Information on award recipients in previous editions
Ninth Edition – 2017
The winner of the ninth edition was Francisco Valencia, Director of the Coalition of Organizations for the Right to Health and Life CODEVIDA, who was nominated for his tireless work as one of the most open voices to denounce the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. In recent years, Francisco has dedicated himself to accompanying the legitimate demands of millions of people in Venezuela for the right to immediate, adequate and effective protection so that no more lives are lost due to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the country.
In June 2018, Francisco visited Canada and had the opportunity exchange his experience and work with representatives from the Government of Canada, including a meeting with the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs. He also met with different civil society organizations in Canada, which work on the right to health and humanitarian crises. Francisco had the opportunity to visit the transplant program at University Health Network in Toronto and met with the Venezuelan diaspora in Ottawa and Toronto.
Special Mention – 2017
Aracelis Sanchéz - Mother of a victim of extrajudicial execution, founder and director of the Organization of Relatives of Victims of Human Rights Violations (ORFAVIDEH). Aracelis took her experience and her pain as the mother of a victim to undertake a struggle against violence and impunity, giving rise to the organization she presides over today. Through her work, Aracelis has promoted the knowledge of human rights and has helped to strengthen the social fabric by empowering other people to actively demand respect and guarantee of human rights, not only in their community, but also in other regions of Venezuela.
Eighth Edition - 2016
The winner of the eighth edition was teacher Trina Bajo, a popular educator with more than thirty eight years of experience who has fought along with other educators, anonymous defenders of human rights, from her role in schools of Fe y Alegria in underprivileged areas of Caracas, as San Agustín and Petare, for the social transformation of these depressed contexts. She has supported them and has showed them that it is possible to live in brotherhood, solidarity, respect, cultural pluralism and social legitimacy. This has allowed her to influence the life of many, questioning the violence and the injustice.
In March 2017, Trina had the opportunity to visit Canada and to present her experience and work before students and teachers of the University of Ottawa. Likewise she met and shared her experience in Montreal with representatives, teachers and students of diverse schools. Trina also had the opportunity to meet diverse organizations of the civil society that promote the rights of vulnerable groups like children and teenagers. Upon her return to Venezuela, Trina visited Maracay, Valencia and Villa del Rosario in Zulia, where she sahred her experience in human rights defence with academics and other members of Venezuela’s civil society.
Special Mentions - 2016
Jose Gregorio Delgado - Jose Gregorio Delgado (Attorney, human rights defender) recognized for his career in favour of the defense and promotion of the rights of people with disabilities from all perspectives: educational, investigative and legal. He has played a key role as an adviser in relevant initiatives for the defense and promotion of the rights of people with disabilities in Venezuela. Jose Gregorio has carried out deep research, from the Venezuelan Observatory of People with Disabilities, and has offered advised in the process of the Reform of the Law in favour of People with Disabilities and in the technical working groups in the Ombudsman’s Office and the National Assembly during the 2015–2016 period.
William Requejo - William Requejo, with a trajectory of more than 20 years, was recognized for promoting participation and civil conviviality initiatives from his role in the association "Local Union for the Civil Participation" in Catia's communities. William, has been involved in the design and implementation of training and civil dialog campaigns for the communities such as, "Venezuela Coexist ", launched in 2004 and "Where are you going to, Venezuela?", executed since 2007. His tireless commitment with the defense of the participation and free expression rights make him a worthy representative of a responsible and consistent community activism.
Kerlys Hernández - Kerlys Hernández-Parra, a certified defender of children and teenagers, and was recognized for her career of more than 12 years as a facilitator of formative processes in public and private educational centres, on the Organic Law for the Protection of Children and Teenagers, as well as on the Protection and School Mediation System. In Barquisimeto, she has accompanied the training processes and social projects for organization such as Fe y Alegría, Foundation Centro Gumilla, CESAP, and at public sphere, in the Office for the Defense of Rights of Children and Teenagers.
Henderson Colina - Henderson Colina, was recognized for his work in the Environmental Association for the Environmental Preservation of the State of Falcon (AEPA-FALCON), from where he promotes the respect for the environment, as well as to the forms of ancient life as a part of the cultural heritage. Henderson is a role model and a renowned spokesperson for the rights and liberties of the communities in the State of Falcon. His work as a community facilitator, has allowed him to articulate efforts among the organized civil society, governmental institutions, development agencies, private sector and universities, maintaining at all times a tolerance and respect-based speech among all the players.
