Shine Your Light for Human Rights

A series of 14 events across seven time zones spotlighting the centrality of rights to the daily lives of people everywhere.


Shine your light for women’s rights

20 December 2018, Santiago

UDHR Article 1 which recognises that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, has critical and specific relevance for women.

This event will shine a light on the contribution that women human rights defenders bring to the elaboration of rights for all and we will celebrate champions of women’s rights standing up from Chile and from the broader region.

11 December 2018 – The United Nations celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in Chile, with a special focus on the role of women human rights defenders.

The activities took place at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, in Santiago, and included talks by women human rights defenders (PDF) of South America and a huge concert by Chilean singer Francisca Valenzuela.

Mr Hernán Larraín, Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Chile, opened the event with Ms Silvia Rucks, the UN Resident Coordinator in Chile, assisted by Ms Birgit Gerstenberg, the Representative for South America of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Mr Francisco Javier Estévez, the Director of the Museum of Memory.

María Soledad Cisternas, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Disability and Accessibility emphasized how important it was “that the authorities, the feminist movements and society as a whole consider the diversity of women, for a real legal equalization, leaving no one behind". Ms. Stella Zervoudaki, the Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union, and the Director of the National Human Rights Institute of Chile, Ms. Consuelo Contreras; and Ambassador Ricardo Rojas, of the Chilean Foreign Ministry also supported human rights by highlighting the continued relevance of the principles enshrined in the UDHR, 70 years after its adoption by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948.

The nine women human rights defenders from across South America featured Pamela Martín García (Argentina), a sexual and reproductive rights activist; Martina Barra (Bolivia), an Afro-Bolivian defender; Maria da Penha (Brasil), a violence against women activist; Emilia Schneider (Chile), a campaigner against sexism in education; Rocío Rosero (Ecuador), a women’s rights activist; Tina Alvarenga (Paraguay), an indigenous and environmental leader; Beatriz Caritimari (Peru), an indigenous peoples’ activist; Brenda Sosa (Uruguay), a representative of women victims of dictatorship; and Alejandra González (Venezuela), a migrants’ rights defender.

Francisca Valenzuela ended the event with a concert, ending on a note of hope. The Chilean musician and activist performed her greatest hits in front of over 4,000 fans at the Museum of Memory’s plaza. The artist invited the women human rights defenders on stage, and they received a standing ovation.

The activity was organized in partnership with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice and Human Rights of Chile, the National Human Rights Institute, the Delegation of the European Union and the Embassy of Norway in Chile.

Watch the video

  • I will respect your rights regardless of who you are. I will uphold your rights even when I disagree with you
  • When anyone’s human rights are denied, everyone's rights are undermined, so I will stand up
  • I will raise my voice. I will take action. I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.

people have stood up for human rights

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