NED Partner Recognized for Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy in Iran

Roya Boroumand (left) accepts the Goler T. Butcher medal on April 4, 2024. (Photo courtesy of NED staff.)

Washington D.C. – On April 4th, the American Society of International Law (ASIL) honored Roya Boroumand, co-founder and executive director of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran—a partner of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)—with the 2024 Goler T. Butcher medal in recognition of her leadership and dedication to the promotion of human rights and democracy in Iran.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the Goler T. Butcher medal, which I see as a recognition of the contributions, hard work, empathy, courage, and commitment of scores of individuals of diverse nationalities, ethnicities, faiths, political beliefs and backgrounds who made two volunteers’ ambitious project, a first in its kind, a reality,” said Boroumand. “It is also a tribute to thousands of victims, survivors, and witnesses inside and outside Iran who came forward to testify and without whom a memorialization and documentation of this magnitude would not have been possible.”

Roya along with her sister Ladan Boroumand, a former Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at NED, have dedicated their lives to upholding human rights in Iran. In 2002, they co-founded the center, which was named in memory of their late father Abdorrahman Boroumand, an Iranian lawyer and pro-democracy activist who was assassinated in 1991. [Read more about the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center.]

In 2006, the center launched Omid (meaning “hope” in Persian) as an online platform for documenting human rights abuses committed by the Islamic Republic and memorializing its victims. So far, Omid has collected 26,369 cases of arbitrary executions and extrajudicial killings committed by the regime.

Their work was instrumental in assisting the trial of Hamid Nouri, who was found guilty in 2022 of violating international human rights law for his involvement in carrying out the regime’s mass killings of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.

More recently, their voluminous documentation and historical knowledge were also cited by the United Nations Human Right Council (UNHRC)’s independent international fact-finding mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran, with the detailed findings published in March 2024 at the 55th UNHRC session in Geneva.

“Roya and her organization have worked rigorously and objectively to document human rights violations committed by the regime in Iran,” said Amira Maaty, senior director for NED’s Middle East and North Africa programs. “The work of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center is an indispensable resource for victims to seek justice and hold perpetrators accountable under international law. NED is proud to support Roya and the center in their advocacy for human rights and tireless pursuit of a democratic future for Iran.”

First presented by ASIL in 1997, the Goler T. Butcher medal recognizes distinguished individuals for their outstanding contributions to the development or effective realization of international human rights. The medal is named for Goler Teal Butcher, a prominent African American scholar and professor of international law at Howard University School of Law, who served as assistant administrator for Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development in the Carter Administration and was a leading advocate for ending global hunger.

Learn more about how NED supports democracy in Iran: