Lawyers for Lawyers nominates Raquel Sánchez for 2021 IBA Award
Lawyers for Lawyers has nominated Raquel Sánchez for the International Bar Association Award 2021 for Outstanding Contribution by a Legal Practitioner to Human Rights. The award will be made to a legal practitioner who, through personal endeavour in the course of such practice, is deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to the promotion, protection and advancement of the human rights of all, or any group of, people, particularly with respect to their right to live in a fair and just society under the rule of law.
Raquel has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion, protection and advancement of the human rights of all in Venezuela, in particular for women and arbitrarily detained persons. She has shown admirable determination, dedication and courage in her work, even in the face of harassment, threats and assault by unidentified individuals and public officials. She tirelessly continues her work despite these considerable challenges.
Raquel is a human rights lawyer and women human rights defender. She is the coordinator of the Táchira office of the Venezuelan NGO Foro Penal, an organisation which provides legal assistance to arbitrarily detained persons. Raquel is also a member of the Grupo de Trabajo Defensoras del Táchira, a collective of women human rights defenders founded in 2018 which documents cases of human rights violations in Táchira and provides support for victims.
Since 2019 Raquel has represented the victims of police violence in response to a peaceful protest which took place in July 2019. The Venezuelan police opened fire on the peaceful demonstrators, causing many of them, including a minor, to sustain serious injuries. Every time this sensitive case receives publicity, Raquel, the victims and their families face (physical) threats.
Throughout her career as a human rights lawyer, Raquel has been subjected to attacks, harassment and surveillance by unidentified individuals and public officials, who have put pressure on her to quit her work as a human rights lawyer. Public officials in Venezuela are purposefully limiting Raquel in her important work as a human rights lawyer and as a member of Foro Penal. Despite these serious and continuous threats she faces as a result of her legitimate activities as a lawyer, Raquel stands out as a fearless and determined defender of the access to justice for all victims of human rights violations.
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