01/17/2011 10:48 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Martin Luther King Day: Human Rights Leaders Around The World (PHOTOS)

Monday marks what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 81st birthday, and though the civil rights icon's legacy is hard to match, he'd likely be honored to find his message carried forth by some of these truly incredible human rights activists.

At the forefront is 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who remains incarcerated as a political prisoner in the People's Republic of China. But similarly inspiring are Myanmar opposition politician and democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, finally released from house arrest in November, Afghan women's rights activist Sima Samar (also a Nobel contender) and Nikolai Alekseev, a prominent Russian attorney who won the first-ever case at the European Court of Human Rights on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights violations in Russia.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, view photos of some of the world's most prominent civil rights leaders here:

Civil Rights Leaders