Human Rights Defenders
Bob Kafka | Disability Rights | USA
Bob Kafka is a leader and National Organizer for ADAPT, the largest national grassroots organization using nonviolent advocacy to protect the rights of people with disabilities. Bob first undertook civil disobedience in 1984 to secure access to public transportation for people with disabilities. After passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADAPT set its sights on the nursing home industry to assure that people with disabilities would not be institutionalized because of the lack of community services and supports. Bob has been arrested more than 30 times fighting for the civil and human rights of people with disabilities.
Denis Mukwege | Fighting Sexual Violence | CONGO
Dr. Denis Mukwege is a Congolese gynecologist who has devoted the past 15 years to treating women who have been traumatized by rape and calling for those who commit this crime to be brought to justice. In 2012, Dr. Mukwege gave a speech at the United Nations condemning the lack of accountability for rape in Congo, openly criticizing the international community, armed groups, and the Congolese government. In 2012, Dr. Mukwege survived an assassination attempt during which his bodyguard was killed. He and his family fled Congo, but returned in 2013 to continue his work at Panzi Hospital, where he and his colleagues provide medical and psychological care for thousands of survivors of rape.
Alina Diaz | Immigrants’ Rights | USA
Alina Diaz was vice-president and a founding member of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas and continues as a member of this organization to promote the rights of women farmworkers in the United States, the first of its kind. Drawing on her own experience of abuse and poverty as an unauthorized immigrant from Colombia, Alina became a community educator. Today, she travels to immigrant communities, raising awareness among women about their right to report domestic violence, sexual abuse, and other mistreatment. She helps to make sure the voices of women farmworkers are heard at the national level, where she works to educate policymakers and the public about the dangers women farmworkers face.
Anastasia Smirnova | LGBT Rights | Russia
Anastasia Smirnova is an activist with the Russian LGBT Network, an interregional NGO that promotes equal rights and respect for human dignity, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. She was arrested in 2014 for holding posters calling for Russia and the Sochi Olympics to uphold Principle 6, the nondiscrimination clause in the Olympic Charter.