The Person of the Year for 2022 is the volunteers, activists, and organizations supporting the Ukrainian people.

On December 8, 2022, on the eve of International Human Rights Day on December 10, the fifteenth annual awards of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee "Person of the Year" for contributions to human rights and civil liberties were presented.

The ceremony brought together nearly one hundred people - activists and representatives of organizations and institutions who have worked over the past 12 months for human rights, nature preservation, and animal protection. For the first time in the history of the awards, close to one-third of all eligible nominations were related to the same theme. That theme - unsurprisingly - was Russia's war against Ukraine.

For another year, the awards jury bestowed the "Person of the Year" honor on the volunteers, activists, and organizations supporting the Ukrainian people.

"The year 2022 passed with a horrifying event: the war in Ukraine," said Krasimir Kanev, Chairman of the jury and of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, in his address. "Russia's aggression caused a refugee wave, and Bulgaria became a home for many Ukrainians. To our honor, they were greeted with sympathy and support from Bulgarians. This was manifested in a large number of volunteer initiatives that filled the enormous gap left by the state," Kanev added.

The runner-up award went to the

The runner-up award went to the "Mission Wings" Foundation and the "Voice in Bulgaria" Center for their contribution to the rights of the Iranian community in Bulgaria over the past year and their systemic efforts to improve the rights of asylum seekers in Bulgaria.

Eight special category awards were also presented.

The "Perseverance and Courage" special award was given to Sara Perin for her long-standing work on equal rights for people from the Roma community in Bulgaria.

The "Nomadic Classroom" initiative received the "Light in the Tunnel" special award for their efforts to instill equality, tolerance, and non-discrimination in children.

The "Inspiration" special award was presented to Lyubomila Krivosheeva and the "Wildlife" Foundation for their campaign to establish a hospital for wild animals.

The "You Count" initiative, which unites a platform for parallel vote counting in elections and encourages volunteers to participate as observers in the most risky sections, was honored with the "Civic Virtue" award. This year, the jury was inspired to present a special award called "Even a Warrior is a Warrior" to Tanya Hristova for her "Boxes of Goodness" campaign, which collects gifts for children living in poverty in the village of Gradez and her contribution to breaking stereotypes about the Roma community.

The Activists of the Year for 2022 are Vanya Dobreva and Antoaneta Ivanova, recognized for their systemic work in supporting vulnerable children and families and providing access to healthcare for Ukrainian refugees with chronic illnesses.

The Advocate of the Year award went to the "Breathe Dimitrovgrad" initiative for their fight for the right to breathe clean air.


The Journalistic award in the ceremony was presented to Georgi Totev and Georgi Kozhuharov for their series "Notes from Ukraine," published by "Dnevnik."

Publisher and activist Manol Peykov received a special commendation from the BHC team for his support of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people since the beginning of the war. He was a member of the jury, and his nomination was not subject to review.

You can see all the awardees and nominees with the reasons for their nominations here.

You can watch the entire ceremony here.