Grants List for 2015

Our Mexico Program serves as a regional fund for the Sigrid Rausing Trust. Most recent grants were focused on addressing the horrific spread of violence in Mexico, on empowering the emerging victims' rights movement while addressing the root causes of the human rights crisis.

Themes include:

  • attending to victims cases while advocating for judicial reform;
  • community development and resistance to extractive mega-projects;
  • indigenous land rights;
  • women's rights;
  • indigenous media; and
  • press freedom and security.

List of Grants

Mexico’s most important Freedom of Expression and journalist protection organization. Their Rompe el Miedo network is a national consortium of journalists, brought together to promote and defend independent journalism and free expression in Mexico, and to “break the fear” caused by censorship and intimidation. In 2015 attacks on journalists have skyrocketed and censorship of all media by the state has deepened. Most notable has been the almost complete blackout of the coverage of drug war murders in the national press since the shift from Calderon’s “we are at war” narrative to Pena Nieto’s “Mexico Moment” narrative.
Funds were provided in collaboration with the Yansa Foundation to support an Assembly of indigenous peoples in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca, the Asamblea de los Pueblos Indígenas del Istmo de Tehuantepec en Defensa de la Tierra y el Territorio (APIITDTT). Their territory is one of the windiest places on earth and the site of many new wind power projects. Sadly, these new sources of green energy are often built on indigenous lands, without their prior informed consent, and without payment. The Asamblea represents an attempt of the locals not to block wind power, but to block land grabs of indigenous territory.
Casa Amiga is the reference organization in Ciudad Juarez, for advocacy on the issues of human rights, sexual abuse, and state law pertaining to women and the violence against them. They work to address and counter violence against women through legal, medical and psychological support, as well as through education. This veteran women’s organization began during the notorious period of mass “feminicides” in that city, and continues to advocate for victims of rape, kidnapping and murder, and to bring pressure for their cases and causes to local, state and national authorities. Casa Amiga also runs a network of shelters.
The only traditional human rights center currently in Ciudad Juarez. It has a strong legal team and takes on cases of human rights violations in a comprehensive manner, providing both legal aid as well as psychological attention. They have become a strong organizational reference, taking cases of human rights violations committed by the army and the federal police. These include many cases of forced disappearances. A new front for Paso del Norte is working with the 12,000 per month that are being rounded up by the military police under the "Statua de Guerra” and then released without charge. These short term detentions have proved to be fertile ground for gang recruitment, as prisoners must pay extortionate rates to avoid beatings or secure release. They must then commit to joining a criminal enterprise, to traffic in drugs, people, or arms.
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante is a labor-oriented migrant rights organization dedicated to defending access to justice for migrants and improving recruitment and working conditions for all low-wage workers. Angelica/SRT funding was used by CDH Migrante to extend its successful grassroots work, with a special focus on educational outreach, organizing, and leadership development in indigenous communities in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca.

