"When one feels weak in this work, fear, terror, I think of the faces of the victims, and that's when I think, I cannot fail."
- Reynaldo Villalba Vargas, Human Rights Lawyer
Colombia’s internal armed conflict between government forces, paramilitaries, and guerrilla groups has been waged since the ‘60s, resulting in decades of war crimes, massacres, disappearances, and the displacement of more than 5 million people.
Today, the level of death threats, attempted attacks, and risk of exile remains high despite the historic peace agreement between the government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). More recently, human rights defenders are confronting a new, subtler threat: smear campaigns.
To support defenders risking their lives in Colombia, the New Media Advocacy Project launched a video series in collaboration with Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo, Corporación Jurídica Yira Castro, and Comisión Intereclesial Justicia y Paz in celebration of Human Rights Day in Colombia on September 9. Entitled Words That Kill, the series illustrates how human rights defenders and the victims they work for are affected by defamation campaigns' deadly words.
Words That Kill: The Defamation of Human Rights and Defenders is a joint effort between the Colective de Abogados Jose Alvear Restrepo, Corporacion Juridica Yira Castro, Comision Intereclesial Justicia y Paz, Bertha Foundation, and New Media Advocacy Project, this video series shows the shared experience of defenders who have suffered defamatory attacks on their character for their work defending human rights.
Watch the rest of the films in this series at http://www.newmediaadvocacy.org/words-that-kill/
All video and photography copyright Tom Laffay. Any use requires explicit authorization. Thank you.