Each year, Human Rights Watch presents the Alison Des Forges Award to honor people who have put their safety – and at times their lives – at risk in defense of human rights. We often work closely with these activists and depend on their deep understanding of the situation in their countries. Working together, we’re better positioned to push for change.
Farai Maguwu, director of Zimbabwe’s Center for Research and Development, has extensively researched abuses in the Marange diamond fields. Soldiers under the control of President Robert Mugabe’s party have taken over the fields. They beat and torture local people, forcing villagers – including children – to mine the gemstones.
After Maguwu presented his information to the Kimberly Process, the global body that oversees the diamond trade, the authorities raided his home and office, and jailed him for more than a month.
Read Maguwu’s story »
We will feature additional human rights defenders in the coming weeks.