Encounters with Human Rights Defenders
We are all confronted with injustice. Sometimes it falls upon us, sometimes upon our neighbor. Sometimes it stings at the very corner of our street, sometimes in a distant country. Every time, however, we are put before the same difficult choice. To act or not? How?
Caminos de compromiso –engaged destinies– invites us to an encounter with seven Colombian human rights defenders committed to the pursuit of justice. Each of their stories explores the same interrogation: What is it that leads someone to put his or her life in danger in order to defend his or her ideals? In a world where many, through disillusion or lack of interest, have abandoned the idea that they can shape the world in which they live, the question seems particularly relevant.
Through their honest, intimate and often difficult testimonies, Caminos de compromiso gives us a unique opportunity to meet these exceptional individuals and understand their ethical stance against the violence that has affected Colombians for decades. A series of introspective and powerful black and white portraits made by a Colombian photographer makes the encounter with these characters almost real and the underlying issues all the more resounding.
Caminos de compromiso pursues several objectives. Firstly, the exhibition aims at raising public awareness concerning the dangers faced by human rights defenders in Colombia. It also pays tribute to the seven participants, the strength of their convictions and their courage in the face of obstacles. An eighth interview with the author of the project is included as a point of comparison between the reality faced by the Colombian participants and that of a Canadian lawyer. Finally, Caminos de compromiso is an invitation to reflect on ones position towards injustice, abroad and in one’s own country, and on the relationships one builds and maintains with the other members of the human family.
[R]ecognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Preamble
Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels.
Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 1