Maritza Quiroz Leiva

Maritza Quiroz Leiva was an Afro Colombian social activist, a community leader and women human rights defender. Among the 7.7 million Colombians internally displaced by 50 years of armed conflict, Maritza dedicated her advocacy work to supporting the rights of others, particularly in the Afro Colombian community who suffered similar violations and displacement.

Diana Isabel Hernández Juárez

Diana Isabel Hernández Juárez was a Guatemalan teacher, human rights defender and environmental and community activist. She was the coordinator of the environmental program at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish on the South coast of the country. 

Doris Valenzuela Angulo

Doris Valenzuela Angulo was an Afro-descendant social activist, leader and human rights defender from Buenaventura, Colombia. She was part of Communities Building Peace in the Territories (CONPAZ), a national network of organizations in communities affected by armed conflict that advocate for non-violence and socio-environmental justice. 

Yamile Guerra

Yamile Guerra was a well-known lawyer, community leader and political activist in the Santander region of Colombia.

Magaly Quintana

Magaly Quintana was known by many in Nicaragua as ‘La Maga’ (meaning wizard). She was a feminist historian, activist, and an unyielding defender of women’s rights demanding justice for the victims of femicide.

Magaly was committed to documenting and building statistics on women and girls who were killed as a result of sexual violence in the country. 

“She rebuilt the life of each one, of their families, to show those lives that had been torn away.” - Dora María Téllez

Paula Andrea Rosero Ordóñez

“[She] was a person who was characterized by her hard work in favor of the defense of human rights and the construction of peace in Nariño, especially in the municipality of Samaniego-Nariño.”
- Jorge Luis Congacha Yunda for Página10

Dilma Ferreira Silva

Dilma Ferreira Silva was a leading Amazonian rights activist who fought for decades for the rights of people affected by dams.

She herself was among the 32,000 people displaced by the Tucuruí, a mega-hydroelectric power plant, built in Brazil during the 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

In 2005 Dilma was invited to join the Movement of Dam-Affected Peoples in Brazil (MAB), and in 2006 she formed the women’s collective, eventually becoming regional coordinator of the movement.

In speaking about her activism, her colleagues commented:

Bessy Ferrera

Bessy Ferrera was a lifelong defender of the human rights of trans people, sex workers and HIV positive people in Honduras.

Bessy was also a member of Arcoíris, an organisation which supports the LGBTI+ community. She was also a focal point person for the Right Here, Right Now (Derechos aquí y Ahora) Platform of Honduras, and advocated strongly for full citizenship of trans people, and the passing of a gender identity law that would allow trans people to change their gender identity legally.

Women leaders and human rights defenders in Colombia: A legacy of dreams, struggles and affection that we will not silence

“[To be a woman leader] is to love and defend our
 culture, land, race, identity.
It is to defend who we are.”
- Claudia Rincón, Colombian leader

Ana M. Tallada Iglesia

Ana was a strong advocate of women’s rights and worked with a broad cross-section of women, from those in grassroots networks to those in the private sector.

She believed in building bridges across sectors. Ana was a member of the National Network for the Promotion of Women (RNPM), and was active in developing many social programs that address issues such as sexual and reproductive health and rights.