PBI is proud to announce that four of the organisations we accompany have been selected as finalists for the National Human Rights Prize, Diakonia 2017.
16 organisations and individuals have been pre-selected, the final result and winner will be announced on 19 September in a ceremony in Bogotá. This prize serves as recognition for the important work that human rights defenders carry out despite the risk that this work implies.
In the first category, “Defender of the Year”, Enrique Chimonja Coy from the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission has been selected for his tireless work accompanying communities in the Valle del Cauca, victims of human rights violations and infractions of International Humanitarian Law. PBI has accompanied the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission since 1994 and throughout this time we have witnessed the important work Kike has undertaken with communities who find themselves in the middle of the Colombian armed conflict. His initiative and leadership has lead to the return of various communities to their territories as well as the installation of humanitarian zones free of armed actors.
In the second category, “Experience or Collective Process of the Year”, three organisations that PBI accompanies have been selected; The Community of Self-determination Life and Dignity – Cavida, the Regional Human Rights Defense Corporation (CREDHOS) and the Judicial Freedom Corporation – CJL.
Cavida has been singled out for their collective experience as a social community based project that emerged through the “Operation Genesis”, military and paramilitary operation that displaced hundreds of families from Cacarica, Chocó. Since then the organisation has facilitated the dignified return of the displaced families and has resisted the violence that continues in the territory where neo- paramilitary groups now have a permanent presence. Despite the risk, the organisation continues to work for peaceful coexistence in one of the areas hardest hit by the armed conflict.
Credhos is an NGO that has its headquarters in the petrol city of Barrancabermeja, from which they undertake work in defense of human rights and denounce the problems of the Magdalena Medio region. Credhos denounces the neo-paramilitary dynamics despite the huge risk that this work brings. They undertake workshops in communities abandoned by the State and provide legal advice to victims of human rights violations. PBI has been accompanying the brave work of Credhos since 1994.
CJL is a renowned organisation that works on the promotion of human rights and the fight against impunity in cases of State crimes. They work with the concept of memory to vindicate the victims and seek recognition from the people responsible for serious human rights violations.
PBI congratulates the organisations and people mentioned and will continue to highlight the important work that human rights defenders undertake, risking their lives every day in order to improve living conditions for the Colombian population. In these fragile moments of peace-building after so many years at war, this work is more important than ever.