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Involved within the Human Rights spectrum


This year (2023) I have brought my professional practices back to the non-profit environment and more concretely to the Human Rights defenders’ spectrum.


I would say that was serendipity the reason that this happened, but probably this will be a simplistic and external way to express the need I have been feeling for a long time.


For several months I struggled to feel at ease with some of the assignments and initiatives I was involved especially at the beginning of the year as those well-intentioned actions felt empty, superficial, unauthentic, and to some extent a lavishing mechanism to try to balance Western and wealthy narratives with other realities.


I witnessed in first person what a friend once wrote to me: “The problem is that this happens within the systems that were meant to be challenged and changed. Movements for change get processed and ingested by the systems they are meant to change”.


Getting involved as an external consultant and facilitator for teams within the Human Rights defenders' environment made a strong impact on me as I started to empathize with the young and energetic activists sharing their struggles while carrying on their duties.


The paradox was overwhelming, while in some groups I was part of, the conversation was about wellness, meditation, inner development, relaxation, and reducing the pace to find your call, in the Human Rights groups we were talking about defending the basic Rights that in many societies are not granted such as freedom of speech, the right to protest, the right to associate, and so on.


I couldn't help keeping myself swinging among those contradictions as one felt alien and disconnected between words and actions while the other felt close to my heart.


When I heard from young activists about the risks they are taking while conducting their activities to educate people about Human Rights, I got goosebumps knowing that some of them got blacklisted by governments and militias for talking and promoting some of those Rights, that for many of us are, up to now, granted.


The lessons I learned while accompanying some learning and reflection moments with different groups of young activists are beyond my initial expectations. Their commitment, engagement, and creativity were a balsam of freshness and inspiration but at the same time, they challenged me deeply as I needed to help them with activities that could open their vision wider.


Sharing those learnings with people close to me, my kids, my friends, and my colleagues represented another challenge because, for many of us living in wealthy-northern societies, the reference point to defend some of the basic Human Rights sounds very foreign to our day-to-day life and is hard to visualize, and understand, that the reality in many other places is completely different.


Many of those places are becoming very hostile to people educating and promoting basic Human Rights.


For confidentially I can’t comment further or make more explicit my role or the contexts where I’m working with those activists. I can say that in many places in the world, the Human Rights spectrum is shrinking fast and steady.


I’m looking forward to the first months of 2024 where I will be accompanying the journey of some teams to reflect, rethink, and innovate their approach to keep alive and energize the struggle to reach local communities where Human Rights are systematically violated and neglected.


We don’t know what is coming out of this process yet, but we feel it is crucial to learn and adapt now because, unfortunately, the future in many other places may follow similar patterns of hostility and repression of fundamental Human Rights and more would need to be done.


 I got goosebumps knowing that some of them got blacklisted by governments and militias for talking and promoting some of those Human Rights, that for many of us are, up to now, granted.

Involved within the Human Rights spectrum