Alia Almirchaoui

When Alia was 13 years old, her parents died, leaving her in charge of her two brothers. With no way to provide for her family or pay rent, her neighbor pressured her into marrying him so that she and her brothers could continue to live in their home. Her husband soon became abusive. When Alia…

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Ana Sandoval

Ana Sandoval hadn’t yet finished high school when she began asking the questions that would lead her to co-found Communities in Peaceful Resistance “La Puya” to oppose a gold mining megaproject in her community. She soon became a leader of an unprecedented movement to defend land and resources, based on non-violent direct action and led…

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Azra Causevic

As an activist, trans, and queer person, Azra has experienced discrimination, hate speech, and violence. Her identity as an activist is rooted in a deep sense of justice and responsibility. “I really believe that as someone who has survived and lived through injustice it’s my duty to react and to do right against the injustice,”…

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Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay

Peace has been an elusive goal in Bai Bibyaon Bigkay’s lifetime, but she has never stopped working for it. For the Manobo leader, there can be no peace without the right to live and work in her ancestral lands in western Mindanao. Bai Bibyaon was born during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in World…

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Honorate Nizigiyimana

As a girl growing up in Burundi, Honorate Nizigiyimana experienced firsthand the disregard toward women’s and girls’ human rights. But instead of accepting this injustice, Honorate was inspired by it to pursue her work as a woman human rights defender. “Even though I am the eldest of my family, I am still considered to be…

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Irina Maslova

“At one point in my life I found myself in a challenging economic environment in Russia, and I had a really difficult period of time,” says Irina Maslova, a women human rights defender in Russia. “I know what sex work is from the inside, and I know its different aspects very well.” Irina began her…

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Khadra Al Sanah

In the south of Israel lies the Negev desert. Officially, part of the land is “unoccupied.” But in reality, half of the Negev’s 160,000 inhabitations of Palestinian Bedouin indigenous communities live in informal, unrecognized villages. Khadra Al Sanah has lived in the Negev all her life. Until recently, there was no electricity or running water…

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Leduvina Guill Zamora

When a little girl was sold to traffickers for $2,000; when a seven-year-old girl was raped by her stepfather; and when a woman was burned and abused by her husband over the course of 30 years, Leduvina Guill Zamora listened solemnly to their stories—then got to work immediately. She stepped in to advocate for girls…

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Magdalena Kafiar

The hardest thing about challenging civil rights violations in Papua is proving they exist. The Indonesian government has thrown a cloak of silence over past and current injustices, which makes speaking out and fighting back much more difficult—and dangerous. Magdalena (Magda) Kafiar, an indigenous Papuan and a church minister, has taken on the task of…

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Forces United for Our Disappeared in Coahuila and Mexico

Soon after then-president Felipe Calderon declared the war on drugs in Mexico in late 2006, human rights organizations began noticing an alarming trend. Alongside the soaring homicide rates, people were disappearing. Sons were abducted from their homes; fathers vanished on the highways; daughters never made it home from school. The police—either complicit with the criminals,…

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