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March 3, 2011

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Colombian human rights defender to visit B.C.

BURNABY—Her work defending labour and human rights has become invaluable to her compatriots. And her courage in deciding to remain in her home country despite frequent death threats has inspired activists around the world. This month, Berenice Celeyta is visiting Canada to share her story, provide an update on the human rights situation in Colombia and thank Canadians for their ongoing support.

Celeyta is the director of NOMADESC (Association for Research and Social Action), a human rights organization that works to educate, defend and build community based programs for peace and social justice in southwestern Colombia. In her more than 20 years as a human rights defender, Celeyta has worked with many different communities and organizations, particularly with indigenous peoples, afro-Colombian communities and the labour movement.

Sadly, the renowned activist has also been the target of death threats and harassment, most recently in January of this year. Celeyta credits national and international solidarity for allowing her to remain in Colombia and continue her work despite the serious ongoing threats. CoDev has worked with her and NOMADESC since 2003.

On Sunday (March 6), CoDev will present an evening with Celeyta, including the screening of a short film, “Defensora”, about her life and her commitment to defending human rights in Colombia, and a talk by the activist herself. The event, which begins at 7 p.m., will take place at Rhizome Café (317 East Broadway, Vancouver).

On Monday morning, Celeyta will visit CUPE’s B.C. regional office to speak to CUPE BC officers and CUPE staff.

For more information, visit codev@codev.org.

cope491

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