Lawyers challenging those responsible for human rights violations pay an extremely high price - becoming targets of intimidation and repression because of the nature of the cases they take on. They may have their work obstructed, be followed, watched, harassed, subjected to spurious prosecutions, killed or ‘forcibly disappeared’.
Impunity happens in the absence of the rule of law. Under the rule of law, all people, all organisations, and the state itself are equally accountable to laws that are fairly applied and enforced, and there is equal access to justice when rights are violated.
Last Thursday, PBI UK and the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk announced the winners of the second Sir Henry Brooke Awards for Human Rights Defenders.
Over 40,000 people are disappeared across Mexico.
Some of these 40,000 may be alive, and some make up the 26,000 bodies that lie unidentified in morgues across the country.
The terrifying figures of forced disappearance in Mexico speak not only of the crisis of extreme violence the country is living through, but also of the deep need to address structural injustices that allow human rights violations to continue without investigation or the punishing of those responsible.
Honduras has been named the ‘most dangerous country in Central America for members of the gay and lesbian community’.
Honduras is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.
In December 2018 Dina Meza, a celebrated Honduran independent journalist, was invited to the UK to speak at the FCO’s Human Rights Day event. During her time in London Dina Meza met with the Minister for Human Rights; Lord Ahmad, All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights, as well as representatives of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to discuss the human rights situation in Honduras as well as restrictions on freedom of expression and attacks against journalists in the country. She also met with NGOs and donors.
Daniel Prado is a prominent Colombian human rights lawyer. He began his career by providing legal support to the family members of victims of enforced disappearance in the early 1990s and currently works with the Colombian NGO the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP).
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.