When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the north of Italy, Sister Alicia went to Italy and treated the nuns, ignoring the serious danger she might be exposed to.
Maximilienne C. Ngo Mbe has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, courage and perseverance in promoting human rights, despite the troubles in Cameroon and Central Africa. Maximilienne has become a prominent voice among civil society actors, often putting her security at risk, in line with efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon. She called for an end to human rights violations involving separatists and security forces in the Northwest and Southwest regions and security forces in the Far North. Maximilienne has also spoken out against the growing restrictions of the Government of Cameroon against civil society, journalists and political opposition. Despite the intimidation, threats and attacks she faced, she did not compromise her commitment to promoting human rights.
Mayerlis Angarita bravely defended peace and human rights in Colombia, often at great risk. Mayerlis’ efforts have increased the safety, livelihood and stamina of countless women leaders, victims of conflict and the society in which they live. Mayerlis, who found that storytelling was good for people after her mother was forcibly disappeared during the conflict in Colombia, founded the non-governmental organization “Narrate to Live”, which serves more than 800 women living in the conflict environment today. In addition, he recently contacted senior officials of the Colombian Government in order to advance a comprehensive action plan to prevent violence against women leaders in his society. Its constructive contributions to 27 public institutions, civil society and the international community played a key role in the success of this action plan and led it to serve as a model for the protection of human rights defenders across Colombia.
A new leader who is likely to play a role in shaping his country in the coming years. Phyoe Phyoe Aung is one of the founders of the Wings Institute for Reconciliation, which facilitates exchange programs between young people belonging to different ethnic and religious groups. His work promotes peacebuilding and reconciliation and enables vital dialogue between federalism and transitional law. In 2015, his march from Mandalay to Yangon was violently suppressed by Myanmar Police forces near Yangon, and Phyoe Phyoe and his wife were arrested and imprisoned. Phyoe Phyoe was released in April 2016 as part of a wide amnesty for political prisoners whose trial continued after 13 months in prison.
Muskan Khatun was instrumental in the introduction of a new legislation to punish acid attacks and strong penalties against perpetrators of acid attacks in Nepal. When Muskan was 15, he was seriously injured in an acid attack after he refused romantic offers from a boy. With the help of a social worker, Muskan lobbied for stronger legal action against perpetrators of acid attack under pressure from threats and the strong social stigma of acid attack victims.