Taking on Our Own Defense: The Chiapas Network of Community Human Rights Defenders

Human rights practitioners are often located in the Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) of big cities, while most of the crisis situations, the need for monitoring and defense of human rights are located in rural areas.  In Chiapas, Mexico, the rural indigenous communities have been confronting years of repression and harassment.  This tactic case study describes the model of the Network of Human Rights Defenders, organized in Chiapas by Miguel Angel de los Santos. The Network has trained a panel of rural indigenous defenders so that they may work in the defense of human rights nearly self-sufficiently, responding to the needs and the decisions of their communities.  Autonomy has been crucial for this network which has been able to eliminate rural dependency on the NGOs of the big cities.  The presentation of this tactic focuses on the steps necessary to maximize the independence and self-sufficiency of such a network, and in order to consolidate its autonomous connection with the communities which it serves.

Year of Publication: 2005
Author(s): Miguel Angel de los Santos

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