Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people live free of violence, discrimination, and oppression.
Hassan al-Amin works to expose human rights abuse and promote democracy in Libya. For three decades, al-Amin has remained a strong advocate, fighting for justice, accountability, and the rule of law.
Al-Amin fled Libya for the UK in 1983 after Muammar Gaddafi’s security forces arrested and beat him. While teaching in London, he organized protests against Gaddafi and held vigils to remember victims of the regime. Working from his home, al-Amin founded the independent website Libya al-Mostakbal (The Future Libya). Over the next 28 years he became one of Libya’s most active dissidents in exile and a key partner of Human Rights Watch.
In 2011, as Libyans rose up against Gaddafi, al-Amin returned to his native city of Misrata, arriving by boat as the city was under siege. He worked with local groups documenting and publicizing human rights violations during the conflict.
After the fall of Gaddafi, al-Amin ran for parliament in Libya’s first democratic elections. He won a seat and headed the Committee on Human Rights and Civil Society. He conducted investigations into the mistreatment of prisoners, including torture, and bravely condemned abuses by anti-Gaddafi armed groups.
In March 2013, after credible death threats from these militias, al-Amin gave up his parliamentary seat and returned to London, where he has resumed running Libya al-Mostakbal.
Human Rights Watch honors Hassan al-Amin for his unyielding commitment to exposing abuses and protecting human rights in Libya, no matter who the victim.