Sailing together

In its 15th edition, the International Human Rights Colloquium will gather activists from 27 countries in São Paulo

09/05/2017 15th colloquium colloquium

From October 1 to 6, São Paulo will receive activists and social change agents from 27 countries for the 15th edition of the International Human Rights Colloquium. Under the theme “Human rights: crisis or transition?”, the purpose of the event is to promote the exchange of knowledge and practices with people who work closely on the topic.

This year, the Colloquium received a record number of registrations: more than 400 people participated in the selection process and 62 were selected to take part in the week of talks and activities. The selected group work in various areas associated with human rights, such as reproductive rights, protection of personal data and online information, combating racism, tackling institutional violence and others.

Ever since its first edition, the Colloquium has addressed important topics like the criminalization of protests, NGO financing and human rights violations by companies. This year, the idea is to promote a collective reflection on the role of the human rights movement in the current context of threats to rights and freedoms.

To guide the discussions, the event will draw on four key issues: the global context and its impacts on rights and freedoms; the legitimacy and diversity of organizations; how the tools used by the human rights movement can be improved and innovated; and how organizations can diversify their alliances with different players.

“Since its very first edition, in 2001, the Colloquium has always been an event to bring together activists from the Global South. Its history coincides with the history of Conectas. The intercultural nature of the Colloquium provides the opportunity for dialogue between people who combat a range of human rights violations on a daily basis in their countries and who will no doubt contribute with ideas and experiences for the collective promotion of human rights,” said Juana Kweitel, executive director of Conectas.

This year, Conectas is organizing the conference together with Forum Asia (Thailand), the Center for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria (South Africa) and DeJusticia (Colombia).

The Colloquium will be attended by pre-selected human rights defenders and activists who registered in advance. Daily coverage of the event will be provided on the social networks. On October 4, a public meeting is scheduled at the São Paulo Resistance Memorial on the human rights situation in Brazil, to be broadcast live on the internet. Details about registration for this meeting will be released shortly.

Learning to sail together

The artist and illustrator Catarina Bessell designed the visual identity for the 15th edition of the Colloquium. Based on the central theme of the discussions, Bessell developed the concept image of a sailboat with a large and diverse group of people happily interacting together. A joint experience of people light-heartedly sailing profound issues.

“This is no ordinary sailboat, it’s a sailboat the size of our dreams, of people who dream together, sharing the same boat and facing the same waves. Against a backdrop of rights setbacks, this is an image to inspire a new tail wind, to look to the future and seek renewal,” said Bessell.

The organization of the event is supported by the Ford Foundation, the OAK Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and the Fund For Global Human Rights. We are also grateful to FGV (Getúlio Vargas Foundation), the Resistance Memorial, APAC (Pinacoteca Art and Culture Association), the Immigration Museum and the São Paulo state government, which authorized the use of the areas where some of the meetings will take place.