Send a Christmas message to the brave

Some people around the world risk everything to defend our sisters and brothers and our common home.

Don’t forget them this Christmas – send a message of solidarity to the brave.

Who are the brave?

Last year, 164 people were killed while protecting their land from industries like mining and logging. Hundreds more were threatened or criminalised.

These defenders protect more than their own land. Forests and soils help stop climate change, and provide air and water for everyone to enjoy.

And it's not just the environment. Brave individuals and communities risk everything to speak up for peace and human rights too. 

Jose Batista Afonso

Jose Batista Afonso

Batista was born in the countryside, the son of rural workers. He grew up deeply connected to the land.

Batista was born in the countryside, the son of rural workers. He grew up deeply connected to the land.

He hadn’t planned on being a lawyer. This changed after rural leaders he knew were being routinely assassinated.

For over 20 years, Batista has worked for CAFOD’s partner, the Pastoral Land Commission, defending the rights of landless communities in the Brazilian Amazon.

Brazil is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for land and environmental defenders. Communities are violently evicted, threatened and killed for defending their rights to land and protecting the environment. Batista has personally received death threats.

Write a message to Batista

Language: Portuguese

“I understand the importance of the land rights struggle... This motivates me, helping those who don’t have land to get it, helping guarantee the rights of those denied them, and ensuring that those responsible for violating these rights are brought to justice.”

Jose Batista Afonso

Nora Nassar

Nora Nassar

Nora is the headteacher and volunteers with CAFOD partner Jerusalem Legal Aid Center.

In the heart of Hebron, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank, are 700 settlers guarded by almost as many soldiers. Few Palestinians can enter the street of Qurtuba primary, a Palestinian school. Even with clearance, students and teachers on their way to school are harassed by soldiers and settlers and delayed at checkpoints.

Nora is the headteacher and volunteers with CAFOD partner Jerusalem Legal Aid Center.

Settlers intimidate the students and even beat them up. Nora is on this front line every day standing alongside her pupils and teachers, often getting attacked herself.

Write a message to Nora

Language: English

“We ask for the basic right of our students to go to school. We will continue to complete our students’ education, even with all the hardships, obstacles and violations we face.”

Nora Nassar

Honourable Albert Lokoru Kiyonga

Honourable Albert Lokoru Kiyonga

MP Albert Lokoru Kiyonga strongly defends the land and labour rights of indigenous people, many of whom work as miners.

Even people with power are unsafe. Affectionately known as Ekoriita (‘brown and white spotted bull with sharp horns’), local MP Albert Lokoru Kiyonga strongly defends the land and labour rights of indigenous people, many of whom work as miners.

Land conflicts taint contemporary Uganda, driven by land grabbing by companies and insecure tenure of local people; livelihoods are not guaranteed.

The local cement company and district leaders threatened Albert’s life and openly intimidated him. The National Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (NCCJP), a CAFOD partner, has stood beside him.

Write a message to Albert

Language: English

“We commit to pursue justice for the economic and social benefit of our people.”

Honourable Albert Lokoru Kiyonga

Fuerza Mujeres Wayuu

Fuerza Mujeres Wayuu

Fuerza Mujeres Wayuu, part of a CAFOD project, makes visible the deaths, displacements and disappearances of their families, as well as the violation of rights of the women.

The leaflets came under the door. They bore the letterhead of the ‘Black Eagles - Capital Block’, They listed the names and photographs of members of the Fuerza Mujeres Wayuu (Wayuu Women’s Force movement). A warning.

Requests to the Colombian government for protection go unheard.

Fuerza Mujeres Wayuu, part of a CAFOD project, makes visible the deaths, displacements and disappearances of their families, as well as the violation of rights of the women.

In the face of social and environmental impacts caused by big businesses, corruption and state abandonment, they continue the struggle for justice.

This year alone, the movement has received six threats.

Write a message to Fuerza Mujeres Wayuu

Language: Spanish

“ Weave little by little for the future, a world more just than the one we had to live.”

Fuerza Mujeres Wayuu

How to join in

Brave individuals and communities risk everything to speak up for the environment, peace and human rights.

This Advent, amid the busyness of the season, the waiting in joyful expectation, remember that they are waiting too – for justice and safety.

Top tips:

  • Use Google to translate short messages.
  • Be as personal as you can – it makes a big difference.

Send a Christmas message of solidarity

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