Radio Campaign Launched for Human Rights Defenders

Justice For Colombia News | on: Saturday, 13 October 2012

On Wednesday, 26 September, human rights coalition the National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE), and Irish NGO Front Line Defenders launched a 6-episode Public Service Announcement (PSA) radio campaign focusing on 6 Colombian human rights defenders. The campaign aims to counter the ongoing smear campaign that discredits and endangers human rights defenders in Colombia, by raising awareness among the general public, both in Colombia and at international level, about the importance of human rights work, and the dangers activists face in Colombia as a result of their work. The broadcasts will be available at www.radiohrd.org as well as being played by several of the largest national and regional radio stations in Colombia.

Each of the 6 radio programmes will be broadcast for 2 weeks, and will be accompanied by online petitions to the Colombian authorities, to be handed in when the campaign concludes in December. Among human rights defenders featured in the campaign is Henry Diaz, member of FENSUAGRO, the agricultural workers’ trade union, and the Patriotic March opposition movement, disappeared in April 2012. Henry had helped to organise a human rights hearing for a Justice for Colombia delegation to highlight abuses in his region.

The campaign also focuses on Juan David Diaz, MOVICE member in Sucre, currently facing politically motivated charges in reprisal for his search for justice for his father's murder. Other cases will include Luz Elena Galeano from Medellin's Comuna 13 district (Antioquia), whose husband was forcibly disappeared and who is herself a victim of forced displacement; Marta Giraldo, MOVICE leader in the Valle del Cauca department and daughter of a victim of extrajudicial execution; Ruby Castaño, member of the Meta Independent Agricultural Workers' Union, currently threatened and a victim of the genocide against the Patriotic Union (UP) political party and Teófilo Acuña, human rights defender and member of the Southern Bolivar Agricultural-Mining Federation (Fedeagromisbol).

The climate of false accusations and stigmatisation against human rights and opposition activists in Colombia serves to delegitimize their work and justify attacks. In addition to the media and members of the army, such statements have come from high levels of the Colombian administration. Indeed, in August this year, Juan Carlos Pinzon, Colombian Minister of Defence accused the Patriotic March, a new and highly threatened opposition movement, of being funded by the FARC, putting its members in further danger.

JFC has added its name to the MOVICE and Frontline petitions released so far, in support of the campaign and is encouraging its supporters to do the same. Click here for further information and to add your name to the petitions. You can also follow the campaign on twitter via #yosoyradiodh.



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