January 31, 2024
Adil Meléndez, Sir Henry Brooke Award recipient
On January 23, 2024, Adil Meléndez, a former Shelter City The Hague guest, was awarded the Sir Henry Brooke award in London. He is the first Colombian lawyer and first lawyer of African descent to receive the award. The Sir Henry Brooke Award was founded by the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk and “aims to honour a legal practitioner or human rights defender who, through personal endeavour in the course of his or her practice in a challenging environment, made an outstanding contribution to the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights and the rule of law.”
Adil is an outstanding environmental and human rights lawyer who mainly represents afro-Colombian farmer communities and indigenous peoples. The people he represents are often targets of threats and violence, with threats and violence coming from various different actors. Despite threats to him and his clients, he continues to represent communities that have historically struggled to gain access to justice in Colombia.
In an interview with Lawyers for Lawyers, Adil shared that he has not given up hope:
“A new political and economic system should be created upon pillars that respect, acknowledge and guarantee the rights of women, native and indigenous peoples and the rights of our natural resources such as rivers, oceans and forests. These are the key elements of creating a more just society in which human rights advocates and lawyers like me can exercise their work better and safer.”
We congratulate Adil for this amazing achievement and wish him all the best in his work.