Colombian lawyer Judith Maldonado has won the German ‘Shalom Award’ for her work with rural communities affected by extractive projects in Catatumbo in the north-eastern region of Colombia. Judith is director of the Luis Carlos Pérez Lawyer’s Collective (CCALCP), which provides legal advice and training to grassroots organisations and advocates at national and international level to raise awareness about the socio-economic impact of armed violence and large scale extractive projects in the region. 
Unfortunately as a result of her work, Judith has been the victim of threats and harassment by illegal armed groups such as the ‘Águilas Negras’ (Black Eagles), and was subject to illegal surveillance by the state intelligence agency, DAS. Unable to carry out her work without considerable physical risk, Judith has received international accompaniment from PBI since 2006. PBI also supported Judith on two awareness raising tours of Europe in 2008 and 2010.

Every year the ‘Shalom’ group (the Society for Justice and Peace at the Catholic University of Eichstätt, Germany) presents this peace and justice award in recognition of the monumental work of human rights defenders across the world. The 2011 presentation of the award will take place in Germany in July.   

In a statement, the Luis Carlos Pérez Lawyers’ Collective said the Shalom Prize was “a just reward for the continuing struggle of the communities, indigenous peoples and victims that persist in their fight for human rights, for their rights to land, their culture and for the creation of a fairer, more democratic and inclusive world. The award also recognises the work that we at the Luis Carlos Pérez Collective have been carrying out over the last 10 years.”