The Saltillo Migrant Shelter, founded in 2002, offers daily humanitarian assistance – including clothes, medicines, food, rest, and medical and psychological care – to hundreds of migrants crossing Mexico to reach the United States. It also defends migrants’ rights through the documentation of cases of kidnapping, extortion, abuses and violations that they suffer during their journey through Mexico. The organisation lodges complaints about violations after gathering migrants’ testimonies. The Shelter’s staff and volunteers have suffered harassment, surveillance and threats due to their work. The press and local authorities have been hostile to the Shelter, defaming it publicly. Due to its risk situation, in 2010 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights issued precautionary measures for the organisation. PBI has accompanied the Saltillo Migrant Shelter since 2014. The Shelter’s work has been recognised in numerous occasions, for example, with the Lettelier-Moffitt Award given by the Institute for Policy Studies in the United States.
The Fray Juan de Larios Centre has worked on labour and community rights. The Centre currently provides legal support to over 380 cases of disappearances documented by FUUNDEC (United Forces for Our Disappeared in Coahuila). At a political level, the organisation maintains dialogue with government authorities on the need to search for the disappeared, create and implement proper investigation protocols, implement a federal programme of attention to the relatives, and adopt the United Nations’ recommendations on the matter. The Centre works in close collaboration with the Saltillo Migrant Shelter and the Juan Gerardi Human Rights Centre, two organisations in Coahuila also accompanied by PBI. PBI has accompanied the Fray Juan de Larios Centre since 2014.
The Juan Gerardi Human Rights Centre aims to empower individuals and communities to become the agents of the transformations they wish to see in their society. The organisation works mainly on six topics: migrants, environment (especially the right to clean water), disappearances, young people, communication, and education/capacity-building. The Centre collaborates with several organisations in the La Laguna region of Coahuila, including FUUNDEC (United Forces for Our Disappeared in Coahuila). It supports the Day Centre Un Paso a la Esperanza (A Step Towards Hope), a migrant shelter in Torreón, and works on environmental issues with Laguneros por la Paz and Ciudadanía Lagunera por los Derechos Humanos. The Centre faces high risks due to its work. In 2012 its offices were broken-in by the Army, the Federal Police and the State Police. In 2013 computers with sensitive information were stolen from the organisation. PBI has accompanied the Centre since 2014. Juan Gerardi works in close partnership with the Fray Juan de Larios Diocesan Centre for Human Rights and the Saltillo Migrant Shelter, both organisations in Coahuila also accompanied by PBI.
The Pasta de Conchos Family Organisation has worked in the coal region (Zona Carbonífera) of Coahuila since 2006 demanding the rescue of the 63 miners’ bodies trapped in the Pasta de Conchos mine after an explosion in February that year killed them. The organisation has repeatedly called for better safety conditions for miners in the region. Thanks to its work on documentation and analysis, the organisation has been able to take the Pasta de Conchos case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation. Over the years, the Pasta de Conchos Family Organisation has taken over other cases of violations against miners and expanded the scope of its work, inspecting mines, documenting work accidents and providing legal assistance to miners. In 2015 it opened an office in Cloete, municipality of Sabinas, with the aim of advising victims of labour exploitation in the coal region. Due to their work, members of the organisation and residents of Cloete have been threatened and harassed in numerous occasions. Its director, Cristina Auerbach, has been physically attacked, threatened, defamed and harassed, which has led Mexico’s Protection Mechanism to issue precautionary measures for her. PBI has accompanied the organisation and Cristina Auerbach since 2014.