One more year, the Catalan Project Cities Defender of Human Rights 2016 counted on us to organise their interpretation team, which would cover for all events and meetings that took place between the 26th September and the 7th October 2016, two intense weeks that we were lucky to spend with these incredible people. The Project is organized by the Comissió Catalana d’Ajuda als Refugiats (Catalan Comission for Aid to Refugees), together with the Catalan Agency of Cooperation to Development and 12 City Councils from the province of Barcelona and Girona. Ciutats Defensores has the goal to give visibility to the humanitarian cause defended by these activists, who are witnesses of courage and integrity, since they and their relatives have been victims of the most fundamental human rights abuses.
On the 26th of January we were working in an event celebrated in the Palau de la Música in Barcelona to promote Social Business City Barcelona, with the participation of Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Price 2006, and of other entities commited with social business. It was an honour and a pleasure to listen to the author of the renown micro-credits system in Bangladesh. He offeres us his vision of the world where, if we would change the glasses that we are wearing, we would see economy not like a system for personal accumulation of wealth but rather for the benefit of the whole of society.
From the 29th September until the 9th October, 2015 we collaborated as interpreters for the Project for Human Rights Defender Cities, organised by the Catalan Commission of Assistance to the Refugee (CCAR), together with different Town Halls from the Barcelona region -Sant Boi, Viladecans, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Gavà, Castelldefels, Sant Just Desvern and Barberà del Vallès.
Six human rights defenders were invited who are working in different countries, and whose activism is causing them to be prosecuted, arrested, and even tortured or assaulted. The names of these brave activists are Maryam AlKhawaja, Ruth Mumbi, Yolanda Oquelín, Father Pedro Pantoja, Helena Maleno and Andrés Krakenberger. Two more defenders from Marocco and Rwanda had also benn invited but they were not able to attend due to the fact that they had been imprisoned in their countries because of their human right defense activism.
The days of the project were filled with energy and feeling. It was a great honour and pleasure to be able to participate and collaborate in raising awareness about the role played with our Western governments when it comes to promoting and defending human rights. We then realise that we can’t close our eyes to the current flagrant human atrocities such as migrants dying every day trying to cross a border, or being tortured and murdered by organised crime. We also have become aware that we must demand our Spanish government to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, since these two countries are violating the most basic human rights.