Berenice Celeyta, Jaime Prieto, Gloria Florez, & Mario Calixto
1998, Colombia
Berenice Celeyta, Jaime Prieto, Gloria Florez, & Mario Calixto

Berenice Celeyta Alayon attributes the beginning of her human rights activism to the 1985 Palace of Justice siege in which M-19 guerrillas took the Supreme Court of Colombia hostage, killing 11 of its 25 justices. At the time Celeyta was a freshman in college and lost several of her professors.

She later founded NOMADESC, a non-governmental organization dedicated to working with communities suffering from violence and oppression and defending the rights of Afro-descendants, IDPs and victims of the armed conflict.    

Jaime Prieto Mendez is a leading figure in the Colombian human rights movement. Prieto began his career as a teacher in a poor area of Bogotá. Feeling that lack of "human rights literacy" increased the abuses against the poor, he began a human rights education program for which he was later imprisoned.

In 1976, he joined the Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners, and in 1990 he became its Executive Director, a position he held until 1998. He then took a teaching position at a university in Bogotá.

Gloria Florez is a Colombian activist on behalf of displaced persons. She is the head of MINGA, an "Association for Alternative Social Policy".  In 2004, MINGA advocated on behalf of the people of the Catatumbo region, 30,000 of whom were displaced following heavy fighting.

Mario Calixto was the President of the Human Rights Committee of Sabana de Torres in the 1990s and was repeatedly threatened by paramilitary groups for his denunciation of their activities.  As of 1988 he has been living in exile in Spain.