To prevent rights abuses along the migrant stream, CDH Migrante conducts pre-departure workshops in Mixteca communities and other migrant communities in Central and Southern Mexico, educating workers with know-your-rights materials in both Spanish and Mixteco. CDH Migrante’s outreach staff has also been holding digital literacy workshops.
A women-centered, Guanajuato-based human rights center that follows the cases of families of disappeared persons in the state of Guanajuato. Through education, legal advocacy, casework and accompaniment, the group attends to the rights of women in Guanajuato, specifically women who find themselves trying to find loved ones who have been disappeared and must navigate the labyrinthine and dysfunctional law enforcement and judicial systems. They interface with federal authorities, advocate for institutional reform, promote the capacity of individuals to advocate for themselves, and pressure the Mexican state to pursue and solve the enormous backlog of disappearances in Mexico.
"Fray Juan" is a victims’ resource and defense organization in Coahuila, which advocates on behalf of the local population as well as the large migrant populations – both of which are the unprotected prey of criminal gangs. Murders, kidnappings and extortions have skyrocketed in the region, and the state’s military interventions have made the levels of violence worse. The group provides counsel to victims as they navigate the bureaucratic case-work process and give other kinds of accompaniment. They work in the embattled city of Saltillo, heavily affected by enforced disappearances of migrants as well as everyday citizens of Saltillo.
A legacy human rights organization based in Mexico City but with litigation and human rights defense cases all over Mexico. They are presently the capital’s base of operations handling the Ayotzinapa case of 43 presumed murdered student teachers in the state of Guerrero.
A regional network of Oaxacan organizations, dedicated to protecting indigenous land rights, and to developing coordinated strategies for defending communities threatened by industrial mega-projects, globalized agriculture and diverse attempts to privatize or exploit Mexico's natural and human resources. They seek to reclaim and revitalize community forms of resistance and promote sustainable development. Issues include resistance to mining projects, dams and the rights to grow and preserve Mexico’s native corn.
CEDEHM facilitates access to justice for women who are victims of violence in the state of Chihuahua, providing them with education and legal assistance, and bringing paradigmatic cases to the Inter-American Human Rights System. Past achievements include litigating the first case of a forced disappearance by the military during the Calderon administration before the Inter-American Human Rights Court, co-founding a network of groups working on the issue of forced disappearances and denouncing military and police abuses, and becoming a leading organization in the implementation of the 2008 criminal justice reform in the state of Chihuahua.
DPA is the nation’s most prominent advocacy organization and network of drug policy reformers. This grant is to support the Mexican presence in the debate over international drug policy at the bi-annual Reform Conference. Activists from Mexico who will attend work for a human rights and public health based approaches. Funds will be used to bring the voices of drug war victims to the trans-hemispheric debate about drugs, drug interdiction and drug war violence.
EDUCA’s mission has been to defend the territory, rights and culture of the largely indigenous people of Oaxaca. They do this through judicial defense, model projects that encourage environmental sustainability, and mobilizing diverse social movements for more equitable economic participation. This leading organization links human rights agendas with land and resource rights, civil and political rights, and indigenous rights. In 2015, EDUCA has continued to work towards defending territories threatened by laws such as the new Hydrocarbons and Energy Act which threatens to dispossess those living near rivers, reservoirs minerals, gas and oil.
Flor y Canto’s mission is to promote and defend the collective rights and human rights of the indigenous and Mestizo communities in the central valleys of Oaxaca, under siege by transnational companies exploiting their rich natural resources. This grassroots organization provides education, legal consultation and human rights defense to some of the most impoverished communities in Southern Mexico. Achievements include developing a program for traditional indigenous healers, Curanderas, to pass down traditional medicine and practices to the next generation of young indigenous women.
The Foundation for Justice and the Democratic Rule of Law is a new grantee this year, funded for their project on “Good practices for effective investigation in cases of murder and disappearance of people in vulnerable situations". This project focuses on the high rate of impunity and, more specifically, the obstacles to investigatory progress and efficiency. They have provided an international platform for the Ayotzinapa case, working on the ground with teams of Argentine forensic anthropologists to determine what happened to the 43 students. Fundacion Para la Justicia aims to lower Mexico’s 93% impunity by changing public policies.
The organization of the families of victims seeks to pressure the local and federal government to fulfill its responsibilities in protecting civilian populations, and to correctly investigate and prosecute crimes. Families of the disappeared are typically the most vocal about the cases and are the most persistent human rights advocates, all of which makes them particularly strong targets for criminal reprisal. The organization has developed committees of family members of disappeared in Baja California, Monterrey, Chihuahua, Guanajuato, and the State of Mexico.
A six-country human rights caravan through Central American and Mexico, that is being coordinated by Global Exchange in collaboration with groups from 21 countries throughout the Americas to bring the violence and corruption generated by the drug wars of the hemisphere to the attention of the UN General Assembly meeting (UNGASS) that will be held in New York in April 2016. A key focus will be the need to reform international drug policies that lead to violence, injustice, and the degradation of human rights. The growing coalition for change now includes former presidents from throughout the Americas, doctors, law enforcement officials, religious leaders, civil rights advocates, and other elected officials.
A Mexico-based immigration-justice organization which seeks to protect and advocate for Mexican and Central American migrants as they flee violence and economic despair. Migrants are not only the most vulnerable population groups in Mexico, but migrants crossing Mexico’s northern and southern borders cause strain on the communities they leave behind while they face untold dangers in their migratory journey. Their Asamblea Popular de Familias Migrantes project is a tri-national immigration platform that is advancing policy alternatives that point to ways to calm the phenomenon of forced migration – whereby poor populations have no choice but to migrate.
JASS (Asociados por Justo) MesoAmerica works internationally to defend female human rights defenders in Mexico, as well as Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. Women defensoras who stand up to the structural injustices, corrupt state authorities or criminals find themselves at great risk, without protection from the state. Since 2006 JASS Meso-America has been building solidarity networks of defensoras from different movements and communities. They provide resources and training to women at risk, focused particularly on security strategies. They also act as a tri-national support system for the exchange of information and the documentation of threats and cases.
