Peace Brigades International brings human rights defenders to the European Parliament

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Emilie DeWolf (Consorcio Oaxaca-Mexico), Telma Perez (TZ’KAT-Guatemala) and Kerstin Reemtsma (Peace Brigades International-Guatemala) at the European Parliament in Brussels. Twitter photo by The Left in the European Parliament.

This week, Peace Brigades International is hosting a speaker tour with several human rights defenders from Latin America to share their experiences and cases in their work with representatives and the general public in Europe.

The tour includes Nora Ramiréz and Franklin Álvarez (National Union of Rural Workers – Honduras), Telma Perez (TZ’KAT Network of Ancestral Healers of Community Feminism from Ixmulew – Guatemala), Emilie DeWolf (Consortium for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity Oaxaca – Mexico), Sandra Calel (Verapaz Union of Peasant Organizations – Guatemala), and Olga Araujo (Association for Social Research and Action – Colombia).

The defenders face similar challenges due to the work they undertake and the power structures they attempt to dismantle, and the women defenders face sexist discrimination and attacks of which they are often victim.

Peace Brigades International hopes that through the speaking tour, the visibility of women human rights defenders will increase, and that awareness can be brought to these front-line human rights defenders that continue despite the challenges they face.

Women human rights defenders deserve recognition and respect for the brave and often thankless work they are engaged in across the world.

This recognition helps to protect them on the ground to ensure that, despite the challenges, they continue to work to uphold human rights and improve societies.

On November 11, La Vanguardia reported, “The activists, who participated [on Monday] in a session of the European Chamber of Human Rights Subcommittee on the role of women in the defense of environmental rights and indigenous peoples in Latin America, reported the difficulties they face repeatedly as leaders in the protests against large industrial projects that are developed in rural areas.”

Francisca Núñez of Peace Brigades International-Colombia notes that they especially emphasized the situation of impunity enjoyed by the attackers since “the material perpetrators, mostly hitmen, are prosecuted, but not the intellectual author and their links with the government elites.”

Nora Ramírez of the National Union of Rural Workers (CNTC) in Honduras also highlights that there is a lack of state protection and an increase in militarization in these areas where large industrial projects are installed “without prior consultation with the population or rights as a people are respected.”

The article adds, “The group of activists also referred to the discrimination that, in particular, women in indigenous communities suffer, victims of forced displacement and who have been deprived of the possibility of accessing resources such as water.”


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