The Rainer Hildebrandt Medal is awarded annually in recognition of “extraordinary, non-violent commitment to human rights”, on the birthday of anti-communist human rights activist Rainer Hildebrandt to mark International Human Rights Day.
Mr. Balog was primarily awarded the accolade in recognition his work with relation to the social inclusion of Hungary’s Roma minority and his role in counselling refugees from the GDR in 1989.
Pál Maláter was posthumously awarded the Medal for his role in the 1956 Hungarian Revolution; the award was accepted by his widow, Judith Gyenes.
Previous recipients of the Award include Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (posthumous), Suzanne Mubarak, wife of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Cuban human rights activist Oscar Elias Biscet González, Polish anti-communist resistance fighter and later Chairman of the Polish Senate Bodgan Borusevicz, former Hungarian Minister of State Imre Pozsgay and Yoko Ono, wife of Beatles co-founder John Lennon.
Zoltán Balog had previously received the second most prestigious German state award, the Grand Cross of Merit with Star and Shoulder-Sash, which was presented in 2013 by Joachim Gauck in recognition of his efforts to further German-Hungarian relations and his activities within the field of protecting human rights and minorities.