Every day, more women all over the world are taking action to promote equality, peace and justice. It is these women who, whether they mean to or not, are transforming traditional gender roles and power structures by dedicating their lives to defending fundamental human rights. More and more, these extraordinary women are identifying themselves as human rights defenders. In general, it is said that women are doubly vulnerable, for being women and for defending human rights. However, they are strengthened by their determination to create positive change in our societies.
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.
"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.
This International Women’s Day, PBI is honouring the incredible and vital work done by Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) in Honduras, Mexico and Kenya, despite their continuing struggle against oppression and human rights abuses.
International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women that are at the heart of the fight for positive social change and equality for all women around the world.
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*.
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.
International Women’s Day celebrates women’s achievements in the political and social spheres, while also serving as a reminder that the fight for true gender equality is still far from over. Every day, PBI witnesses the actions and impacts of courageous women who take a stance against injustice and the violation of their rights.
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.
PBI Guatemala condemns the cruel murder of Evelyn Robles, a trans activist found dead on November 18 . Evelyn Robles was accompanied by PBI between 2006 and 2009, due to the threats she faced after having witnessed the extrajudicial execution of Paulina Marrot, another trans activist, in January 2006. Evelyn Robles had identified agents of the National Civil Police as being the authors of this crime, during which she herself was seriously injured. To this day, the murder of Paulina continues in impunity.