[act-ma] 3/20 Mexico Solidarity Network Presents: The Human Rights Debate w/ Pablo Obando of FrayBa

Charlie Welch cwelch at tecschange.org
Thu Mar 19 11:05:36 PDT 2015

Mexico Solidarity Network Presents: The Human Rights Debate w/ Pablo 
Obando of FrayBa The Mexico-US Solidarity Network presents:

"The Human Rights Debate: Between the cynicism of Mexican authorities 
and the dignity of the people" with Pablo Obando of the Fray Bartolome 
de las Casas Human Rights Center (Chiapas, Mexico)

Fri. March 20 6pm Encuentro 5 9A Hamilton Pl. Boston.

Join Pablo Obando as he speaks about human rights work in the state of Chiapas and the national context in Mexico. The country is at a watershed moment: the forced disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa rural teachers college students set off a tidal wave of indignation and massive protests. As the Director of the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba) said, "Ayotzinapa is the bulk of the iceberg, not the tip." In the context of a war on drugs that has left more than 25,000 disappeared, there is a growing movement of indignation against the State's massive violation of human rights.
Unfortunately, this is nothing new in the Mexican state of Chiapas, or in the United States for that matter. Consider for example the indiscriminate military violence after the 1994 Zapatista uprising, the 1997 paramilitary massacre in Acteal, the dispossession of indigenous land for use in energy, infrastructure, and ecotourism projects, and the struggle of political prisoners like Alberto Patishtan.
In the United States, indignation over police and vigilante assassinations of black youth such as Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, as well as record-setting deportations of undocumented minors and adults, raises a similar question: "How can we promote human rights from the grassroots in the face of State violence?"
The first step is affirming these communities are not passive victims. For 25 years Frayba has been a leading voice in denouncing violations of the human rights of the indigenous communities of Chiapas and in accompanying these same communities as they engage in inspriational processes to promote and exercise their rights. As people of conscious in the US seek to build a culture of peace and justice, we have much we can learn from Frayba and the processes of human rights promotion they accompany.
Pablo and his colleagues at the Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center form one of the few organizations dedicated to accompanying communities in their promotion of positive human rights without imposing an agenda. The Center produces daily reports on human rights, defends cases in court, coordindates human rights observation teams, and has been recognized internationally for this work, most recently through a special mention of their human rights work from the French Republic in January 2014. During his talk, Pablo will discuss the current human rights situation in Chiapas, its relation to the national context, and the role of international solidarity.
The Fray Bartolome de las Casas Human Rights Center (frayba.org.mx) was founded in 1989 by the renowned liberation theologian, peace activist, and Catholic Bishop Samuel Ruiz. Independent of any political party, ideology or religious creed, Frayba's mission is to be "at the service of the poor, the marginalized, and the organized peoples who transform their socio-economic and political situation."
Come hear Pablo Obando speak of this complex situation and the role of Frayba in promoting the right of autonomous self-determination, integral justice as a prerequisite for peace, and the development of a culture of dialogue, tolerance, and reconciliation. Liberation knows no borders, and the struggle of Chiapas' indigenous communities for justice provides lessons for our own.

The Mexico Solidarity Network is dedicated to organizing for fundamental social change grounded in democracy, economic justice, human rights and redistribution of power on both sides of the US-Mexico border. As part of this work, we participate in the Albany Park Autonomous Center in Chicago where immigrant families come together to defend their families from foreclosure and eviction and pursue popular education. In addition to coordinating US speaking tours with some of Mexico's most inspiring social movements, MSN also coordinates a study abroad program in Mexico that allows students to learn about grassroots social movements directly from the families that compose them. For more information, seemexicosolidarity.org/studyabroad

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