Nidira Ruiz Medina
Colored Pencil - 19" x 23"
Nidiria is an ethno-educator, community organizer, peace worker, and grassroots women's leadership trainer in the Southwest of Colombia. She is the coordinator of the AINI Women's Association of the Naya River and is a representative of Colombia's nationwide organization, Communities Building Peace in the Territories (CONPAZ). Nidiria has traveled internationally discussing the powerful role of women in building peace in Colombia. Locally, she has helped coordinate numerous meetings and workshops to empower women and reclaim cultural memory.
Nidiria’s home is located in the collective territory of the Naya River, part of the rural area of Buenaventura. The area has been caught in the crossfire of Colombia’s armed conflicts for decades. In 2001, a massacre by paramilitaries marked the start of an era of forced displacement and many people fled to the main city of Buenaventura, the largest city in the region. As a consequence, at the beginning of 2002, Naya River communities were granted protective measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. However, their lives continue to be at risk.
On May 24th, 2019 Nidiria received a death threat. A note was left at the entrance of her home saying "a bullet for Nidiria Ruiz”. The threat against her life is emblematic of the ongoing attempts to undermine and stall community efforts towards building a lasting peace in Colombia. The human rights situation in Colombia has actually worsened since the Peace Accords were signed in 2016. In fact, 2018 saw more assassinations of human rights defenders than any year in history, and unfortunately 2019 is on track to surpass it.