|Ladies in White marching for human rights in Cuba following Mass in Havana / AP|
Members of the Ladies in White and their loved ones over the course of 2012 have been subjected to death threats, physical assaults, arbitrary detentions and knife attacks. The previous year saw one of the founders of the movement die under suspicious circumstances.
The Ladies in White were founded in March of 2003 following a massive crackdown on the 18th of that same month in which over 100 activists were detained of which 75 were sentenced in show trials to up to 28 years in prison for their nonviolent defense of human rights and liberties.
These courageous women succeeded in obtaining the freedom of their loved ones after long years of struggle and have continued in their effort to free all remaining political prisoners and to see that the laws are changed in order to ensure that their are no more prisoners of conscience in Cuba.
The regime in Cuba has responded with violence and arbitrary detentions. The Ladies in White have responded by redoubling their efforts and expanding their nonviolent movement.
On the eve of International Human Rights Day and on December 10, 2012 itself more than a 100 of these women were arbitrarily detained, many of them violently by agents of the government of Cuba. Over the course of 24 hours, according to Hablemos Press, there were 207 politically motivated detentions across Cuba. This was done in order to prevent them taking part in activities on Human Rights Day. Others had their homes laid siege to and were unable to leave their homes without being attacked by regime organized mobs.
"We are women who are conscious of our nonviolent struggle against injustice and for freedom. If they throw us to the floor, we will stand up. No matter how many times it takes."
Human rights defenders in the Americas play a vital role in exposing and combating human rights violations. Many have paid a high price for their courageous efforts to break cycles of injustice, discrimination and impunity.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”Please take a minute and sign the petition to defend human rights defenders in the Americas and the Ladies in White in particular.