John Mathenge Mukaburu
John is an LGBTQ+ human rights and sex worker rights defender from Kenya, who has been influential in promoting health and legal rights for marginalised communities both in Africa and globally since 2008.
He identifies as a sex worker and has faced stigma due to his HIV status. As a direct result of his work, John has been targeted, harassed, and received death threats, none of which have stopped him from continuing to do what he does.
John has held a number of positions, including as Kenyan National Coordinator for the Africa Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), where, for the first time, he brought the perspective of male sex workers. In addition to this, he served as UNAIDS Expert of Key Populations, and as Executive Director of Health Options for Young Men on HIV/AIDS/STIs (HOYMAS).
The award was accepted on his behalf by Ivi Oliviera from Frontline Defenders.
Rémy is a human rights defender and expert in international relations. As Executive Director of the Europe-wide non-profit Forbidden Colours, he exposed several anti-LGBTQ+ initiatives by the Russian Federation, Hungary, and other anti-democratic governments. In 2023, he led a campaign to convince EU member states, including Ireland, to join the court proceedings against Hungary’s anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda law.
A journalist and author from Turkey, Yıldız Tar has made an unparalleled contribution to the LGBTQ+ movement with their activism. Working with KaosGL, the largest LGBTQ+ organisation in Turkey, they have created visibility for the issues that the community is fighting while themselves being the target of hate speech and harassment. Activists like Yildiz Tar are crucial to the resistance fighting against the State’s bans on Pride and trying to promote equality in their country.