Because of their work in defense of human rights, women human rights defenders challenge the traditional gender roles of the patriarchal society that keeps women in the domestic sphere. Consequently, women human rights defenders often suffer from serious public defamation campaigns that aim to damage their reputation, accusing them, among others, of neglecting their family or of being in search of sexual partners. In addition, women human rights defenders are often targets of attacks, threats and harassment, also of a sexual nature.
Understanding happiness as a form of resistance and rebellion is not always an east process, especially when there are so many reasons not to smile.
Damian Gallardo was in prison for over 5 years, however, this wasn´t enough to dampen or silence his struggle.
"Whenever a Pasta de Conchos memorial comes up, people seek me out to speak to me and I tell them again why I collect rubbish... As if I did it for fun. My son lived with me and was the one who sustained me... Because of the authorities, I have been working in a rubbish tip since my son died. I leave at six in the morning after drinking a cup of coffee with biscuits. I take a tin of tuna, tortillas or whatever I can eat in the rubbish tip... I get home in the afternoon...
"Mexico should assure the rights of association, reunion, protest and liberty of expression of Alejandro Cerezo, in every way possible, including diplomatic activities, especially in the cases recognised as criminalisation of defence, as is the that of the Comité Cerezo Mexico."
"México debe asegurar los derechos de asociación, reunión, protesta y libertad de expresión de Alejandro Cerezo, por todos los medios disponibles, incluidas las gestiones diplomáticas, especialmente en casos reconocidos de criminalización de la defensa, como es el del Comité Cerezo México."
2018 has been a challenging year for human rights across the world. Many of those defending human rights have been threatened, attacked and undermined, despite the celebration of 20 years of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. PBI remains committed to protecting the space in which human rights defenders continue their arduous work in steadfast conviction that only when this protection is truly guaranteed will peaceful and democratic societies advance across the world.
There are brave and extraordinary women throughout the world, fighting against the patriarchy that in many countries has women silenced, marginalised, threatened and harassed. PBI has the priviledge of accompanying women human rights defenders that fight for a fairer world, a world where rights are the same for everyone and a world where social justice is a reality.
In the State of Coahuila in the North of Mexico, for years hundreds of families have organised themselves in order to search for their loved ones who have been forcefully disappeared. According to the official statistics in Coahuila, between 1995 and 2018, 1,779 cases have been registered.