“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can.” Peter-Derrek Hof, Dutch Ambassador for Central America, repeated these words by Martin Luther King to officially launch Nexos, a Human Rights Program in Central America implemented by Hivos for the Embassy of the Netherlands. The initiative aims at raising awareness, strengthening the rule of law, increasing general safety and stimulating the climate of investment in Central America.
At a moment during the launch, Central American independent journalists, human rights defender organizations and activists all held a lit candle to symbolically illuminate the path we will need to follow towards achieving greater respect for human rights in the region.
Changing human rights landscape
Myrtille Danse, Hivos director for Latin America, bore witness to the newly changing landscape for human rights in the region as she opened the program. “Even if we worry about the state of the region, we know for sure that we have made great progress. We have seen genocide on trial in Guatemala and thousands of people in the street demanding transparency, condemning corruption and shouting “Not one (woman) fewer!”. We’ve seen social movements of resistance that add their voices to the general cry to keep fighting for peoples’ rights, and digital media telling the stories nobody else dares to. We’ve witnessed a generation of young people, who along with rights defenders and journalists, imagine stubbornly that an equal and just world is possible.”
Nexos is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and will run for two years. It focuses on urgent actions such as human right defenders empowerment so they can exercise their rights and promoting respect for human rights, especially in the case of women, LGBTI people and indigenous groups. Nexos will also work to create dialogue between the private sector and civil society organizations, implementing a regional mechanism of emergency funds and safeguards for defenders.
The program ended its first closed call to organizations and independent media that already have considerable experience in human rights such as FESPAD and El Faro from El Salvador, CENIDH and Confidencial from Nicaragua, Nómada and CALDH from Guatemala, CIPRODEH and C-Libre from Honduras, and the Platform against Impunity, CEJIL and the UN that work regionally.
Participate in our digital campaign A light for human rights
On December 10th we conmemorate International Human Rights Day. The Nexos program: Human Rights in Central America will join the United Nations Campaign, but is also calling on everyone to participate in the challenge: “A light for human rights”.The challenge consists in taking a selfie holding a light, which can come from a candle, a lighter or an artificial source: the idea is to interact in social media by posting the image and using the hashtags: #AlightForRights and #HumanRightsDay.
Next Call: Innovative Projects
An open call will be issued in February 2017 to select a second group of Nexos participants. New projects will focus on social innovation with a regional approach in Central America. In addition, a permanent call will be made to access emergency funds for protecting human right defenders. These funds will be available for all countries, but human rights violations in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador will be prioritized because of the growing climate of insecurity and repression of freedom of expression there in the last years.