Many things have changed since WOLA was established in 1974, fighting dictatorships in South America. But we are also witnessing a fresh rollback on human rights, one of dramatic proportions. We are now struggling against regimes that promote new versions of the dangerous and authoritarian approaches we saw in the past.
What has not changed, however, is our resolution to stand side by side with Latin America’s brave human rights movement to fight for human rights and justice to be a reality for all.
Every year, we honor organizations or individuals who have worked tirelessly to promote human rights, democracy, and justice in Latin America. Our awardees are organizations or individuals who exemplify a commitment to WOLA’s vision for the future, where human rights and social justice are the foundation for public policy.
This September, we will honor the tireless work and inspiring bravery of:
The Maya Achi women of Rabinal and the Maya Q’eqchi’ women of Sepur Zarco in Guatemala for their determination, over many decades, to bring to justice the paramilitary and military officials responsible for their sexual violence during the Guatemalan internal armed conflict in the early 1980s. These women fought endless obstacles over the course of decades for government prosecutors to bring charges and for the courts to hear their cases. Today, they are an inspiration to millions of women and girls around the world who are seeking justice for wartime rape and other forms of gender-based violence.
Salvadoran human rights lawyer at Cristosal, David Morales, who is the lead prosecuting lawyer representing the victims of the massacre of El Mozote, where scores of people were killed by members of a U.S.-trained elite force during El Salvador’s civil war in the early 1980s. His uphill battle for justice continues to this day, as he fights the attacks of President Nayib Bukele who is leading a campaign to suspend human rights and against lawyers like him.
Representative Joaquín Castro (D – TX 20th District) for his unwavering commitment to human rights at the U.S.-Mexico border and in U.S. policy towards Latin America. Castro has worked to promote policies that protect vulnerable migrants at the border and regionally and has consistently uplifted human rights concerns in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America.
To learn about past WOLA Human Rights Award Recipients, please click here.