Encounters with Human Rights Defenders
Rafael Palencia Fernández
Attorney, President of Asociación Colombiana de Defensores de Derechos Humanos
When I started my work in 1994, I knew indubitably that denouncing human rights violations would disturb those responsible for them and that I would need to face the consequences. What made me confident was that my actions were consistent with the Rule of Law. Never could I have imagined that my actions could lead the State to persecute me. The framing and false accusations I suffered convinced me that my work after my liberation should serve to strengthen the rights of human rights attorneys. In Colombia, there is a deep and lasting human rights crisis and the State is responsible to stand as a guarantor of those rights.
Portrait: Verónica Giraldo Canal, 2012.