human Rights Defenders virtual poetry reading, which will be hosted on Wednesday, June 15th.

Click here to register for the Virtual Poetry Reading.

At the virtual poetry reading, we will announce the top 3 overall winners. These three winners will be asked to read their poems for our live audience. Only the top 3 winners will receive the prize package, including free access to Protection International’s e-learning security training course, a cash reward, trophies, etc. Those who are listed below are now entering into a final round of review to determine the top three poems across all languages. This means that there will only be three winners total, not three per language.*

Congratulations, again, to all of the finalists! We will contact you shortly with more information including details about the poetry reading (which is 100% virtual, via Zoom), which we hope you all can attend.

Top 5 English poems:

  • “Awake” by Yewande Akinse (Nigeria)
  • “Justice Today” by Wietske Merison (Netherlands)
  • “Fearless Fish Out of Water” by Asiem Sanyal (India)
  • “Changing the world with a smile” by Salome Nduta (Kenya)
  • “No Dust Will Settle in EDSA” by Naro Alonzo (Philippines)

Top 5 Spanish poems:

  • “Trecientas sesenta palabras por la vida” by Héctor Efrén Flores Asiego (Honduras)
  • “Tengo el derecho a estar aquí” by Marisa López Diz (Spain)
  • “28 de abril” by Diana Cristina Galeano Casadiego (Colombia)
  • “Canción” by María Antonia Jiménez Estrada (Mexico)
  • “A quienes les temen los molinos” by María del Campo (Uruguay)

Top 5 Thai poems:

  • “คนบ้าที่กล้าฝัน” by ทรงพล สนธิรักษ์ (Thailand)
  • “โปรดจำไว้.. เราต่างอยู่ข้างเธอ” by ดานุชัช บุญอรัญ (Thailand)
  • “ความเป็นมนุษย์” by หทัยรัตน์ จตุรวัฒนา (Thailand)
  • “Fix” by ปรัชญา พงษ์พานิช (Thailand)
  • “แด่เซียน้อย” by Jakraphong​ Soungchompan​ (Thailand)

Top 5 French poems:

  • “Je n’ai plus le droit d’être un homme (dans l’hiver allemand de 1943)” by Gabrielle Favre (France)
  • “Nul ne doit” by Emmanuel Brasseur (Canada)
  • “Le pantalon à plis” by Emilie Bruguière (France)
  • “ÉPISTOLAIRE DE L’HUMAINE HUMANITÉ À L’HOMME” by Ruth Rose Evemb’a Ndito (Cameroon)
  • “Tambour des silences” by Epiphanie Dionrang (Chad)

Top 5 Portuguese poems:

  • “Balas para Quatro Meninas” by Maria de Fátima Ribeiro Soares (Brazil)
  • “Poesia (?) pelos/dos Direitos Humanos no Brasil” by Tamires Fernanda Baptista Frasson (Brazil)
  • “Ninguém é de aço, é normal o cansaço” by Samuel Lourenço Filho (Brazil)
  • “Oração” by Maria Ribeiro (Brazil)
  • “Prece” by Rafael Zãn (Brazil)

Top 5 Swahili poems:

  • “HAKI NI MKANDA” by Ayub Linford Nyanchongi (Kenya)
  • “UKWELI KAMILI” by Martin Mwangi (Kenya)
  • “MIMI NI NANI ?” by Matthew Na Chindo (Zambia)
  • “ZIJUE UJITETEE” by Suphiani Athumani (Tanzania)
  • “UTETEZI SIO KAZI, UTETEZI NI HALI” by Young Okolla (Kenya)

* The top three will be selected by a small committee comprising the Poetry Challenge organizing team with considerations from the expert judges. The expert judges who have helped us select the finalists are: Henry Raby (English poem judge), Rosa Chávez (Spanish poem judge), Thalie Envolée (French poem judge), Maria Amalia Souza (Portuguese poem judge), Ida Aroonwong (Thai poem judge) and Guillaume Bisimwa (Swahili poem judge).