Since 1984 the PL-Foundation has supported people and organizations fighting for basic human rights.

About Poul Lauritzen
Danish businessman Poul Lauritzen founded the PL-Foundation in 1984. Retiring after 34 successful years in the fashion industry he donate part of his fortune to support the struggle for human rights around the world.

Poul Lauritzen had seen his share of oppression and brutality during the Second World War. He fought the Nazi occupation forces in Denmark as part of the resistance movement. But after several successful raids he lost his arm in a shootout, silencing his dreams of becoming a RAF pilot.

After the war he travelled to the United States and got a job in the fashion industry. A few years later he returned to Denmark and opened his first store. The business grew quickly into a success with multiple branches around Denmark.

The PL-Foundation Freedom Award

  • 2019 – Can Dündar, Turkey
    Journalist and editor Can Dündar is awarded The PL-Foundation’s Human Rights Prize 2019 (14.000 Euro) to honour his efforts to insist on the media’s right to expose any story – whether the government approves or not. Free and uncensured media is regarded as one of the cornerstones in any democracy. However, Can Dündar’s legitimate work as Editor-in-chief of the newspaper Cumhuriyet has had severe consequences for him and his family.

    He now lives in exile in Germany and his story reminds us all that in a democracy the free press must be allowed to hold people in power accountable – without fearing reprisals from the authorities.

  • 2017 – Denis Mukwege, DR Congo
    Doctor Denis Mukwege is rewarded 100,000 Danish Kroner for his tireless and inspiring work to care for more than 50,000 survivors of sexual violence in DR Congo. In 2017 the Organization Doctors Without Borders also received an award of 50,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 2016 – Breaking the Silence, Israel
    Awarded 16,000 USD for giving a voice to Israeli soldiers and adding much needed nuances to the debate about the occupied territories.
  • 2015 – Ragip Zarakolu, Turkey
    Awarded 100,000 Danish kroner for his life long work as a publisher and human rights advocate in Turkey.
  • 2014 – Navanethem Navi Pillay, South Africa
    Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and member of the Rwanda Tribunal. Awarded the PL Foundation’s freedom award for her substantial contribution to human rights world wide.
  • 2013 – European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), Hungary
    The ERRC monitors and documents abuse on the Roma population and advocates basic human rights for the Romas across Europe. Awarded 100,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 2012 – Ali Ferzat and Orwa Nyrabia
    Movie producer Ali Ferzat and cartoonist Orwa Nyrabia was awarded the PL-Foundation freedom prize for their outspoken wish and struggle for a free Syria. Each awarded €10,000.
  • 2011 – B’Tselem, Jerusalem & Al-Haq, Ramallah
    Two organizations on each side of the conflict working for a better understanding of and respect for human rights even in a time of turmoil. Each awarded $20,000.
  • 2010 – Sdrja Popovic, Serbia
    Serbian activist Sdrja Popovic was one of the leaders of the non-violent OTPOR resistance movement. OTPOR played a major role in bringing down the regime of Slobodan Milosevic. Awarded €16,000.
  • 2009 – Han Dongfang, China Labour Bulletin
    Han Dongfang and China Labour Bulletin are advocating for basic human rights and conditions for the Chinese workforce. Awarded 100.000 Danish Kroner.
  • 2008 – Oumou Sall Seck, Mali
    As mayor of the small town Goundam in Mail she has achieved remarkable results in her fight against female circumcisions. Awarded €15,000.
  • 2007 – Democratic Voice of Burma
    An exile-organization bringing news and reportages to the Burmese population. Awarded 100,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 2006 – Rehabilitation Centers for Torture Victims in Islamabad and the Sudan
    In regions of conflict these organizations play a major role providing comfort and treatment to the many victims of torture. Awarded 100,000 Danish Kroner each.
  • 2005 – Nokuthula Moyo, Zimbabwe
    Nokuthula Moyo is a Zimbabwean attorney and chairman of the organization Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights.  Awarded 100,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 2004 – Moncef Marzouki, Tunisia
    A long time advocate for human rights in Tunisia. Awarded 100,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 2001, 2002 and 2003 – No awards
  • 2000 – Faraj Sarkuji, Iran
    Founder and editor of Adineh, an Iranian magazine. Dissident and opponent of the Iranian regime. Awarded 150,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 1998 and 1999 – No awards
  • 1997 – Neve Shalom/Wahat As-Sala, Israel
    The Oasis of Peace promotes co-existence and creates activities across religious and cultural divides. Awarded 200,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 1996 – Amnye Machen Institute, Dharamsala
    Based in exile many Tibetans lose their cultural roots. The Amnye Machen Institute works to maintain Tibetan language and culture. Awarded 200,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 1995 – Ibrahim Rugova, Kosova
    Leader of the first democratic party in Kosova. Awarded 100,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 1994 – Amnye Machen Institute, Dharamsala
    The Amnye Machen Institute plays an essential role as a cultural lighthouse for the many Tibetans who have fled their homeland. Awarded 300,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 1993 – No award
  • 1992 – Radu Filipescu and Viorel Oancea, Romania
    Both men were part of the up-rise against the Romanian regime and advocates of human rights. Each awarded 100,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 1991 – No awards
  • 1990 – Mati Hint, Estonia, Peter Lazda, Latvia, and Gintautas Isemantas, Lithuania.
    Human rights advocates in the Baltic States. Each awarded 100,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 1989 – Jiri Hajek and Vlasta Chramastova, former Checoslovacia
    Both were dissidents and kept from publicly voicing their opposition. Each awarded 50,000 Danish Kroner.
  • 1988 – Andzrej Milczanowski og Piotr Andrzevjewski, Poland
    Both served as members of the illegal union NSZZ Solidarność – mening solidarity.
  • 1987 – Ali Taygun, Turkey
    The first PL-Foundation Freedom Award was awarded to the Turkish theater instructor. He served time in prison due to inappropriate content of his plays.