In 2018, Civil Rights Defenders awarded human rights defender Murat Çelikkan with the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award. “Since 2013, Civil Rights Defenders annually awards a prominent human rights defender who, despite the risk to his or her own safety, strives to ensure that people’s civil and political rights are recognised and protected. Their work is carried out without the use of violence and within an independent human rights organisation”.
Murat Çelikkan is a human rights defender and journalist who was one of the founders of several prominent human rights organisations in Turkey, including Human Rights Association, Amnesty International Turkey, and Citizens Assembly. Murat Çelikkan is currently the Co-Director of Hafıza Merkezi (Truth Justice Memory Center), an organisation that strives to bring to light impunity, past violations of human rights - especially cases of harassment against Kurds and Armenians - and support victims in obtaining justice. He also focuses on human rights education, the prevention of torture and the protection and promotion of the rights to freedom of assembly, expression, and the media, as well as refugee rights and peace building in relation to the Kurdish conflict in Turkey. He is a recent alumnus of the Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability Program.