WOLA profoundly laments the sudden death of Ana Paula Hernández, a colleague and dear friend to many on the WOLA staff, who committed her life to the defense and support of human rights in Latin America. On Sunday, April 7, Ana Paula passed away after the car that she was in with her colleague, Sally O’Neill, a WOLA board member, Guatemalan human rights defender Ana Velásquez, and Daniel Tuc, went off the road in Huehuetenango, Guatemala.
Ana Paula’s work at the Fund for Global Human Rights since 2011 was instrumental in supporting key local human rights organizations in Mexico and Central America in their work to hold governments and corporations accountable for human rights violations and other atrocities and crimes. Whether it was accompanying families of the disappeared in Mexico or visiting with indigenous communities resisting mining companies encroaching on their territories across Central America, Ana Paula embraced them in their struggle.
Apart from her work at the Fund, WOLA staff had the honor of working with Ana Paula during her time at the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center, the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, and through various consultancies, to advocate for respect for human rights in Mexico with U.S. policymakers and the Mexican government.
Ana Paula also collaborated with WOLA in promoting human rights- based drug policies. She joined a WOLA-TNI research team, writing the first report on drug policy and prisons in Mexico that was part of a larger regional study on that topic released in 2010. That research team then became the Research Consortium on Drugs and the Law (Colectivo de Estudios Drogas y Derecho, CEDD).
Ana Paula’s warmth, joy and passion for life and for human rights was reflected in all that she did. She became a focal point for many local organizations and left a strong mark on the work to support human rights in Mexico and Central America. She will be dearly missed by WOLA and countless others in the region.
WOLA expresses our deepest condolences to Ana Paula’s family, friends, and the staff of the Fund for Global Human Rights.
See WOLA’s statement on WOLA board member Sally O’Neill here.
See the Fund for Global Human Rights statement here.