PBI UK would like to send our warmest thanks to everyone who supported our campaign for the global community of Human Rights Defenders to win the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. The campaign has aimed to shine a spotlight on a critical issue, at a critical moment. Human Rights Defenders are killed every day for their struggles to build peaceful societies. We owe it to them, and to ourselves, to protect their lives and work.
From the initial nomination by Ann Clwyd MP and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights, to an open letter signed by over 200 civil society organisations and a public petition with thousands of signatures, we have been overwhelmed by the support the campaign has received – evidence of a growing global consensus that human rights are not only granted by law but upheld by those who struggle for their protection.
Further endorsements and articles on the nomination have been published by organisations and publications around the world, including the Bar Human Rights Committee, the Faculty of Advocates, ABColombia, Pasos de Animal Grande (Honduras), La Jornada (Mexico), Dagbladet (Norway) and Cuarto Poder (Mexico), amongst others. PBI UK has co-authored two opinion pieces in support of the nomination with UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders Michel Forst, published in The Independent and Reuters humanitarian news. We were delighted to see the global community of Human Rights Defenders reach #2 on the Norwegian Peace Council’s list of favourites for the prize.
Our heartfelt congratulations go to the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winners, Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad. Their work to end sexual violence makes them true Human Rights Defenders, and epitomises the courage and determination of defenders worldwide. Their victory brings us one step closer to recognising the role all defenders play in building peaceful societies.
Sexual violence is an issue that affects many of the defenders we work with, such as Valentina Rosendo Cantú – an indigenous Me’phaa Mexican woman who was tortured and raped by soldiers in 2002. This year, Valentina won a historic victory in Mexico’s national courts against her abusers, after suffering 16 years of threats, stigmatisation and trauma. We trust that Denis and Nadia’s Nobel Peace Prize victory will bring international attention to the scourge of sexual violence, and heighten pressure on states and international organisations to take serious steps to combat the impunity abusers have historically enjoyed.
On this and so many other issues, advances are the result of a global community working together. Whilst the outstanding contributions of particular individuals and organisations richly deserve to be celebrated, we stand firm in our belief that every person can and should be part of the global community of Human Rights Defenders to which such individuals belong, and which lays the foundation for their achievements.
Our upcoming campaign “Shoulder to Shoulder” will highlight the strength of this global community, bringing forward little-heard voices and inspiring struggles from Human Rights Defenders around the world. We hope that you will join us, shoulder to shoulder with those who risk their lives daily in the defence of human rights.