Dr. Ivan Cepeda, winner of the Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty, has been accompanied by PBI since 2004.

"I would like to express my appreciation to Human Rights First for having distinguished me with this prestigious award. Likewise, I would like to thank the organization that nominated me, the US Office on Colombia. This prize is a form of international support for victims of state crimes in Colombia.

I would like to dedicate it to all those who are trying to eradicate the system that has fostered crimes against humanity in my country; to the communities that today resist despotism; to the human rights defenders; to the organizations to which I belong: The National Movement of Victims of State Crimes and the Movement of Sons and Daughters for Memory and against Impunity. I also dedicate this distinction to Peace Brigades International, which has accompanied us, with solidarity, for many years, guaranteeing that we can continue working in the country. . ."


Ivan is the founder of a number of human rights organizations, including the National Movement for Victims of State Crimes, which consists of more than 200 groups. He has helped to document approximately 40,000 cases of serious human rights violations committed since 1966. Through remarkable perseverance he has demonstrated that paramilitary groups have committed serious human rights violations often in complicity with members of the Colombian armed forces. Dr. Cepeda’s father, a Colombian Senator, was brutally killed in 1994. Ivan has twice been forced to live in exile due to death threats.


"It is imperative to transform the system that produces genocide, forced disappearances, torture, kidnappings, and forced displacement. Human rights are the most universal path to construct this ideal of just coexistence: democracy."

Ivan Cepeda acceptance speech

June 20, 2007.