Honorees | Freedom House


Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja                                        Maryam Al-Khawaja                                Zainab Al-Khawaja

Freedom Award

Abdulhadi, Maryam, and Zainab Al-Khawaja

Considered the father of the Bahrain human rights movement, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja is the co-founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. An activist for more than thirty years, Mr. Al-Khawaja has endured numerous physical assaults, arrests, arbitrary detentions, and unjust trials as a result of his work. He was arrested in 2011 following the pro-democracy uprisings, tried and convicted and sentenced to life in prison where he has been subjected to torture. Stating “freedom or death”, he began a hunger strike in February 2012 which lasted 110 days, ending only when he was force fed by authorities.

Maryam and Zainab have emulated their father by assuming his struggle for human rights and becoming influential activists in their own right. Targets of constant threats, harassments, and arrests themselves, they continue to boldly demand reform, condemn government oppression, and tirelessly advocate for their father and the countless others unjustly imprisoned and silenced in Bahrain.

Leadership Award

Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt)

Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1974, Senator Leahy has championed human rights and development as key pillars of U.S. foreign policy. As the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the State Department and Foreign Operations, he has supported foreign assistance programs that address injustice, aid innocent victims of war, bolster democratic institutions, and mitigate conflict. The historic Leahy Amendment obligates the U.S. to stop aid to units of foreign security forces that violate human rights. His recent support for freedom of expression and a democratic transition in Egypt stands as a tribute to the brave Egyptian activists who made the ultimate sacrifice and a reminder that they, and people everywhere who struggle for freedom, have allies in the U.S. Congress.

Corporate Leadership Award

Levi Strauss & Co.

Levi Strauss & Co. is a global leader in socially responsible business practices that emphasize the protection of the basic rights and dignity of its global employees. Its supplier code of conduct was introduced in 1991 and is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labor Organization core conventions. The code was the first in the global apparel industry to require manufacturing suppliers to abide by ethical standards with regard to worker rights, child and forced labor, discrimination, and freedom of association. Levi Strauss & Co.’s commitment to human rights extends to the cotton field. It was the first U.S. apparel company to ban the use of Uzbek cotton in its products, a result of that country’s use of forced child labor in its cotton harvest. Levi Strauss & Co.’s leadership and promotion of ethical policies has served as a model for the corporate community.

Read Levi’s statement on receiving the Corporate Leadership Award here.