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Amstelveen, February 1, 2022 – The 2022 Issue Award has been presented to Eva González Pérez for her commitment to the victims of the benefits affair and for the impact she has made. Due to the allowance affair, parents were wrongly labeled by the tax authorities as childcare allowance fraudsters and had to deal with strict refunds for minor errors. The parliamentary interrogation committee on Childcare Allowance later showed that the Tax Authorities acted in a discriminatory manner and that the basic principles of the rule of law were violated. Eva Gonzaléz Peréz owes this award to the tenacity with which she continued to put this topic on the agenda and with which she managed to mobilize journalists and MPs to support her activities. The Issue Award has been presented every year since 2010 to the person or organization that managed to put a social and political issue on the agenda in a striking, effective way in the past year. 

Lawyer Eva González Pérez has been working on the case for almost 7 years, in which she represents forty parents who are victims of the affair. After winning a case for a client at the Council of State in 2017, negotiations with the Tax Authorities failed. The lawyer then approached Pieter Omtzigt, after which the first parliamentary questions on the subject were asked. These parliamentary questions and the accompanying answers ultimately led to media attention, as a result of which more and more information about the affair has emerged in recent years. Her clients have now been – partly – compensated for the suffering caused to them, but González Pérez remains committed to the victims. The jury praises the way in which González Peréz' focused on the victims in her work, so that the public debate was no longer about numbers but about real people.    

Gonzaléz Peréz said in a response that he was happy with winning the Issue Award. 'If you see who has won this prize before me, I think it's great to be in that list. It is an honor, but there is still a lot of work to be done in the area of the benefits affair. I'm not done yet' 


The other two nominees were Jason Bhugwandass with his agenda of problems in closed youth care and Marnix Geus with his initiatives regarding homeless shelters.  

Jason Bhugwandass is on a mission to reform youth care and abolish closed institutions, which he believes are barely distinguishable from incarceration in a prison. In the documentary Jason, made by filmmaker Maasja Ooms, follows Jason closely in his struggle with his time in closed youth care and his struggle to abolish closed youth care. Jason has successfully found a platform to put his topic on the agenda through his own social media channels. His efforts not only produced an impressive documentary, but also a lot of political and social will to reform closed youth care.  

In February 2021, Marnix Geus decides to help homeless Paul by booking a hotel room for him. He doesn't stop there: he draws attention to the situation of this homeless person via LinkedIn and raises 30,000 euros to help him and other homeless people in the long term. In the meantime, Geus has started the project Give me 5, in which participating hotels structurally make 5 rooms available to remove homeless people from the streets during the winter months.   


The professional jury of the Issue Award consists of Dionne Abdoethafiezkhan (IZI Solutions), Mieke Ansems (VNO-NCW), Jurjen van den Bergh (DeGoedeZaak), Maria van der Heijden (MVO-Nederland), Dagmar Oudshoorn (Amnesty International Nederland) and Guido Rijnja (Government Information Service).  

Previous winners  

In previous years, the Issue Award went to Black Lives Matter NL for the Dam Protest, Bart Kemp (Agractie Nederland) for the farmers' protest and Tim Hofman for a broader children's pardon. In 2019, Arjen Lubach received an Oeuvre award with his program 'Zondag met Lubach', because he highlighted social issues almost every week in his program Lubach op Zondag. The Issue Award has been presented since 2010. This year is the 13th time that the Issue Award has been presented. 

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