Activists Help Female Farmworkers in US and Expose Police Abuse in Russia
October 29, 2013

(San Francisco) The co-founder of a group that promotes the rights of female farmworkers in the United States and a Russian activist who works to protect victims of police abuse will be honored at the Human Rights Watch Voices for Justice Annual Dinner in Silicon Valley on November 5, 2013, and in San Francisco on November 7.

Alina Diaz, co-founder and a member of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, and Natalia Taubina, a Russian activist who runs the group Public Verdict, are among six human rights defenders from around the world being honored at the Human Rights Watch Annual Dinners for their work to protect the rights and dignity of others. There will be 12 dinners in November and another nine in March/April 2014 in cities around the world.

“Alina Diaz and Natalia Taubina work thousands of miles apart, but both are tireless champions of justice,” said Andrea Dew Steele, Northern California director at Human Rights Watch. “We honor them for their dedication to ending egregious abuse against vulnerable people.”

Diaz works to promote the rights of female farmworkers in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of farmworker women and girls face a high risk of sexual violence and harassment at work on a daily basis. Diaz began her work as a community outreach educator traveling to immigrant communities to raise awareness about the right to report domestic violence, sexual abuse, and other mistreatment.

As co-founder and a member of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, Diaz has helped get the voices of farmworker women heard at the national level, where she works to educate policymakers and the public about the dangers the women face.

Taubina works to protect victims of police abuse and brings transparency to law enforcement. Public Verdict was founded in 2004 to provide free legal aid and rehabilitation support to victims of widespread police torture and lawlessness in Russia.

Under Taubina’s leadership, Public Verdict has successfully worked for reforms that promote accountability. Taubina is a leading critic of the harsh crackdown on civil society since Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin.

Both are recipients of the Human Rights Watch Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism. The award is named for Dr. Alison Des Forges, senior adviser to the Human Rights Watch Africa Division for almost two decades, who died in a plane crash in New York on February 12, 2009. Des Forges was the world’s leading expert on Rwanda, the 1994 genocide, and its aftermath. The Human Rights Watch annual award celebrates the valor of people who put their lives on the line to create a world free from abuse, discrimination, and oppression.

The Silicon Valley dinner will be held on November 5 in the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club.

The San Francisco dinner will be held on November 7 at Yoshi’s San Francisco.

Human Rights Watch staff members work closely with the human rights defenders as part of the organization’s research into some 90 countries around the world. The defenders will be honored at the fall 2013 Voices for Justice Human Rights Watch Annual Dinners in Amsterdam, Chicago, Geneva, London, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Silicon Valley, and Toronto.