Life stories

In this section, human rights defenders explain, in their own words, their struggles for the right to land and to protect their environment.  Their stories make clear the great risks and challenges they face in their work, but also serve as inspirational testaments to their bravery and determination.


Land of Corn is the story of four environmental and land rights defenders accompanied by PBI - Sara Méndez who is supporting local communities in their opposition to wind farms in Mexico; Martín Gómez is a leader of an indigenous movement resisting a hydroelectric scheme in Honduras, Mary Hernández, internally displaced because of threats she received while defending her land from a range of economic interests in Colombia, and Adrian Kal who has been fighting for the past 15 years for his community´s land in Guatemala, which was sold to a logging firm. As they explain their work and daily struggles, the audience learns about the threats they receive, their fears and the lack of protection mechanisms in their countries.


Empoderadas ('Empowered') features the testimonies of WHRDs who attended a training course given by PBI in Mexico in 2015, as well as of other Mexican WHRDs, including their reflections on the subject of integral protection (see 'Security and Protection' section for more details of the course)

Dignas - Voices of women human rights defenders in Mexico - This 2012 report by PBI highlights the leading role played by Mexican women in social movements promoting human rights in recent decades, including those working on land and environmental rights. It also raises awareness of the current situation and the challenges facing these WHRDs when carrying out their work: the serious threats made against them and members of their families, sexual violence, smear campaigns, and obstacles in their access to justice. 19 WHRDs, who have witnessed human rights violations in at least 10 Mexican states, explain their achievements and the risks defending and promoting human rights. 

In Guatemala, PBI publishes Boletines Populares (People's Bulletins) which recount the experiences human rights defenders in their own words (only available in Spanish). They include one devoted to WHRDs and another to the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya and its defence of land and water.