Seventh edition – 2015
José David González is the winner of the 7th Annual Human Rights Award. Mr. González has acted as the coordinator of the La Guajira Human Rights Committee. This position has allowed him to make an invaluable contribution to the defense of the human rights of the indigenous communities of La Guajira and the aboriginal peoples in the State of Zulia.
In February – March 2016, José David had the opportunity to visit Canada and present his experience and work to students and professors at the University of Ottawa. He also met some representatives of different civil society organizations who work for and promote the human rights of aboriginal groups in Canada, and shared his experience with them in Ottawa and Montreal.
Upon his return to Venezuela, José David shared his experience as a human rights advocate with the civil and academic society of Ciudad Bolívar and Puerto Ayacucho, and closed his tour with a presentation at Paraguaipoa.
Special mentions - 2015
Gloria Perdomo, the Executive Director of the NGO Luz y Vida, in Petare, Caracas, receives recognition for her extensive experience and perseverance in the defense of the rights of children and adolescents.
Nizar El Fakih
Nizar El Fakih, who is a lawyer that has performed outstanding work in the area of human rights defense through his commitment to coordinating and participating in the legal aid team for the defense of victims of the protests that took place in Venezuela in 2014.
La Quinta, Catuche Fe y Alegría Community Center
La Quinta, Catuche Fe y Alegría Community Center, which with the involvement and participation of the neighbors of the Catuche sector in La Pastora, Caracas, has managed to promote the right to life, and implemented processes of peace and coexistence in the community, which was being affected by armed violence.
Edgar López, who is a journalist whose experience is in promoting and disseminating information on human rights, which has made him an activist and a university professor who is an expert in this field.
The Alcatraz Project
The Alcatraz Project, an NGO in José Rafael Revenga Municipality, State of Aragua, which stands out as a social project that promotes the culture of inclusion, social coexistence, dispute settlement, and respect for human rights.
Sixth edition – 2014
At the sixth edition, the award recipient was attorney Marino Alvarado Betancourt for his performance as the coordinator of Provea, a post from which he made great contributions to the defense of economic, social, political and cultural human rights in Venezuela.
Marino Alvarado graduated as an attorney from the Central University of Venezuela in 1995. In 2012, he graduated from the same college in a specialization in international economic law. He began his professional career in 1995 at PROVEA, as a researcher on the situation of human rights in Venezuela. From 2008 to 2014 he has acted as the general coordinator of PROVEA. Since 1995, Marino Alvarado has been a litigator in domestic courts and international human rights protection institutions.
During his February-March 2015 agenda in Canada (Ottawa y Montreal), Marino Alvarado Betancourt had the chance to give a presentation on his work in Venezuela to the university community at Ottawa University and another presentation for academicians in the field of political sciences at McGill University in Montreal. Alvarado also met with student movement representatives and union representatives in Quebec, and with other non-profit organizations that carry out similar work to Provea in Ottawa as well as in Montreal.
As of October 2015, Marino Alvarado travelled to several cities in the interior of Venezuela to continue with his agenda as the recipient of the 2014 Human Rights Award.
Special mentions - 2014
Tamoa Calzadilla, a social communicator and researcher, has engaged in serious, responsible and scientific journalistic work in denouncing human rights violations, especially violations to freedom of expression. Her work as a professional journalist has enabled her to shed light on the flaws in accessing information in Venezuela, thereby contributing to the exercise of the right to information as set forth in the constitution.
Foro Penal Venezolano
The Foro Penal Venezolano organization -and its team nationwide- has a proven commitment to the defense of human rights. Foro Penal Venezolano has earned this mention for its outstanding accompaniment and denunciation of the victims of violations to the right to protest and due process, backing the victims as well as their family members. The efforts made by Foro Penal Venezolano have given a face to the victims, so that they do not become mere statistics. The organization also stands out for properly documenting and raising the awareness of the national and international communities regarding these violations.
The following persons who work at the Foro Penal Venezolano were nominated for the 6th edition of this human rights award: Luz María Alvares (Bolívar state), Jennie Gutiérrez (Carabobo state), Gonzalo Himiob Santomé (Caracas), Alfredo Romero (Caracas) and Raquel Sánchez (Táchira state).
Marcos Ponce, the coordinator of the Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictividad Social (in English, the Venezuelan Observatory on Social Conflict), stood out for his valuable contribution to the statistical follow-up and contextual analysis of the situations in which the right to protest was violated. His work has been a major contributing factor for the dissemination of social conflict nationwide, and has become a benchmark for other organizations seeking information on this topic.
