In Burkina Faso, Dr. Daouda Diallo is a pharmacist by training and a committed human rights defender. In 2019, he witnessed a violent clash between Burkinabe civilians, government military, local paramilitary groups and Islamist factions, where almost 200 innocent civilians across 20 villages lost their lives. Dr. Diallo strives to document human rights violations by both government factions and Islamist groups, reminding civil societies across the world of the need for human rights protection especially in the event of abysmal functioning of the rule of law and in conditions of extreme poverty.
He oversees the medical laboratory of The Centre Hospitalier Régional Dédougou and is also the founder and Secretary General of the Collectif Contre l’impunité et la Stigmatisation des Communautés since 2019 (Collective Against Impunity and Stigmatisation of Communities, or the CISC). His objective has been to restore social cohesion among the varying ethnic groups of Burkina Faso. He conducts numerous investigations, writes reports and has been a reliable news source for international organizations and media channels.
Dr. Diallo is highly trusted and revered by his victims, given his empathetic and kind manners; by international actors, for his analysis and information on abuses; and by NGO workers, who see him as a leader willing to give voice to their calls for justice.
He has been the subject of numerous threats, ranging from stalking, robbery, and administrative hurdles to serious death threats, most notably in connection with his public statements and advocacy regarding the massacre in Yirgou in January 2019 by Islamist factions and other militias. Despite working in such vulnerable conditions, Dr. Diallo remains committed to the protection of human rights in Burkina Faso and his courage has been contagious to many other Human Rights Defenders.
A documentary short, directed by Olga Kravets,
with drawing by Julie de Halleux,
produced by NOOR for the International Federation for human rights (FIDH)
Crimes against history refer to the constant and concerted efforts of political authorities to maintain a monopoly on historical memory. Russia is in the vanguard in this area, although it is not the only country affected by these human rights violations. The lack of adequate remedies for victims of the Soviet past, the persecution of historians, rights activists and NGOs, the rewriting of history for the government and the criminalization of historical research and discourse are all obstacles to the healing of society.
Soltan Achilova (71) is an independent photojournalist and reporter in Turkmenistan, one of the most isolated and repressive countries in the world. She is shedding light on the many injustices and human rights violations people face in her country. With almost complete governmental control over its population, citizens of Turkmenistan have scarcely any recourse to defend their rights.
As an investigative journalist in a country without media freedom, Soltan Achilova is subject to severe forms of attacks and harassment. She has been stopped from leaving the country on several occasions and has almost no access to the internet. Despite the difficult circumstances and personal hardships, she continues to investigate and stand alongside Turkmen citizens.
Yu Wensheng (54) is a Chinese human rights lawyer from Beijing. He has been detained since 2018 for his activism in favor of the rule of law, democracy and governmental reform in China.
Before his human rights engagement, Yu Wensheng was a corporate lawyer. He gave up a successful career to focus on human rights cases, which ultimately led him to speak out more broadly on the rule of law in China.
As one of the best-known and most intrepid Chinese human rights activists, Yu Wensheng has faced the severest forms of repression by the Chinese state, including arbitrary detention, conviction during a secret trial, and expulsion from the legal bar. According to his wife, he is currently being held in solitary confinement, has been denied access to medical care and subjected to ill-treatments which resulted in his hand being crushed. In December 2020, a Chinese regional High Court upheld the four-year prison sentence against him.
Loujain AlHathloul (31) is a Saudi woman human rights activist. She is a leading advocate for the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.
Before her arrest in 2018, Loujain AlHathloul was one of the key figures of the Women to Drive movement, which called for the abolition of the driving ban for women. She also advocated for the end of the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia and planned to open a shelter for victims of gender-based violence.
On 10 February 2021, she was finally released from prison after 1001 days in detention. However, subject to a five-year travel ban and a three-year probation period, she is not truly free yet.