Kenyan social justice activist Naomi Barasa and Colombian human rights lawyer Daniel Prado have won the first annual Henry Brooke Awards for Human Rights Defenders. The awards were presented by Lady Arden DBE, at a packed event at the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom on 13 November 2018. The event was organised by PBI UK and pro bono legal network the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk, and hosted by Lord Carnwath CVO.
As we commemorate 4 years from the disappearance of the 43 students from the rural college of Ayotzinapa (Guerrero), PBI stands in solidarity with all those searching for their family members, coming up against unbearable impunity with strength and inspiring dignity.
Human rights leaders face surveillance and harassment after President Jimmy Morales' move to cap CICIG's work and bar CICIG head from the country
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales, in an August 31 press conference in Guatemala City, announced the non-renewal of the mandate of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).
"Torture remains unacceptable and unjustified at all times, including during states of emergency, political instability, or even in a war. On this day, let us also pay tribute to all those who stand in solidarity with victims and their families – and reaffirm our commitment to ending this abominable and useless practice." Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General
Torture violates the inherent dignity of the human being. Its use creates societies based on fear and throttles the transformative potential of civil society.
In April 2018 Colombian human rights lawyer Luis Guillermo Pérez visited Europe in order to submit evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the killings on human rights defenders in Colombia. 2017, the first full year since the signing of the peace agreement in Colombia, was the deadliest on record for human rights defenders, with 121 killed, compared with 60 killings in 2016.
Two years ago, Berta Cáceres, Lenca indigenous leader and coordinator of COPINH, was murdered in her residence in La Esperanza, Intibucá. Despite global outcry, justice still hasn’t been done*.
We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing of Sir Henry Brooke CMG, a Patron of PBI UK and an invaluable supporter.
Every year, lawyers who work for the defence of human rights are harassed, threatened, persecuted and even killed. On the 24th of January, the Day of the Endangered Lawyer, the international community celebrates the importance of lawyers in upholding human rights and the rule of law, and reflects on how to combat the serious threats they face.
International accompaniment for relatives of disappeared people, who face indifference or hostile reactions towards their struggle for justice, strengthens their process of empowerment and their capacity for resilience.