Generations linked in fight for human rights

On 11 April 2024, five international freedom fighters will receive a Four Freedoms Award for their commitment to securing freedom and defending human rights. The Four Freedoms medals are awarded each year to individuals and organisations committed to the four freedoms proclaimed by President Roosevelt in 1941. Associated with each laureate is a presenter that feels a bound with the laureate. This year’s presenters are Mark Rutte, Derk Sauer, Eduard Nazarski, Melati Wijsen and Jeangu Macrooy. All people, young and old alike, feel connected to the ideas of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, who stood at the cradle of the International Declaration of Human Rights.

M. Rutte

International Four Freedoms Award

Prime Minister Mark Rutte will present the International Four Freedoms Award (IFFA) to Save Ukraine, a charity dedicated to bringing abducted Ukrainian children back to Ukraine from Russia and occupied territories.

Mark Rutte: “Every day innocent people in Ukraine become victims of brutal war violence. Also children, the most vulnerable group. Since the start of this dreadful war, thousands of Ukrainian children have been abducted to Russia and Russian-occupied territories. The Ukrainian charity Save Ukraine is committed to bringing these children back home. To reunite them with their parents, family and loved ones. To heal what has been so severely wounded. Therefore I am very proud to present the International Four Freedoms Award 2024 to Save Ukraine.”

The prime minister already presented an IFFA to Sviatlana Tshikanouskaya, the Red Cross, Chancellor Angela Merkel and the United Nations.


Derk Sauer presents the Award for Freedom of Expression to research collective Bellingcat.

Journalist and publisher Derk Sauer worked for years in Russia, where he founded publishing house Independent Media. The international media company published several titles, including The Moscow Times. With this online newspaper Sauer contributes to press freedom in Russia. Sauer considers freedom of expression and press freedom as a great thing: after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sauer helped foreign journalists to continue their work from the Netherlands. Amsterdam is now home to a cluster of independent Russian media companies.


Eduard Nazarski presents the Award for Freedom of Religion to Zumretay Arkin, who fights for the rights of Uyghurs. In his working life, Eduard Nazarski was director of Amnesty International Netherlands and of the Dutch Council of refugees. After his retirement, he continued his struggle for a better world; he was for example chairman of the Supervisory Board of peace organisation PAX. Like Zumretay Arkin, Nazarski values the importance of human dignity and equality between people.


Melati Wijsen presents the Award for Freedom from Want to Sonîa Guajajara, Brazil’s Minister of Indigenous Peoples. Twenty-something Melati Riyanto Wijsen describes herself as a full-time changemaker. Like Guajajara, the young Indonesian has been pushing for a better climate for years. On the island of her birth, Bali, she and her sister campaigned alongside many local organizations to push for a ban on single use plastic bags. Since founding Bye Bye Plastics Bags, Melati has developed a passion for environmental education and policy change. Through her company YOUTHTOPIA, she shares what she has learned since the age of 12 in classrooms, boardrooms and on world stages. Her film ‘Bigger Than Us’ premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.


Jeangu Macrooy presents the award for Freedom from Fear to Grace Forrest, the Australian founder of Walk Free, an international human rights group focused on the eradication of modern slavery in all its forms.

Singer and songwriter Jeangu Macrooy feels deeply involved in the issue of slavery. His songs ‘Gold’ and ‘Birth Of A New Age’, with which he represented the Netherlands at the Eurovision song festival in 2021, dealt with this topic. In 2023, he gave a series of Freedom Lectures on the abolition of slavery 150 years ago, and the huge impact that the Dutch history of slave-trading still has today for many people of colour.

2024 Four Freedoms Awards ceremony

The presentation of the Four Freedoms Awards will take place on Thursday 11 April 2024 at the Abbey in Middelburg. The ceremony is open to invited guests only, but it is also possible to follow the ceremony live at

After the ceremony, the Four Freedoms Meet-up will take place, an initiative of the Roosevelt Foundation and Stichting Vrijheidscolleges. During this Meet-up, young people will discuss the four freedoms with the award winners. The Meetup will be followed up with the Four Freedoms in the Classroom School Tour. During this programme, young people will reflect on current themes such as human rights, the climate and the history of slavery.

About the Four Freedoms Awards

For over 40 years, the Four Freedoms Awards have been awarded to men, women and organisations whose efforts and achievements demonstrated a deep commitment to the ideals of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In 1941, President Roosevelt proclaimed in his historic Four Freedoms speech that everyone, everywhere in the world, is entitled to four basic human rights: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

His Majesty the King, Her Majesty Queen Máxima and Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix present at the the Four Freedoms Awards

14 March 2024

Four Freedoms Meet-up 2024

26 February 2024

Five laureates honoured at Four Freedoms Awards 2024

31 January 2024