Extract of article:
Each day, human rights defenders speak out for the rights of others. And each day they risk their livelihoods, their liberty and in many cases their lives. As attacks, abductions, and assassinations increase in Latin America, we shine a light on the extraordinary human rights defenders taking a stand against injustice: community leaders fighting to protect collective land rights against mining companies; women struggling for gender equality; human rights lawyers risking their own safety to defend the rights of activists. Peace Brigades International have just launched an online platform ’The Defenders’, sharing the experiences of those fighting for justice on the front line. Here in the first article in the series we focus on Mexico and just a few of those brave people, whose stories of resilience, hope and solidarity that need to be heard.
by Susi Bascon, Manu Valcarce and Theo Fox
«You learn to survive in prison. It does not take away your dreams or who you are. You have to face up to who you are but above all you have to live with dignity in a situation that denies your dignity. You meet bad people, but prison is simply a reflection of an unjust society. These are the same people you live with on the street, and it’s because of the unjust system that exists in the country.» Antonio Cerezo
Antonio Cerezo is a human rights defender dedicated to political prisoners’ rights in Mexico. He was criminalised and imprisoned because of his human rights activities and he was freed from prison after completing his sentence. His resilience helped him to use his time in prison to support those imprisoned and to campaign about prison conditions. Today he continues fighting for human rights
Following the detention of their brothers Alejandro, Héctor and Antonio in August 2001, Francisco and Emiliana Cerezo Contreras formed the Cerezo Committee to campaign for their release. They have been victims of various episodes of harassment and threats, and PBI has accompanied them and other members of the Cerezo Committee since February 2002. The Committee continues to work for the rights of political prisoners in Mexico. Its work includes documenting the cases of human rights defenders criminalised and imprisoned because of their human rights activities, supporting those imprisoned, campaigning on prison conditions and running human rights and security workshops for human rights defenders and organisations
If you too are moved by their struggle and want to do something about it, can buy a ticket for our raffle of an exclusive Picasso linocut! By entering to win, your donation helps defenders receive the life-saving tools and support they need, and helps to ensure they’re not alone in their struggle. Thanks to a generous donor, for every £25 ticket sold PBI UK will receive £50. Please give generously. https://www.peoplesfundraising.com/raffle/picasso-for-pbi