CAFOD’s Head of Latin America & Caribbean team awarded ‘Citizen of São Paulo’ for human rights work

Clare Dixon, CAFOD’s Head of Latin America & Caribbean team, has been awarded “citizen of São Paulo” in recognition of her lifetime of service to the rights of the most excluded people in the Brazilian city.

For over 40 years, Clare worked closely with and alongside organisations, churches, and the people of São Paulo in their fight for human rights, better healthcare and housing.

Clare attended the ceremony at the São Paulo City Hall on the 16th July, where she received the award from City Councillor Manoel del Rio who has worked with homeless people and fought for the housing rights for the poor for many years.

On receiving the award, Clare Dixon said: “It’s an incredible honour to receive this award. I’ve been working with the people of São Paul, for decades, side by side with them in their fight for their rights and against injustice. To be made a citizen of this amazing city means the world to me.”

Luiz Basseggio, a friend of Clare Dixon from São Paulo, who works for “Grito dos Excluidos” (The Cry of the Excluded) which works to support the homeless, said: “I have known Clare since 1978 and she has always supported the movements for justice in São Paulo, from rights for migrants to workers’ rights. She has helped to make Brazil a more just and democratic country.”

Clare’s work in Brazil includes supporting workers’ struggles in rural areas, as well as the cities to overcome injustice, poverty and oppression. As well as with communities to defend their land and secure their rights to secure housing and livelihood.

This is not the first honour of Clare’s career, her exceptional service for CAFOD and the people of Latin America saw her receive an OBE in 2003. In 2008 the Chilean Church awarded her the Cardinal Silva Human Rights medal and in 2017 she was awarded the Jose Simeon Canas medal by the Central America University – UCA – in El Salvador

Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD said: “I am delighted for Clare, no one deserves this award more than her. Clare has been a tireless campaigner, advocate and a ferocious force of nature in fighting for the rights of people in São Paulo and across Latin America. CAFOD has been very lucky to have someone has dedicated and effective as Clare in post.”

Clare also worked with Saint Oscar Romero, the Salvadorean Archbishop who was murdered for his defence of the poor and marginalised communities. His work is of such significance to CAFOD that their head office in London is named after him.

Clare is CAFOD’s longest serving employee, having worked there for over 40 years. Clare currently heads up the Latin American team, overseeing CAFOD’s various projects in the region that includes work in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Central America. She will be retiring later this year.



  • CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and works in over 40 countries around the world.
  • Photo credit: CAFOD