On Sept. 7, Colombia will celebrate National Human Rights Day. On that day, the first National Human Rights Award will be presented in the capital city of Bogota. This award will be given annually to one individual and one organization that have made noteworthy contributions to the advancement of human rights in the South American country.
Recipients will be chosen by a panel that includes a Nobel Peace Prize winner, human rights lawyers, and religious and public leaders from Colombia, the United States and Europe. Lutheran World Relief (LWR) is co-sponsoring the award with other members of DIAL (Dialogo Inter Agencial en Colombia), and the European Union. DIAL is a group of international NGOs that work towards sustainable development within the country through humanitarian actions and the advancement of public policies.
Lutheran World Relief works to help vulnerable areas around the world. In conflict-ridden Colombia, violence against human rights and social service workers often goes unreported. Zoraida Castillo, LWR’s country director for Colombia, says, “This award is a chance to celebrate the bravery and the daily dedication of human rights leaders in Colombia who are working under difficult and dangerous circumstances.”