Members of "Ladies in White," wives and mothers of political prisoners, demonstrate during the dissident group's weekly march after mass in Havana, Sunday July 11, 2010. © AP Photo/Javier Galeano
Human rights defenders in the Americas play a vital role in exposing and combating human rights violations. Many have paid a high price for their courageous efforts to break cycles of injustice, discrimination and impunity.
In Brazil, Laísa Santos Sampaio has received repeated threats after campaigning for the protection of the Amazon.
In Colombia, Popular Women’s Organization members have been targeted for death threats, harassment and physical attacks because of their work on women’s rights.
Members of the Ladies in White in Cuba have been repeatedly subjected to short-term and arbitrary detention and harassment in reprisal for their campaigning on fundamental freedoms.
Guatemalan defender Yolanda Oquelí survived an attempt on her life as a result for campaigning for her community’s environmental rights.
Since 2011, members of Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras (COFADEH) have faced a rising number of death threats, harassment and attacks for fighting against impunity.
Mexican migrants’ rights defender Fray Tomás González continues to face harassment and intimidation.
Despite the lack of effective protection for themselves and their families and widespread impunity, they continue their struggle.
Support them by signing the petition to their President below
I call on you to:
- publicly recognize the legitimate and fundamental role of human rights defenders in your country
- take all measures to support human rights defenders in continuing their work, while effectively protecting them against abuses
- ensure that allegations of human rights abuses against human rights defenders are properly investigated and those responsible brought to justice.