WOLA's Human Rights Awards Ceremony and Benefit Gala

WOLA's Human Rights Awards Ceremony and Benefit Gala

Every year, WOLA honors organizations or individuals who have worked tirelessly to promote human rights, democracy, and social justice in Latin America. Our awardees are organizations or individuals who exemplify a commitment to WOLA’s vision for the future, where human rights and social justice are the foundation for public policy. 

Human Rights Award 2012

On September 19, 2012, WOLA awarded its sixth annual Human Rights Awards as part of its Human Rights Awards Ceremony and Benefit Gala, which took place at the Maison Francais in Washington, DC. The evening, based around the theme "Overcoming Violence: The New Human Rights Agenda," celebrated the innovative work done by our honorees to address the growing rates of violence in their communities

The receipients for WOLA's 2012 Human Rights Awards were Helen Mack, the Salvadoran online newspaper El Faro, and PASSOS Education and Training Center. Helen Mack was honored for her work to professionalize the police and judicial system in Guatemala. The online newspaper El Faro was recognized for its investigative journalism that shines a spotlight on corruption and organized crime. In addition, PASSOS Education and Training Center received WOLA's award for its innovative community programs to stop crime before it starts by working with at-risk youth in El Salvador.

For more information about WOLA's Human Rights Awards Ceremony and Benefit Gala, please contact Kristina DeMain, Development Director, at kdemain@wola.org or 202-797-2171

Past Award Recipients


Gael García Bernal, Actor
- for fostering deeper understanding and visibility of migrant issues.
Ambulante Film Festival
- for using documentaries as a tool for change.
The Education Corporation for Costa Rican Development (CEDECO)
- for promoting a successful and climate-smart economic model for small-scale farmers in Central America.



AFRODES: Association of Internally Displaced Colombians
- for its defense and promotion of human rights in Colombia.
Michelle Bachelet, Former President of Chile
- for her sustained and invaluable leadership on human rights in Latin America.


Tlachinollan Human Rights Center of Mexico
- for their courageous work to address the grave human rights violations of the vulnerable and marginalized indigenous populations in the state of Guerrero.


Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, Organization of American States
- for revitalizing the OAS’ role as a forum for strengthening democracy, promoting human rights, and facing shared problems.
U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd
- for his leadership role on Latin American issues throughout his tenure in the Congress.


The University of Central America (UCA), El Salvador
- for its consistent and effective work to end human rights abuses and impunity over two decades.
U.S. Congressman James P. McGovern
- for for his defense of human rights in Colombia and his work to provide funding for economic and social needs over
military assistance.


Mercedes Doretti, Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team
- for its contribution to the search for truth, justice, and prevention of and reparation for human rights violations.
Fredy Peccerelli, Forensic Anthropology Team of Guatemala
- for their efforts to provide answers and solace to thousands of families of the disappeared in Guatemala.