‘The Right to Defend: Portraits of Resilience, Hope and Solidarity is a story-telling project celebrating the work of human rights defenders. This project was born in September 2018 when PBI UK Director Susi Bascon and independent photographer and filmmaker Manu Valcarce travelled to Colombia to meet human rights defenders and record their stories. Inspired by their wisdom, they realised the importance of sharing their work with the world. Since then, they have travelled to Mexico, Honduras and Kenya and gather over 100 interviews with human rights defenders from all walks of life.
Hear the stories of ordinary people 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. All too often, governments and the media portray human rights defenders as criminals or obstacles to development. Stigmatisation undermines the credibility of their work, leaving them vulnerable to attacks and internment in countries where impunity remains a norm.
This project will challenge these depictions by honouring the resilience, hope and solidarity of human rights defenders. It aims to counter narratives that put them in danger by publicly celebrating their work. The project will validate their essential and often invisible contribution to the defence of human rights, and will galvanise much-needed profile, support and solidarity for the important work they do in support of vulnerable members of their communities.’
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