Fifth Edition – 2013
At the fifth edition, the recipient of the award was attorney Carlos Nieto Palma, for his longstanding trajectory in defense of the rights of persons deprived of their freedom (persons incarcerated or in jail), as the coordinator of NGO Una Ventana a la Libertad.
Carlos Nieto Palma has stood out for more than twenty years in the defense and promotion of human rights for persons deprived of their freedom, and has even defended this group of persons at recognized international instances. In the course of 1997 he founded a non-governmental organization called Una ventana a la Libertad (in English, A Window to Freedom), pioneer in Venezuela in the defense of this group excluded from society. Dr. Nieto Palma has been a professor at several universities in the nation, and has been dedicated to exhaustively training citizens in the basic knowledge of human rights.
During his February-March 2014 visit to Canada (Ottawa and Toronto), Carlos Nieto Palma gave two presentations on his work in Venezuela to the university community, one in Ottawa University and another at the University of Toronto. Nieto Palma also met with several NGOs in Canada, similar to Una ventana a la Libertad, and visited three detention centers in Canada.
During June 2014, Carlos Nieto Palma was scheduled to visit several cities in Venezuela to continue fulfilling his agenda as the recipient of the 2013 Human Rights Award.
Special mentions - 2013
Daniel is a young man from Maracay, Aragua state, who in 2013 created a campaign he entitled “No soy tu chiste” (in English, ¨I am not your joke¨), which poses that bullying and mockery is a type of violence and that respect is the fundamental basis for any fair and just society. “No soy tu chiste” was born from his own real-life experiences as a victim of bullying for his Aspie (Asperger syndrome) condition and his sexual orientation. The need to educate the citizens and especially the youth, led Daniel Arzola to devise this campaign that includes fifty posters designed and used in a very creative and attractive way to promote the campaign through different media, including the use of social networks.
Esteban Antonio Sánchez González
Sánchez González is a man from Falcón state who has dedicated his life to artisanal fishing, an activity which led him to become active as an advocate of human rights since more than forty-seven years. He was born in the Amuay community, in Falcón state, and trained as a fishing expert at the Fundación La Salle Nueva Esparta (1966-1968), an experience which has enabled him to act as a coach at the Instituto de Capacitación Agrícola (INAGRO for its acronyms in Spanish, and in English the Agricultural Training Institute), imparting his knowledge related to diverse areas of artisanal fishing.
In 1966, with other fishermen and conch collectors, Sánchez González founded the Asociación de Pescadores Artesanales de la Bahía de Amuay (ASOPABA for its acronyms in Spanish and in English the Association of Artisanal Fishermen of Amuay Bay), a platform to foster the participation of fishermen in the promotion and respect for their rights, as well as a showcase from which Sánchez González has continuously worked in pro of local development and the defense of the human rights of the inhabitants of the area, the environment and the ancestral rights of his community.
Since 2008 Danny Rousseau, chairman of non-governmental organization Orgullo Guayana, initiated in Ciudad Guayana diverse activities to foster the visibility of gay groups, lesbians, bisexuals, trans-sexual persons and intersexual persons in Bolivar state, organizing each year activities such as marches, cine forums, conversations, workshops, courses and sports activities to dignify and defend the human rights of sexually diverse persons in various cities in Bolívar state, with the support of public and state institutions.
Thanks to his constant work organizing and training in this state, there are increasingly more persons and organizations that defend other minority groups which have become active in the promotion and defense of human rights in Bolívar state.
Fourth Edition – 2012
At the fourth edition the award recipient was Professor Luisa Pernalete, with an ample trajectory defending the right to life and inclusive, quality education for the needier persons in society.
Luisa Pernalete was selected for her outstanding work as a defender of the right to life and education for boys, girls and adolescents in the poorest and most excluded sectors of Venezuelan society, for her trajectory at Fe y Alegría since 1974, reaching the position of director at Fe y Alegría Zulia region chapter (1990-1997) and later as the regional director in Guayana (1998-2008). Member of the “Padre Joaquín” Training and Research Center at Fe y Alegría, Guayana chapter, since 2009 to date, thrusting forward the program entitled Madres promotoras de Paz (in English, Mothers Promoting Peace), active in the cities of Maracaibo, Caracas, Barquisimeto and Ciudad Guayana and a member since 1990 of Asamblea Provea.
