The 19th of August 2019 marks World Humanitarian Day, a day to pay tribute to those who risk their lives in humanitarian work. CPL Aromas have a long-standing partnership with CAFOD, supporting the work that they do. One of the ongoing CAFOD projects that CPL is supporting this year is – ‘Protecting and Supporting Human Rights Defenders’ in Latin America.
This project aims to support and protect human rights defenders (HRDs) at risk working on land and environmental rights in Latin America - with a focus on Colombia and Guatemala. In recent years there has been a rise in the number of HRDs that have needed urgent protection, this project will provide protection as well as training for the HRDs to develop the skills and knowledge needed in remote rural areas.
Latin America continues to be the most dangerous region for human rights defenders to do their work. There has been a continuous increase in conflicts and struggles between governments, companies and local communities on the rights to use and control land and natural resources in these countries which has resulted in repression against land, environmental and human rights defenders. Colombia and Guatemala not only share the challenges related to the protection of defenders, and the lack of investigation and prosecution of cases but the armed conflicts within these countries are directly related to land, poverty, discrimination and inequality.
CAFOD and its partners, CALDH and CINEP applied to the ‘Global EU Call for Human Rights Defenders’, the application was successful and in April 2019 the project began. Responding the needs of HRDs in the region the project will focus on three areas – training for HRDs, strengthening protection mechanisms and national and international advocacy and communications work.
The project will support:
- 860 human rights defenders belonging to 36 human rights organisations in 15 remote communities in Guatemala and Colombia;
- 30 defenders, promoting the self determination of indigenous people and the participation of women, so that their voices can be heard in decision making spaces.
The objectives of the project are:
Training for HRDs
- Training and learning exchanges for communities on human rights issues.
- Supporting grassroots organisations to develop 11 local initiatives to defend and promote human rights with a focus on land
- Document and analyse human rights violations
Improving the prevention and protection strategy of HRDs
- Identifying strategies and self-protection mechanisms.
- Share experiences and knowledge on self-protection, international frameworks and wellbeing
- Emergency funds for HRDs at risk
- Legal advice for human rights violations and land grabbing.
Strengthening their participation in decision making spaces with state and key actors.
- Reports, documents and investigations
- Promoting dialogue, conflict mediation and developing public policies with state and nonstate actors,
- Communications and media work to overcome stigmatisation of HRDs
CPL Aromas are proud to be supporting CAFOD on this project that aims to build the skills and knowledge of human rights defenders and community organisations, so they are better equipped to carry out their work. This will address some of the root causes and structural issues affecting defenders, thereby ensuring greater sustainability. CAFOD works closely with CINEP, CALDH and the other partners to monitor and evaluate at every stage of the project.