Lenin Raghuvanshi

It has been 65 years since India — the largest democracy in the world — attained independence. Yet, justice for all is still a far cry in the country where the caste system continues to determine political, social, and economic lives of a billion people. Money and muscle power, together with political string-pulling, often result in denial of justice for the hapless ‘have-nots’, especially the Dalits (untouchables), ravaged by poverty and illiteracy.

Mazen Darwish – Syria´s most fervent freedom of speech defender

37-year-old Mazen Darwish was one of the first human rights activists in Syria. He has been fighting for freedom of expression for more than 10 years, facing prison, harassment and the prohibition to travel outside Syria.

He helped establish the Committees for the Defence of Democratic Freedom and Human Rights (CDF). Later he founded the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), with the objective of defending journalists and human rights. Darwish is married and has two children.

Gamal Eid – Egypt’s leading human rights lawyer and promoter of free speech

47-year-old lawyer Gamal Eid is one of the most important human rights activists in Egypt and the Arab world. He has legally defended most of Egypt's human rights activists and is one of the most prominent publishers and speakers on human rights and freedom of expression.

He is the founder and Executive Director of the Arabic Network of Human Rights Information (ANHRI), a key player in the Egyptian and Arab human rights movement.

Radhia Nasraoui – Leading the fight against torture in Tunisia

58-year-old Radhia Nasraoui is one of the most prominent lawyers in Tunisia. She has been fighting for human rights, and against torture in particular, for more than 30 years.

In her roles as lawyer, human rights activist and co-founder and Director of the Association for the Fight against Torture in Tunisia (ALTT), she has been a key figure in the campaign for women's rights, an independent judiciary and against torture. Nasraoui is married to Hamma Hammami, general secretary of the Tunisian Workers' Party, and has three children.

Razan Zeitouneh – Risking her life to report on the revolution and its atrocities

34-year-old Razan Zeitouneh is a lawyer and human rights activist. She is the founder of the website “Syrian Human Rights Information Link” documenting human rights abuses in Syria. When the uprisings began in March Zeitouneh started to write on the arrests, torture, and killings of peaceful protestors committed by the security forces. Her accounts have been one of the key sources of the events taking place in Syria for the outside world. Under the threat of being arrested and killed she now lives in hiding.

Bahey el din Hassan – The founder of the Egyptian human rights movement

63-year-old Bahey el din Hassan is the co-founder and Director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS). He is one of Egypt's leading human rights activists and helped found the Egyptian human rights movement in the 1980s.

Hassan fought against the human rights abuses by the Mubarak regime for more than 20 years. He also lectures and writes on human rights and democratic transformation in the Arab region.

Tawakkol Karman – The face of the Yemeni revolution

A strong promoter of human rights and freedom of the press since 2005 in a country dominated by an oppressive and corrupt regime, Tawakkol Karman participated in organizing the protests in the early months of 2011 and became a leading voice during the uprisings. Karman is a liberal Islamist who has faced harassment and death threats, and made the sacrifice to separate from her family, including her three children, in order to fight for women's rights and press freedom. Karman was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Price.

Sihem Bensedrine – Tunisia’s advocate for press freedom

61-year-old Sihem Bensedrine is a journalist known as a tireless and courageous activist for freedom of the press and human rights in Tunisia. She is the co-founder and spokesperson of the National Council for Liberties in Tunisia (CNLT) and co-founder of the online magazine Kalima and Radio Kalima, reporting on human rights abuses in Tunisia.

In her 20-plus years fighting for human rights, she has faced harassment and torture, and had to leave the country several times to live in exile. But all the danger she has put herself and her family into has not stopped her from speaking out against the former regimes and fighting for the idea that every Tunisian should live in dignity.