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Badr Baabou

HRD, Founder & Director
Global Laureate & MENA Regional Winner, Front Line Defenders Award

Badr Baabou Acceptance Speech, 2019 Front Line Defenders Award

This award transcends this humble being standing in front of you; it is for those who have been always excluded by the central authority to be thrown in the void and pushed into the margin only for being different, for being born with different sexual orientations and with distinguished gender identities.

As a social activist, I’ve always believed in human rights and in the essential need for everybody to enjoy an equal and just life.

Badr Baabou is a Tunisian human rights defender from the city of Gabes in the southern Tunisia. He is the co-founder and honorary chairperson of the organisation Damj, the Tunisian Association for Justice and Equality, based in Tunis. He is also the co-founder and former co-chair of the M-Coalition, a regional HIV/AIDS advocacy network devoted to the needs of LGBTIQ++ community in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. He was part of the Global Platform to Fast-Track HIV Responses, a special advisory body convened by UNAIDS to address HIV/AIDS among gay men.

Since 2002, he has dedicated himself to working for the LGBTIQ++ community in Tunisia. As a direct result of his human rights work, Badr Baabou has been the target of physical and online threats and attacks. Despite the risks, Badr Baabou is determined to continue his work to achieve justice and equality for the LGBTIQ++ community both in Tunisia and across the MENA region.In recognition of his work and struggle for LGBTIQ++ rights, Badr Baabou was awarded the 2019 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders At Risk.


In Tunisia, homosexuality is officially punishable by imprisonment, but since the revolution in 2011, civil society has gained a foothold, and there is more space for groups calling for the rights of the LGBT+ community to operate. However, as LGBT+ people in Tunisia are becoming more visible, homophobic attacks have also increased, and there have been public calls to violence against community members.


2019 Front Line Defenders Global Laurate - Badr Baabou, Tunisia