Stories of defiance: Human rights activists speak out

When it launched its 50th annual report on the state of human rights worldwide, Amnesty International highlighted the courage shown by protesters and human rights defenders over the course of the past year. “Protesters have shown that change is possible. They have thrown down a gauntlet demanding that governments stand up for justice, equality and dignity. They have shown that leaders who don’t meet these expectations will no longer be accepted. After an inauspicious start 2012 must become the year of action,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General.Several human rights activists – from Ecuador, Nigeria, Syria and Zimbabwe – recently shared their experiences, describing the immense challenges they face in the struggle to protect their rights.

Here are their stories:

Ecuador: The Sarayaku struggle goes globalActivist: ‘Zimbabwe government increases repression following Arab Spring’Nigerian activist: ‘My trial exposes crude justice system’Exiled Syrian activist calls for international pressure on Assad