María Lígia, Colombia

Maria Ligia Chaverra is 77 years old and has been fighting for the rights of her community for 20 years, in the midst of the armed conflict which has terrorised the Colombian region of Bajo Atrato. Despite being displaced multiple times during the conflict, she has never given up her struggle to reclaim the land and resources on which her community depends.

In her own words: Maria Ligia

Maria Ligia Chaverra is 77 years old and has been fighting for the rights of her community for 20 years, in the midst of the armed conflict which has terrorised the Colombian region of Bajo Atrato. Despite being displaced multiple times during the conflict, she has never given up her struggle to reclaim the land and resources on which her community depends.

The Human Rights Defenders fighting back against torture

"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.

Dina Meza, freedom of expression and of the press, Honduras

Dina Meza is a celebrated independent journalist, committed to defending freedom of expression and information. Her work focuses on supporting women, indigenous populations, youth groups, people of the LGBTI community and social communicators. She is the current President of PEN Honduras, an organisation that supports journalists at risk, as well as the founder and editor of the online newspaper ‘Pasos de Animal Grande’, which provides information and legal support to at-risk professionals, students and journalists.

Meet the women who are changing the world

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.

Rosalinda Dionicio, United Peoples’ Network of the Ocotlán Valley, Mexico

Rosalinda Dionicio is a leader of the United Peoples’ Network of the Ocotlán Valley in Defence of Territory. Since 2009, the organisation has been demanding the closure of the San José mine, owned by a subsidiary of the Canadian company Fortuna Silver Mines, which they say has caused environmental destruction and water shortages in their communities. Rosalinda is a survivor of a 2012 attack by gunmen in which her colleague Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez was assassinated – one of many serious human rights violations suffered by the organisation.

Aurelia Arzú, Fraternal Black Organisation of Honduras (OFRANEH), Honduras

Aurelia Arzú, a human rights defender from the Garifuna community in Honduras, visited London on a speaker tour in September 2017 in her capacity as vice coordinator of the Fraternal Black Organisation of Honduras (OFRANEH). OFRANEH work to safeguard the economic, social and cultural rights of the unique Garifuna ethnic community.

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