Sponsorship project “Defend the Defenders”Raising public awareness on the
situation of human rights defenders
2007, in the face of growing dangers that threaten the women and men who fight for
respect for human rights, OMCT – supported by the Swiss Federal Department of
Foreign Affairs – called upon several Swiss and international
personalities to put their fame in the service of the protection of human
main goal of the sponsorship project “Defend the Defenders” is to protect the
defenders who have become victims of persecution and acts of harassment as a
result of their activities in defense of fundamental rights and freedoms. By
encouraging Swiss and international personalities to rally around these
defenders, the project has created a chain of solidarity which extends beyond
the restricted circle of “specialists” and aims at mobilising public opinion,
the only real counterweight to the arbitrary power of States.
To see the current sponsors and "their" human rights defenders, click here
the framework of this project and amongst other activities, OMCT organised
solidarity missions in Mexico in 2008, the DRC in 2010, Brazil in 2011 and Cambodia in 2013.
Noémie Kocher accompanied a first solidarity mission in September 2008, to
support defender Marisela Ortiz Rivera and the struggle of the women of Ciudad
Juárez against the wave of killings of women in that city.This mission was thereafter the subject
of a documentary, "la lutte des femmes de Juarez, directed by Mr. Dominique Othenin-Girard.
Dick Marty and Dimitri accompanied the second mission of solidarity in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in February 2010 to support defender Justine Masika Bihamba and alert the public to
the fate of the Congolese human rights defenders struggling against impunity
for the perpetrators of sexual violence committed against women in the east of
November and December 2011, Noémie Kocher accompanied a third mission in Brazil to meet indigenous defenders Megaron and
Davi Kopenawa. One of the objective of the mission was to highlight how
indigenous peoples' rights are jeopardized by the economic development.
this mission, 2 documentaries were produced by Daniel Schweizer: