Cristina Auerbach’s journey as a human rights defender began when an explosion in February 2006 inside the Pasta de Conchos mine in northern Mexico’s state of Coahuila trapped 65 miners. As the company owning the mine abandoned the search and rescue of the bodies, and authorities failed to be held accountable for the breaches in the mine’s safety standards, Auerbach took up the task of demanding justice for the victims’ relatives and campaign for the recovery of the bodies, all but two of which remain buried underground.
On the October 20 in Tegucigalpa members of COPINH and other civil society organisations held a peaceful demonstration outside of the Public Prosecutors’ office to demand transparency and justice in the case of the murder of Berta Cáceres. The demonstrators faced violent repression by the police forces present. Police fired water cannon and tear gas at the protesters. Hundreds of people were affected by tear gas fumes as they attempted to flee the scene. Those who found themselves within the reach of the security forces were kicked and beaten with batons.
International day of the world’s indigenous peoples represents an opportunity to reflect on the contribution made by indigenous communities around the globe. While the common narrative surrounding indigenous people often focuses on their vulnerability, PBI's experience working with grassroots community groups at the forefront of the struggle for land and environmental rights in Central and Latin America highlights that they are also important agents of change.
On the 8th and 9th June 2016, the second Periodic Review of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Honduras (CESCR) will take place in Geneva.In the previous review in May 2001, 26 recommendations were made to Honduras. However none of these recommendations made explicit reference to the situation regarding the defence of economic, social and cultural rights.
In April 2016 Padre Alberto Franco and Jani Silva, Colombian human rights defenders, visited London as part of a Europe wide speaker tour organised by PBI.
Father Alberto Franco is the executive secretary of the human rights NGO Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP). The work of the CIJP focuses on the field accompaniment Afro-Colombian, indigenous and peasant farmer communities.
Invisible MandelasThe world woke up to the perils of defending human rights in Honduras last month with the tragic news of the murder of environmental activist Berta Cáceres. According to a recent study by Global Witness, Honduras is the most dangerous country in the world to be an environmental defender, with 111 murders reported between 2010 and 2015.