Christian Aid is pleased to announce that two of its Colombian partners, pictured, have won awards at the first National Award for the Defence of Human Rights.
The award commemorates Colombia’s National Day of Human Rights, celebrated on 9th September, and was established by an international network of NGOs - DIAL.
The awards are significant as they visibilise at a national level the often dangerous work carried out by dedicated individuals from our partner organisations.
Both regional and national media reported widely about the awards and this helps legitimise the work of human rights defenders, which is very important given the high levels of stigmatization.
Judith Maldonado of our partner organisation the Colectivo de Abogados Luis Carlos Pérez (CCALCP) won “Defender of the Year” award.
Judith was commended for her solidarity and dedication to her cause. She is a lawyer working in north-east Colombia, an area where the conflict has displaced thousands and with widespread and systematic human rights violations.
Judith has been threatened and attacked for her work with marginalised communities including indigenous people, afro-descendants and victims of serious human rights violations.
Our partner the Colombian Lawyers’ Collective José Alvear Restrepo (CCAJAR) won in the “Collectives” category. CCAJAR is lawyers collective defending and promoting human rights, and providing legal assistance to victims of human rights abuses.
Despite being a target for threats, stigmatisation and baseless criminal investigations, CCAJAR continues to fight for the rights of communities devastated by the conflict.
The judging panel paid tribute to the 28 nominees, many of which are Christian Aid partners, affirming that “the country is indebted to these human rights defenders.”
In a statement announcing the winners, it was recognised that without them, many crimes against human dignity in Colombia would have gone unnoticed and unpunished.
In the first half of this year for example, 17 defenders were arbitrarily detained and 29 human rights defenders were killed, most of whom came from remote and isolated parts of the country and many were murdered in their homes and in the presence of their relatives.
The award celebrates the bravery and the daily dedication of human rights leaders in Colombia who too often work in a climate of fear.
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