They raise the profile of the struggle in Honduras
Despite a tougher climate and the fact that democratic development in Honduras and the world is moving backwards, Diakonia’s partner organization CDM continues to fight for women’s rights. “This is a lifelong task. Continuing to do what we do and highlighting what is going on,” says Gilda Rivera.
Gilda Rivera chairs Diakonia’s partner organization Centro de Derechos de Mujeres, CDM, a feminist organization that works for women’s rights and self-determination in Honduras.
“The democratic sphere is being limited in our country in several different ways by groups with power,” says Gilda Rivera.
In Honduras, activists and leaders who protest against injustice and discrimination are imprisoned, threatened and murdered.
“The economic and political elite wants to restrict people’s rights,” says Gilda Rivera.
“And this takes place through repression, threats and murder of people who believe in social justice and are working to counter discrimination and oppression. According to a report from Front Line Defenders, as many as 312 human rights defenders were murdered in 27 countries in 2017, most of them in Latin America.”
New legislation limits freedom of assembly
“People defending their rights are persecuted and criminalised. This generates fear,” says Gilda Rivera.
She points out how the media is often used to stigmatise and negatively portray human rights defenders and organizations. New legislation that limits freedom of assembly and association and freedom of expression has also been introduced. Religious and fundamentalist groups are trying to stop progress that has been made in terms of women’s rights by preventing women from participating and reinforcing stereotypical gender roles in society.
A lifelong task - facing storms
“The situation is generating stress and anxiety in us all. It’s preventing us from developing long-term strategies. It destroys families and the social collective. Sometimes I feel like just throwing in the towel,” says Gilda Rivera.
She thinks she could live a more peaceful life without such huge risks and being afraid if she gave up her job. But her political conviction is strong, and it helps her and others to continue despite the odds.
“This is a lifelong task. Facing the storms. Showing people other types of values and creating something positive,” says Gilda Rivera.