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Cristosal – “We believe every human being is inherently equal in rights and dignity.”

Cristosal the organization we work with in Central America in God’s Mission, is a non-governmental organization based in El Salvador advancing human rights in Central America through rights-based programming, research, and learning. We believe every human being is inherently equal in rights and dignity. We seek to build common means to empower vulnerable communities and groups affected by violence to act for justice, human rights, and more democratic societies. To learn more about Cristosal, click here.

Please read this timely article from the Episcopal News Service.

NGO with Episcopal ties addresses forced displacement in Central America

Cristosal Meets with Vice President Kamala Harris, and special guest President Bernardo Arévalo of Guatemala at the White House, March 25, 2024

Vice President Kamala Harris convened Central America Forward (CAF) stakeholders today at the White House. CAF is a public-private partnership created in response to the Vice President’s 2021 Call to Action to the private sector to deepen investment in northern Central America. CAF is expanding economic opportunity and promoting good governance in northern Central America, which helps reduce irregular migration.

Noah Bullock joined other stakeholders in Central America Forward, the public-private partnership the Vice President launched in 2022 to address the root causes of migration in Northern Central America.

CAF is a public-private partnership created in response to the Vice President’s 2021 Call to Action to the private sector to deepen investment in northern Central America. CAF is expanding economic opportunity and promoting good governance in northern Central America, which helps reduce irregular migration. Read the White House Readout on the Roundtable.

Noah’s Remarks:

Yesterday we commemorated the 44th Anniversary of the martyrdom of our patron saint of the Americas, Oscar Romero. In Bishop Romero’s last homily, before he was murdered, he called on the Salvadoran security forces and the society in general to obey their conscience before an immoral law, order, or policy that threatened human dignity and human rights.

I believe that PCA’s mandate linking the goals of economic growth with the principle of good governance, rule of law, and human rights is consistent with Bishop Romero’s call, and our commitment to our conscience should be at the center of our dialogue today.

Early this morning we received confirmation from community leaders in the northern department of Chalatenango that yesterday, on the anniversary of Bishop Romero’s assassination, multiple villages had been militarized in response to an alleged double homicide in the area. In one village, community members counted the presence of as many as 400 soldiers who took control of the school, the community center and the community museum commemorating crimes against humanity committed during the armed conflict. A few minutes ago, I received a text message confirming that at least 6 community leaders, two founders of a respected community foundation, have been detained today without evidence, without previous investigations, and without a warrant. Consistent with the practice under the state of exception, they will be disappeared into Salvadoran prisons and denied due process rights. Cristosal has verified 235 deaths caused by torture and ill-treatment in the prisons since the beginning of the state of exception.

Over the last three weeks, decades of progress made to guarantee women’s and LGBTIQ rights have been systematically rolled back in the framework of a “war on gender ideology” declared by the Salvadoran president.

In Guatemala, we share the optimism and great expectation for the new president’s administration while we also are deeply concerned for our colleagues who suffered persecution for their advocacy in favor democracy human rights and the fight against corruption that remain in exile, prison and continue to suffer criminalization. We cannot forget the struggle of communities across the interior of Guatemala, mostly indigenous, whose lives, livelihoods, and environments depend on a just solution to territorial conflicts over resources and lands.

I was in Honduras last week in meetings with families displaced by gang and narco violence, families displaced by the disasters Eta y Iota and whose hopes for humanitarian relief and durable solutions have been stalled by corruption, and mismanagement, and their advocacy has been met with intimidation by the state.

Today I mention these difficult realities not to discourage or demerit progress that has been made or could be made by private investment, but rather because we believe that from the truth of the victims emerges the opportunity for deeper structural change and social justice.

I recognize the inherent challenge for the private sector in promoting the rule of law and human rights in the Central American context. In a recent conversation with members of the Salvadoran business community. I was told that the business community fears that if they take an active role in promoting the rule of law, they will put their shareholders, employees, and their families at risk. I do not doubt that to act as a critical conscience in our context is to suffer reprisals and consequences.

I also recognize that human rights organizations and the private sector rarely engage in dialogue about politics and human rights, but I believe that we are united in a common aspiration of equality before the law as a precondition for human freedom but also investment and free market entrepreneurship.

I hope the PCA can be a space to deepen our dialogue on human rights and democracy standards because what is most urgently needed in Central America are leaders and voices willing to act on this conscience and defend standards out loud- if we only defend standards in private they cease to be realities in public.

Today I am accompanied by colleagues Manfredo Marroquin from Accion Ciudadana in Guatemala and Gabriela Castellanos from CNA in Honduras. Together we are cofounders of a new regional platform, CCINOC, whose aim is to reanimate and sustain civil society advocacy in the fight against corruption. I will close my comments with the proposal that CCINOC and PCA could serve as a framework for civil society dialogue and collaboration in the fight against corruption and impunity in Central America.

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Cristosal Forum on March 31, 2019


Cristosal Forum on November 18, 2023

An evening with Noah Bullock the Executive Director of Cristosal, with an update on the role of Cristosal in Central America.