Established in 2023, Global Anti-Racism Champions (GARC) Award honors individuals from civil society globally who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, leadership, and commitment to advancing the human rights of members of marginalized racial, ethnic, and Indigenous communities, including people of African descent, and combating systemic racism, discrimination, and xenophobia in their communities. The GARC awardees are outstanding civil society leaders, who were nominated by U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world.
The six awardees this year include:
- A Roma human rights activist from Moldova.
- A Black anti-discrimination activist from Tunisia.
- A Dalit social activist from Nepal.
- An Indigenous activist and tribal leader from Bangladesh.
- An Afro-Peruvian social activist from Peru.
- An Indigenous leader and lawyer from Brazil.
2023 Global Anti-Racism Champions
Kari Guajajara is a 28-year-old Indigenous leader from the Brazilian Amazon that serves as the legal advisor for Indigenous representative organizations. She is a trained lawyer specialized in promoting Indigenous Peoples’ rights, combating gender-based violence and protecting the environment. Kari is native from the Araribóia Indigenous land and belongs to the Guajajara-Tenetehára People, who have been suffering extensive losses of their traditional territories, devastating losses of life, and disruptions of tradition due to the contact with non-Indigenous.
Oswaldo Bilbao Lobatón
Oswaldo Bilbao Lobatón, an Afro-Peruvian activist, has spent more than four decades fighting for the recognition and rights for Afro-Peruvians, one of Peru’s least visible and most disadvantaged populations. He was part of the committee that organized the first meeting of Black communities in Peru in 1992, bringing together for the first time in its history more than 100 Afro-Peruvian representatives from around the country. Years later, he was part of the committee that organized meetings of communities in the north and south of Peru with the aim of promoting the national organization of Afro-Peruvians. In 1999, he was elected Executive Director of the Center for Ethnic Development – CEDET, an Afro-Peruvian technical organization that promotes social development and research projects in favor of Afro-Peruvian communities. He also trains youth to prepare them as future leaders. In 2015, CEDET was recognized with the Javier Perez de Cuellar Human Rights Award granted by the French Embassy. Oswaldo was a full member of the Inter-institutional Technical Committee on Ethnicity Statistics, and from that position he promoted the inclusion of the ethnic variable in the 2017 population census. In 2018, as the director of CEDET, he received the National Human Rights Award granted by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. Oswaldo has actively participated in multiple international conferences against racism and discrimination. He is currently a member of the International Coalition for the Defense, Conservation, Protection of Territories, Environment, Land Use, and Climate Change of Afro-descendant Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Victorina Luca, human rights lawyer and founder of the Roma Awareness Foundation, has been champion of racial equity in Moldova for more than fifteen years. She has lent her expertise to international organizations, including the United Nations, World Bank, and Council of Europe, as an expert in inclusion of marginalized people. Ms. Luca operates Radio Patrin Moldova, which broadcasts the proud language and culture of Moldovan Roma to audiences all over the world. She has studied at the Free University of Moldova, Sweden Lund University, and Central European University. She speaks Romani, Romanian, Russian, and English, and lives with her son in Chisinau.
Saadia Mosbah is a Tunisian activist who has dedicated her life to fighting racial discrimination and prejudice and defending the rights of Black Tunisians. After studying law, Saadia started her professional career as a flight attendant and then as a cabin chief with Tunisair during which she witnessed several instances of discrimination. In 2013, after multiple unsuccessful attempts to launch an association that fights racial discrimination during President Ben Ali’s rule, she finally established Mnemty, “My Dream,” an association that endeavors to raise awareness about the value of diversity and importance of equality, to denounce racism in public spaces, ensure legal protection for all, elevate the profile of the Black population in the cultural sphere, and promote socio-economic development in predominantly black communities. Saadia has worked tirelessly to combat racial discrimination in national and global fora, particularly as it relates to advocating for enabling legal and policy frameworks for the protection of Black Tunisians.
Sarswati Nepali is an acclaimed social activist and President of the Dalit Society Development Forum, and a lifelong human rights defender of the rights of marginalized castes, the disabled, and the poor. For over twenty years, Sarswati has demonstrated sustained leadership in advancing the human rights of members of the most marginalized ethnic communities in Nepal. Born into a Dalit – or so called “untouchable” caste – family in Nepal’s underdeveloped far-western region, Sarswati played a crucial role in Dalit social justice movements to acquire land rights, gain access to education, and obtain equal justice from the courts. Her efforts on land rights campaigns resulted in legal land titles for scores of Dalit families in Nepal’s rural western districts, and Sarswati has championed numerous caste-based discrimination prosecutions in pursuit of justice, including the first ever successful prosecution of caste-based discrimination in Nepal’s history in 2007. Sarswati’s efforts to advance the human rights of members of marginalized ethnic communities and combat systemic caste-based discrimination and intersectional abuses has led to equity, justice, and dignity for some of Nepal’s most disadvantaged populations. Sarswati’s decades of advocacy on behalf of those in the most need and her demonstrated success in attaining justice and providing a voice to the marginalized are a model of courage in the pursuit of dignity and human rights.
Rani Yan Yan
Rani Yan Yan is an indigenous human rights defender and women’s rights activist who has brought international attention to the plight of her community in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region of Bangladesh. As a leader from the Chakma Circle, Yan Yan actively advocates for vulnerable populations facing government-sponsored discrimination, land grabbing, violence and the adverse effects of climate change. As a direct result of Yan Yan’s activism, the international community has gained new awareness of the violence committed against indigenous peoples’ communities and minority groups in Bangladesh. Throughout her career, Yan Yan has advised domestic and international organizations on climate resiliency and gender equality, researched the political participation of indigenous women, and mentored youth activists on diversity and social inclusion. Yan Yan has emerged as a fearless voice and outspoken advocate for equal rights and justice, despite facing immense discrimination and even violence.