A women’s resource and defense organization in the state of Chihuahua, a state that includes the infamous Ciudad Juarez and still has one of the highest rates of feminicide in the world. Using constitutional rights mechanisms that allow victims to participate in the investigations of crimes and subsequent trials, this organization has advocated for women and their families inside the criminal justice system, accompanying them through the painful and dangerous process, and hopefully paving the way for greater accountability and transparency at the state level.
Las Libres works to defend the rights of the women of Guanajuato, where reproductive rights are under extreme assault, and where access to justice and protection from inter-family violence is being eroded. This group has become a key reference in the national movement, pushing back on a state by state attempt to limit women’s right to choose. Specifically, they have built a network of private providers of services (doctors, lawyers, psychologists) to ensure that women, especially those who have been raped, have access to legal abortion.
Ojo continues to be a reference organization for work in the media/cultural domain of the Oaxacan progressive resistance. They are invaluable support to community groups in times of intense social struggle, taking their stories and broadcasting them in the media, expanding the reach of the story of one community and broadening it into a common cause. Their mission is to provide the rural indigenous communities of Oaxaca with video equipment and training, to document their lives and vanishing culture, and to embolden their struggles through media and technology.
Otros Mundos focuses on defense of the indigenous communities and environment in the southern state of Chiapas from an onslaught of mega-projects that includes dams, mines and industrial agriculture. They also play a supportive role in the larger movement by strengthening the ability of social movements around Mexico to exchange information and strategies, from monitoring agreements made with mining companies to testifying in and bringing a Mexican voice to international environmental justice fora. In the current and coming years, Otros Mundos will be playing an enhanced role in adapting Mexican civil society groups to the realities of the new national reforms, from energy privatization to agrarian land reform, mining law, and water law.
PIAP is a relatively new organization started by veteran organizers, which seeks to work in paradigmatic communities in Oaxaca and Guerrero at first, and then apply strategies nationally, to strengthen the capacities of the indigenous populations to advocate for their own interests and protect patrimonial resources. PIAP works inside community councils, agricultural assemblies and municipal governments to provide free and full information about mining projects and their consequences. They also help to build strong leadership and self-determination in communities. During the last decade, the Mexican government has sold mining concessions to foreign mining and resource extraction companies comprising about 18% of Mexico’s national territory. Many of those concessions were sold without the approval of the ejidos, indigenous communities that own land communally.
This network of Juarez-based journalists supports capacity-building of both mainstream and independent reporters through workshops, the development of reporting and security strategies, and other activities. They seek to reinforce the ability to investigate and to tell the true stories of the drug war and the collusion between the cartels and the state. They also work to bring forward the story of the real victims of the violence and assess and reduce the risk to reporters who cover the news on the streets.
Their mission is to build the infrastructure of the network of frontline journalists and to insure its organizational health as it serves as a resource to the nation’s reporters who live and work under conditions of extreme risk. The group provides work-shops, rapid response alerts and technical assistance. The Red has become a resource for journalists under threat, making the threats visible, providing colleague to colleague support and security trainings. Periodistas a Pie believes that the national press situation is depressing and immobilizing, but green shoots abound at the local level. In 2015, on the positive side, they have expanded their program of “social journalism and human rights” with meetings and workshops held around the nation.
ReverdeSer is a new collective formed by young activist veterans of the Victims campaign that organized around the poet Javier Sicilia in past years who are looking to extend similar work forward in a modern context. These former UNAM students seek to bring a grassroots Mexican voice to international fora, including the April 2016 General Assembly of the United Nations Special Session on Drug Policy (UNGASS). They seek to expose the “inhuman consequences of this bloody policy, identify local and regional needs and participate in the construction of alternatives.”
A new grantee this year, “Windbreak” TV is an internet television effort that makes the video of many of our grantees and other civil society actors available to the general public. Funded in collaboration with our ally Global Exchange, Windbreak TV focuses its work on research, information and analysis of the political, social and cultural reality of Mexico. They currently produce 15 programs a week, with input from both mainstream and alternative journalists as well as the program funded by Angelica/SRT, which gives more public voice to the work of non-profit organizations such as Periodistas a Pie, Serapaz, Article 19, and others. During a June, 2015 site visit we learned that this new effort is already reaching a monthly audience of over a million viewers, fueled partly by mass interest in the Ayotzinapa.
Serapaz is an iconic human rights and peace organization which focuses on mediation of conflicts in the indigenous zones of Chiapas, and also has programs throughout the country. Along with their allies, they provided some backbone and coherence to a spontaneously occurring mass expression of national revulsion at the still-unsolved murder of the 43 student teachers.
Tlachinollan is a venerable human rights group working in the troubled Montana region of Guerrero. For decades it has advocated for the rights of the regions impoverished indigenous communities and is the reference organization in the state to follow cases of death or forced disappearance at the hands of authorities of the state.
Representing families in violence-torn Tamaulipas (but based, for safety reasons in Mexico City) Familias works to advise families in the zones where the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel are fighting for dominance and creating extraordinary collateral damage among innocents. In addition to moving drugs, the cartels use Tamaulipas as a toll road for migration, running migrants and drugs through the state and then through tunnels at the border, while viciously victimizing those who attempt to pass through without paying. Familias en Busqueda seeks to create the conditions that will allow families to search for their disappeared loved ones in relative security and calm. With a lawyer and three psychologists on staff since August of 2012, they provide an alternative process of care that aims to break the cycle of violence and victimization.

Sigrid Rausing Trust

The Angelica Foundation is the proud partner of the Sigrid Rausing Trust, which has supported our Mexico work for more than a decade. Since its founding in 1995, SRT has given away more than $500 million dollars to human rights organizations throughout the world.

Sigrid Rausing

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