"States have the obligation to respect defenders, to provide them with security, to heed their calls and to consider that we are people who support the most vulnerable sectors of society, and that this is a contribution to democratic life."
We first interviewed Romel, a Mayan human rights defender and member of the Regional Indigenous and Popular Council of Xpujil, in 2018. Today on Earth Day, we’re really glad to share a follow-up story about Romel’s work for the protection of nature, land and the rights of indigenous peoples and minority populations in Mexico.
In this video, Romel reflects on the impact of the Covid pandemic on human rights defenders’ work, and its influence on large touristic projects such as the Mayan Train. This megaproject will bring huge consequences for the indigenous populations and minority communities that live in the territory and therefore, many organisations, as well as Romel, are fighting against its construction and for the preservation of land and our environment.
Watch the video here:
"So I saw the need of engaging different activists and human rights defenders across the region to make sure that this kind of arrest should not happen to anybody because of their gender identity or sexual orientation." Mauricio Ochieng' is a transgender activist and a SOGIESC human rights defender from the Western part of Kenya.
"We try to defend happiness from a principle of reality," says Donovan Ortega, working at the Fray Francisco de Vitoria Human Rights Center in Mexico.