The Federal Foreign Office, together with its embassies in Central America and the Caribbean, is organizing a regional conference in Panama for human rights activists on 17 and 18 April. Markus Löning, the Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner, has issued the following statement today (15 April) in Berlin:
I am delighted to be able to meet human rights defenders from Central America and the Caribbean at this event. Human rights defenders are, in my view, everyday heroes. They make an immeasurable contribution to improving human rights around the world, often at great personal risk. Supporting and protecting such people is one of the goals of our human rights policy. This is why we have, in the last two years, organized conferences at various locations around the world in conjunction with our embassies and human rights defenders.
Our embassy staff and I myself hope to learn more about the human rights situation in the region by talking to local human rights defenders. The conference also aims to further improve our practical human rights work in the area.
Central America and the Caribbean is an important partner region for Germany, which, however, rarely finds itself in the international spotlight. We therefore feel it is all the more important to enter into an intensive dialogue with representatives from the region. I am thus very pleased to have the opportunity to talk to human rights activists from thirteen different countries.”
This is already the fourth conference organized by the Federal Foreign Office for human rights defenders. Following events for South America, the Middle East, North Africa and West Africa, the focus this time is on Central America and the Caribbean region. Human rights defenders from thirteen countries including Mexico, Panama, Haiti, Cuba and Guyana, will be brought together with embassy staff. The conference will focus on human rights issues of significance in the region, such as women’s rights, the rule of law, impunity, organized crime, freedom of opinion and press freedom, as well as the rights of indigenous peoples and sexual minorities.