During her March 2013 agenda in Canada (Ottawa and Toronto), Professor Pernalete had a chance to spend time and exchange ideas with representatives of the Canadian civil society, academicians, as well as Canadian government representatives connected to the defense of human rights, and specifically education rights. We can underscore the meetings held with the Canadian Institute of Child Health, the Ontario Autism Coalition, representatives of the “Breaking the Cycle” program and chief Gilbert Whiteduck of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg aboriginal community, among others. Professor Pernalete also offered a dissertation at the University of Toronto, where she had the chance to exchange info with students of that prestigious school of studies, interested in the topic of human rights.
Upon her return to Venezuela, we can point out her visit to Lara State and Barquisimeto, the city where she was born, where she had an opportunity to talk about her experiences in Canada as well as the work she does in Venezuela in several presentations for civil society in Lara state as well as students and academicians of the Universidad Centro Occidental Lisandro Alvarado.
Special mentions - 2012
Tamara Adrián is the founder and chairwoman of a collective of professionals entitled Diversidad e Igualdad a Través de la Ley (DIVERLEX for its acronyms in Spanish; in English, Diversity and Equality Through The Law), that tackles issues of sexual and reproductive rights, with a special emphasis on the rights of women and the rights of LGTB communities in Venezuela. Through her organization, Dr. Adrián carries out initiatives and actions or strategic lawsuits, the drafting of laws, institutional lawmaking and, in general, actions to protect the rights of persons in vulnerable conditions and legal segregation with respect to their rights.
Dr. Adrián has become a theoretical authority nationally and internationally, and served as a conference speaker at numerous events, including in Canada, disseminating knowledge on sexual and reproductive rights as human rights.
Comité de Víctimas contra la Impunidad del Estado Lara (COVICIL)
Founded in 2004, the Comité de Víctimas contra la Impunidad del estado Lara (Covicil for its acronyms in Spanish and in English, the Committee of Victims against Impunity in Lara State) is a popular organization that works in the poorer areas of the city of Barquisimeto in pro of persons who have been victims of police abuse, military abuse or abuse in the justice dispensing system who, due to the lack of resources to hire attorneys, have created a collective to share alternative legal strategies.
So far, Covicil has assumed, documented and acted in close to 400 cases, including those relating to violations to the right to life by police officers and military men in the region.
Third Edition - 2011
At the third edition the recipient of the award was Lisandro Raúl Cubas, one of the four founders of PROVEA (Programa Venezolano de Educación Acción en Derechos Humanos, in English the Venezuelan Education Program of Action in Human Rights). Mr. Cubas traveled to Ottawa and Montreal in April 2012 and afterwards visited San Cristóbal and Puerto Ordaz.
Raúl Cubas was selected for his trajectory as a key element in the consolidation and training of this important organization in the history of human rights in Venezuela, as well as for his contribution to strengthening other organizations such as the Federación Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos (Latin American Federation of Associations of Family Members of Arrested and Disappeared Persons), Venezuela chapter; for his labor in the defense of labor-related human rights jointly with the union movement and his participation researching for more than twenty-three years the annual report on the human rights situation in this nation, and recently as the coordinator of the Vicar of Caracas´ human rights report on the situation of male and female human rights advocates in Venezuela.
In Canada, Mr. Cubas had the opportunity of spending time with representatives of Amnesty International and the International Red Cross, as well as with representatives of the Parliamentary Center of Canada and the Department of Justice. Mr. Cubas exchanged knowledge with academicians by means of his participation at a round table organized by the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at Ottawa University and also had a meeting with the director of the Observatory of the Americas at the University of Québec in Montreal.
In Venezuela, Mr. Cubas shared his experiences in Canada with an audience in Táchira state at an event at the Universidad Católica del Táchira, aimed at academicians and students. He also had the chance to meet with diverse groups of civil society and local and state government representatives in the region interested in the topic of human rights. In Puerto Ordaz, Mr. Cubas shared his experiences in Canada with human rights organizations and advocates and activists in the scope of labor-related rights.
Special mention - 2011
Walter Trejo Urquiola
Is the general coordinator of the “Mons. Oscar A. Romero” Asociación Civil Cátedra de La Paz y Derechos Humanos (in English, Monsignor Oscar A. Romero Chair for Peace and Human Rights civil association), ascribed to the general department of culture of the Universidad de Los Andes in Mérida since 1988.
