Roberto Zapata, human rights defender and leader of AMATE El Salvador, an organization that defends the rights of the LGBTI population in El Salvador, received an honorable mention at the prestigious Rice Award 2019.
This is an award given by Society for International Development-Washington at its annual conference, which recognizes the leadership, innovation, impact, and commitment of youth with the people who need it most to lead them towards sustainable development.
Roberto Zapata is the Secretary General of AMATE, an organization with whom the Rights and Dignity Project (an initiative financed by USAID and implemented by Counterpart International, DPLF and Partners El Salvador) maintains a constant work as part of the Salvadoran LGTBI Federation in dialogues and advocacy on public policies in contrast to Government Institutions and articulation with other civil society organizations.
“It’s something that has motivated me a lot to continue with the work we do in AMATE, maybe because I am the Secretary General I am the visible face but behind me there are many people who are engaged,” said Roberto Zapata.
For Zapata, the nomination also represents a renewal of the commitment of AMATE with the LGBTI population, at the same time, he considers that his nomination is a vindication of the cause for which AMATE is fighting. “It is very important for LGBTI people to see us represented in this type of recognition, for centuries we haven´t been able to see each other in public events because of all the discrimination and prejudice that existed”.
Zapata hopes that the award received will also serve other sectors to continue working for the recognition of the rights of the LGBTI population. The Rights and Dignity Project will continue supporting its efforts to build a more equitable, just and tolerant El Salvador.