2020 has been a year that we will never forget and that brought us countless challenges.
The midday sun burns relentlessly on the small patio of Santa María Mixtequilla (SMM) in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, where 50 people have gathered. Some of the women try to keep cool with paper fans, while the men wear large sombreros to alleviate the heat of Istmo. An elderly man stands up and speaks decisively, while the crowd shows their support for his words with subtle movements of their heads: “they want to pay us for a metre of land with the value of a kilo of tortillas”.
Today, November 29, 2022, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, we celebrate the strong and courageous women who form the backbone of the struggle for a more just life.
"In the face of forgetfulness, which contributes to oppression and marginalization, the weapon of memory is vindicated. Memory is fundamental in the life of peoples, since it prevents us from falling into oblivion. Through memory we give meaning and, therefore, stability to human existence. In memory the land is much more than a productive space, since it is full of symbols and endearing references, that is why the old people of Temoac vehemently exclaim 'this land cost blood' in reference to the Zapatista deed 'and that is why it is not for sale'.
Sahara is from the USA and recently volunteered with PBI in August 2022. There, they provided protective accompaniment to three organisations in Chihuahua; Centro de Derechos Humanos Paso del Norte A.C. (CDHPdN A.C.), Consultoría Técnica Comunitaria A.C (CONTECA.C.) and Alianza Sierra Madre A.C. (ASMAC).
Deep in the mountains of Western Sierra Madre, in the North East of Mexico, is the rarámuri community of Choréachi, located in the municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo, over 16 hours away from Chihuahua. Choréachi is located between the states of Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua, in a rocky and mountainous area with dangerous and difficult-to-access dirt roads.
Human Rights Defenders from Civil Society in Mexico and Europe met through Human Rights Trialogue with representatives of Mexican Government and the European Union
During the pandemic, the construction of energy and infrastructure megaprojects continued, as they were considered essential activities.