The Secret Life of Walter Mitty star Sean Penn handed out a human rights award at a very special ceremony in Dublin City Hall this morning.

The 53-year-old star presented the 2014 Front Line Defenders Award to Noorzia Afridi of the Pakistani women's rights group Sawera.

Speaking about the phenomenal work achieved by all of the nominees, Jim Loughran, spokesperson with Front Line Defenders, said: "The starting point has to be how do you change a society into a place where human rights are really respected? You start with the people who are already working on the ground on the principle 'protest one, empower 1,000."

He added: "Sean Penn's support is hugely important in terms of driving publicity… As one human rights defender said to us recently, if you are visible, you have rights. If you are invisible, you are a victim."

The award is presented annually to a human rights defender.

This year the organisation received 110 nominations from 51 countries.