The Monsignor Oscar A. Romero Chair for Peace and Human Rights civil association is a community-based social development organization dedicated to generating the promotion, training in, and protection of human rights and a culture of peace for children, adolescents a and youth under a local sustainable development approach and labor intercultural activities with social players (family members, schools and the community) in Mérida state.
Additionally, through his work in the chair, Trejo has promoted education on and prevention of risk factors in youngsters on topics related to HIV/AIDS, STDs, sexual and reproductive health, and other issues.
In this edition, the jury specially recognized Walter Trejo´s more than 20 years´ trajectory at the Monsignor Oscar A. Romero chair, and the importance of taking this model to other regions in the nation.
Second Edition - 2010
At the second edition the recipient of the award was Feliciano Reyna, director of Sinergia y Acción Solidaria.
Feliciano Reyna was selected for his extraordinary dedication to the promotion and protection of Venezuelans living with HIV / AIDS, as well as for his role as leader in the human rights community where he is the director of one of the most important networks of human rights organizations in Venezuela. Mr. Reyna is also active internationally, as a member of the board of directors of CIVICUS.
Mr. Reyna traveled to Canada (Toronto and Ottawa) in February 2011, where he had the chance to meet with students and academicians of the law faculty at Ottawa University, representatives of Canadian civil society, working for the rights of persons affected with HIV/AIDS, NGOs promoting the rights of the LGBT community, the Ombudsman of Ontario and Canadian government officials.
Back in Venezuela, Mr. Reyna went to Puerto Ordaz city and spent time with students and professors at the law faculty of the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Guayana chapter. In Barquisimeto he sustained an academic encounter at the Universidad Centro Occidental Lisandro Alvarado and in Coro he spent time with professors and students at a meeting at Universidad Francisco de Miranda. In each of these visits Mr. Reyna participated in a series of activities for the exchange of ideas on the importance and role of civil society in the defense of human rights.
Special mentions - 2010
Casa de la mujer Juana Ramírez “La Avanzadora” (a Women´s refuge)
This home has the endorsement of 35 uninterrupted years of labor in pro of the rights of women, constituting a national and international benchmark in the integral care of victims of gender violence, as well as following up on the application of national laws and international treaties in pro of women.
A communications professional who has stood out for the rigorousness in the analysis of the situation of freedom of expression in Venezuela, to set the basis for the need to preserve the exchange of ideas in a climate of tolerance and respect, as required in a democratic society.
Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz (Support Network for Justice and Peace)
The Red de Apoyo por la Justicia y la Paz is a non-governmental organization that promotes and defends the right to life, integrity, freedom, personal safety and the sanctity of the home. The network is pioneer in the human rights movement in Venezuela, and in 2010 arrived at its XXV anniversary with ongoing relevant work in the struggle against cases of abuse of power and police authority.
Universitarios en Frontera
This is a group of volunteers seeking solutions to sociocultural issues in the frontier between Colombia and Venezuela. UNIVERSITARIOS EN FRONTERA (UF for its acronyms in Spanish) comprises pre-graduate students, professors and alumni of the Universidad Católica del Táchira (UCAT), who since 2009 work as volunteers in urban areas of San Cristóbal and rural communities in the Alto Apure. UF is an initiative corresponding to the commitment of organized provincial sectors to face violence, procure peace and reinforce peaceful cohabitation.
First Edition - 2009
At the first edition the recipient of the award was Humberto Prado, director of the Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones (in English, the Venezuelan Prisons Observatory).
Humberto Prado was selected for his outstanding work as an advocate for the rights of inmates in Venezuela, as well as for his tireless research in his quest for deeper knowledge on prison systems all over the world which take into account the dignity and human rights of these persons, which originated one of his greatest achievements: the creation in 2002 of the Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones (OVP for its acronyms in Spanish), a benchmark organization nationally and internationally in terms of the penitentiary conditions in Venezuela.
During his February 2010 agenda in Canada, we can underline that Mr. Prado had the chance of visiting three reclusion centers with varying levels of security, a visit organized by the Correctional Service of Canada. He also spent time with academicians and students interested in the human rights topic at Ottawa University and with academicians from Toronto University.
Upon his return to Venezuela, we can highlight Mr. Prado´s participation in events at the Universidad Católica del Táchira, the Universidad de Carabobo and the Universidad del Zulia, to share his experience in Canada with academic audiences and local government entities interested in the subject.
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