“Mobilising civil society in Venezuela and beyond”
Voices from Defenders’ Days
Close-up with Abraham Pedraza, Coordinator Un Mundo Sin Mordaza in Venezuela.
Abraham Pedraza is a Venezuelan human rights defender. For the past five years, he has been the coordinator of international projects for Un Mundo Sin Mordaza, an organisation working for the defence and promotion of human rights. This week, he participates in Defenders’ Days in Stockholm, together with 200 human rights defenders from 50 countries.
“I was told that it is one of the most interesting conferences in the world of human rights because of its approach: it allows us, participants, not only to make new alliances or learn about the best practices of other organisations or countries but also from to learn how to strengthen the security in our work”, says Abraham Pedraza.
The current situation in Venezuela is quite complex. The authoritarian regime in Venezuela has shown the ability to adapt to circumstances, which has made work quite a challenge for the organisation. Among other examples, the Venezuelan regime has been very efficient at generating different waves of arbitrary arrests.
“There is a revolving door effect, in which the regime releases some political prisoners but at the same time arbitrarily detains other political figures who oppose the regime to have the leverage to be able to negotiate.”
Document crimes against humanity
One of the focus areas for Un Mundo Sin Mordaza is to document crimes against humanity together with a network of international activists and documenters. They also develop social impact campaigns through art and media for the promotion of human rights and for condemning violations against them. In joint projects with diasporas from Nicaragua, Cuba, and Bolivia, they have mobilised together to claim their rights and denounce human rights violations in Latin America.
Currently, they are in the process of creating an international educational project in activism and non-violent struggle that aims to create a third wave of democracy through an international network of connected activists. The training program is set to expand to 15-20 countries with authoritarian regimes.
“That’s why we are very interested in getting in contact with activists and defenders internationally who live in countries with autocratic regimes, or who have done a good job with the diasporas of their countries in terms of defence and promotion of human rights. We want to connect them with this project, to not only reach out with our methodologies but to make them part of this project and this movement.”
About Defenders’ Days
Defenders’ Days is Civil Rights Defenders’ global networking platform for human rights defenders, focused on making use of innovative tools to combat human rights violations. Defenders’ Days Conference is a conference with and for human rights defenders, organised by Civil Rights Defenders every two years, to support and connect people who fight for democracy and human rights.