Karen Mejía – We Are All Human Rights Defenders #WAAHRD

My name is Karen Mejía. I was born in San Pedro Sula in Honduras in 1984. Honduras has been ranked as one of the most dangerous countries in the world. We have the highest range of homicides. It’s a result of many factors… …the narcotraffic, the militarisation and also the bad government. I am working for sexual and reproductive rights… …and also I am working in a protocol for victims of sexual abuse in my country. With other partners we study about the disappearance of women. We don’t have enough evidence to say who is behind the crimes. Because we have a lack of proper investigation in our country. Living as a human rights defender in Honduras is very difficult because… …we are dealing with follow-ups by military or police. And with the persecution of our ideas. After 6 pm you need to hide in your home… …because you are dealing with crime all the time. A lot of people were killed in the streets… …young people, young women… …you are under attack all the time, without reason. People that I have known are dead now. They deserved a better life… …they deserved to live 100 years I think. We need to fight for keeping the hope and it’s a fight for life I think… …and for the love also. As a human rights defender I saw an advertisement about a space for a break. A possibility for rest. The Shelter City initiative is an amazing opportunity for human rights defenders like me… …and other human rights defenders around the world working in very hard conditions… …for rethinking, how we can do our job better. The first time that I came to Amsterdam I just ran and walked… …in the streets without any direction, because I wanted to feel the freedom to walk. It’s a basic thing but I can’t do this in my country. We live in two separate universes. In Amsterdam everything works… …the health, the government. I don’t know why the world is like this, because we are all equal… …we all deserve these kind of things. Freedom is for the humanity. It makes me emotional thinking about the contrast… …when you see how the girls grow here… …and how the girls grow in my country. For me, the conditions in which the Dutch people are living are not a privilege. They are basic human rights. Access to justice, to education… …to health… …and also to the freedom. We are not free, until all the people are free. And you have a human right defender inside.

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