Trina Bajo is the winner of the 8th edition of the Human Rights Award of the Embassy of Canada in Venezuela

The Padre Luis María Olaso Center for Peace and Human Rights of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) and the Embassy of Canada have the pleasure too announce Trina Bajo is the winner of the 8th edition of the Human Rights Award.

This year’s theme – “We are all human rights defenders” – aims to underscore the critically important role of all citizens in promoting and safeguarding human rights.  It also aims to recognize the invisible advocates who make outstanding contributions to ensure that human rights are available to every sector of the population, and especially the most vulnerable. “We are all human rights defenders” sends the message that all of us, as citizens, can step up and defend human rights in our communities.

Trina Bajo is the embodiment of citizen commitment in the defense and promotion of human rights. She defines herself as a popular educator, and is nowadays the coordinator of social community pastoral activities at Fe y Alegría’s María Inmaculada School in the Unión slums in Petare. She has more than thirty-eight years of experience at Fe y Alegría and has been a tireless advocate for the rights of boys, girls and adolescents and a promoter of peaceful coexistence in some of the most violent and at-risk communities in Venezuela.

“It is not myself alone who must defend these rights; I must help other persons empower themselves, and I must also empower myself. If I defend my rights, I can help others defend theirs”… “To truly transform a context, unless I empower my fellow citizens, there shall be no transformation”.

Trina Bajo is the recipient of the 8th edition of the Human Rights Award.

For this edition, the jury granted special mentions to four other defenders of human rights in their communities: attorney José Gregorio Delgado (School of Neighbors - UNIANDES), William Requejo Orobio (from the Union of Neighbors for Citizen Participation), Kerlys Hernández de Parra (Fe y Alegría -Centro Gumilla – Center for the Service for Popular Action Barquisimeto (CESAP for its acronyms in Spanish) and Henderson Colina of the Ecological Association for the Environmental Preservation of Falcón State (AEPA FALCÓN for its acronyms in Spanish).

In 2009 the Center for Peace and Human Rights of the Central University of Venezuela and the Embassy of Canada joined efforts to create an award that recognizes the work of individuals and non-governmental organizations in promoting and defending human rights.  It focuses on the efforts, leadership and courage of Venezuelans and is rooted in the international human rights obligations shared by Venezuela and Canada.

“Working towards achieving the ideals of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights continues to be a key priority of Canada’s foreign policy”… “Canadians and Venezuelans share the same aspirations towards promoting and defending human rights”.

Ben Rowswell, the Ambassador of Canada in Venezuela

“The Human Rights Award is important because it helps to make visible the nationwide and international efforts of those who strive to promote and defend human rights".

Father Raúl Herrera, s.j. Director of the UCV’s Padre Luis Maria Olaso Center for Peace and Human Rights.

The jury this year was chaired by Father Raúl Herrera, s.j. (Director of the UCV’s Padre Luis María Olaso Center for Peace and Human Rights) and included the following representatives from the field of human rights in Venezuela: Luisa Pernalete, Laura Roldán, Francisco Valencia, Father Armando Janssen, Keymer Ávila.  On behalf of the Embassy of Canada, Craig Kowalik (Counselor) also participated.

Trina Bajo will receive the award today at a private event at the official residence of the Canadian ambassador. The prize includes a trip to Canada where the winner will meet universities, Canadian human rights organizations and government representatives.  Throughout the year, Trina will also tour several cities in Venezuela to share her experiences in the defense of human rights and to build new networks of collaboration.

For more information contact:

The officer for public affairs of the Embassy of Canada
Tel +58 212 6003163
Twitter: @EmbCanVenezuela
Facebook: CanadaenVenezuela