Prize of Human Rights Martine Anstett - 2016 Prize

Prix 2016 Association Prix Martine Anstett
Video of the Ceremony on April 29, 2016 (in French)

In case of problem with the video, here is the YouTube link

One year later to the sudden loss of Martine Anstett, the Human Rights Prize that bears her name, was awarded to Peruvian César Estrada on April 29, 2016. He was the first recipient of the award.

César Estrada ChuquilinCésar Estrada Chuquilin (Peru) is a spokesman of the indigenous community and a member of the Red Comunicadores Indigenas del Perú - REDCIP (a network of indigenous communicators in Peru). Since the age of 14, he has been a "Rondero" and has worked to protect the interests of his indigenous community against third parties (the function is recognized by the Peruvian Constitution which provides for some autonomy and quasi-judicial functions to some community representatives).

He has denounced a number of abuses about regional land conflicts - including the case of the Chaupe family - and environmental issues related to the Conga mining project in Cajamarca region. The Conga mining megaproject is implemented by the Yanacocha consortium, consisting of a United States company (Newmont), a Peruvian company (Buenaventura) and the World Bank. None of the communities that were affected by the project were consulted. To impose the project, the State declared a state of emergency and continued to prosecute the community members who opposed it. The State authorized the use of force against the movement contesting the project, a choice that cost the lives of five people.

César Estrada Chuquilin has also denounced all the threats against the members of peasant communities that opposed the mining project. Through audiovisual means and social networks, he participated in the dissemination of information, which helped draw the attention of national and international organizations of human rights.

Since 2011, he has been the subject of ongoing death threats, acts of intimidation and attacks against him and his family, especially his father and his wife. César Estrada Chuquilin is still a victim of judicial harassment. He has been unjustly accused of theft and financial irregularities, and abducting a businesswoman of Yanacocha. In 2014, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued interim measures to protect him.

In September and October 2015, this defender was a victim of assassination attempts. He was attacked in September while returning to Celedin after an inspection visit with the lagoon guards at Conga lakes, where they were assessing the environmental impact of the mining project on the region. The lagoon guards have also been victims of judicial harassment because of their opposition to the Conga mining project. Since the 2015 attack, César Estrada Chuquilin has suffered from health problems. Even recently, a few days ago, he received threats when his trial was to begin.


Preselection Meeting Report for Nominations to Martine Anstett Prize of Human Rights (12 January 2016)

The Preselection Committee with Frantz Vaillant (President), Louis Joinet (Vice President) and Delphine Couveinhes Matsumoto (General Secretary) met on January 12 to decide on a shortlist of five candidates. The list will be forwarded to the Committee in charge of the ultimate selection next February.

Several criteria were prior to the choice of the five selected profiles: a geographical representation, a renowned action in the field of the human rights, special circumstances (political situation, imprisonment, etc.) and a topical quest.

After exchanging on the diverse profiles, the Committee retained the 5 following candidates:

César Estrada - Peru (proposed by Michel Forst)

A journalist and member of REDCIP - Red de Comunicadores Indígenas del Perú (a network of indigenous communicators in Peru), César Estrada has denounced a number of abuses about regional land conflicts - including the case of the Chaupe family - and environmental issues related to the Conga mining project in Cajamarca region. In September 2015, this defender was the victim of an assassination attempt. He has already suffered severe persecution and intimidation, defamation, harassment, threats, attacks and theft because of his legitimate and peaceful work in the human rights. He is still a victim of an ongoing judicial harassment, notably being unjustly accused of theft, financial irregularities and abducting a business woman of Yanacocha. NGO Front Line Defenders are deeply concerned about his physical and psychological integrity, as well as his security. They believe that the death threats against this defender of the human rights are directly related to his legitimate work, especially when he denounces abuses linked to the Conga and Yanacocha mining project at Cajamarca in Peru. The award will help protect him and salute his action in an area where Latin American defenders are constantly threatened.

Juan Carlos Trujillo Herrera - Mexico (proposed by the FIDH)

He set up a network of missing family members "Familiares in Busqueda Maria Herrera" after the disappearance of four of his brothers in 2008 and 2010. He created the association in order to provide support to the families of missing persons (helping them complete their legal file and conduct research, for example). The association has held national marches to denounce the problem of these enforced disappearances, thus ensuring the presence and scheduling of the association in the political agenda. Their organization is carried out with very few resources; yet, their impact is certain. The award will help give visibility to the work of the association in a major area in Mexico where forced disappearances are ever so numerous.

Djeralar Miankeol - Chad (proposed by the FIDH)

Djeralar Miankeol was sentenced to a two-year imprisonment for "contempt of court", but Moundou Court of Appeal ordered his unconditional release on July 28, 2015. The Observatoire welcomed the acquittal of the land rights defender who is in charge of Ngaoubourandi Association, an organization that opposes land grabbing and is active on issues relating to oil production.

Nora Bowier - Liberia (proposed by Frantz Vaillant)

She is the program coordinator for Sustainable Development Institute of Duarzon in Liberia. She is currently monitoring the implementation of three programs for the protection of community lands, communities’ rights, corporate management, and governance of forests. She considers it essential that communities participate in decision-making. In 2013 and 2014, Nora organized and supervised nine consultations with the rural communities about the draft law on land rights. She closely worked with land rights activists and defenders of the human rights in order to inform more than 580 participants on the law project. She also collected opinions which were those of the community and brought together counter-proposals with a view to protecting the law provisions in favor of the community . Nora Bowier is a very committed person in the field of women's rights and environmental protection.

Pacifique Nininahazwe - Burundi (proposed by the FIDH)

A certified lawyer, he has been FOCODE President since its creation in 2001. Pacifique NININAHAZWE was born on June 18, 1976 at IJENE (in NGOSI Province at the time) before his parents permanently settled in MAKAMBA. Concerned with the issue of national reconciliation, he created the Organization for Renaissance and Consciousness (ORECO) in 1996 with a number of his classmates at RUTANA high school in order to address a context of violence and ethnic mistrust that was threatening peace in the school. He enrolled at Burundi University in 1998, less than three years after the bloodshed at MUTANGA University Campus. Pacifique NININAHAZWE joined 26 of his comrades - from different regions and ethnic components of the country - in creating the Forum of Consciousness and Development (FOCODE). He has been elected first President since 2001. He is General Secretary of Christian Action against AIDS and Poverty (ACSP); also a founding member of Burundi Green Movement (BGM) and the Organization for Governance and Transparency (OTRAG); a member of the monitoring committee of national consultations on transitional justice mechanisms (a committee elected and renewed by delegates of various civil society organizations of Burundi in July 2008 ). The award to a key-player of Burundi civil society could be of great help in a context of extreme tension.

A complete record on the five candidates will be forwarded to the selection committee a few days before the meeting of the jury.