AMERICAS & CARIBBEAN

Pax Christi USA was created in 1972; in Canada, there is Pax Christi Montreal and Pax Christi Toronto.

This section focuses more on Latin America and the Caribbean, a region with enormous vitality and the commitment of many organisations working on human rights, reconciliation, and peace related issues.

Throughout the years, Pax Christi International has gathered and disseminated information about Latin America, including but not limited to: the situation of the refugees in Central America, the plight of indigenous people, disappearances in Guatemala, and land conflicts in Brazil.

It has also carried out some important fact finding missions and done advocacy work, in particular concerning the violations of human rights in several countries in the region.

Pax Christi International has facilitated exchanges between delegates from countries that had experienced similar processes so that they would learn from one another. Examples of this type of intervention can be seen in the meetings between people who had experienced the Truth Commission in South Africa with people from El Salvador and Haiti.

 

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Building the Latin American and Caribbean Network

The work of Pax Christi in the Americas and the Caribbean began in earnest in the late 1970s. At that time, the wars and human rights abuses in Central America strongly demanded international action.

In the early 1980s, Pax Christi International and its member organisations sent the first of several delegations and fact-finding missions to El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The consequent reports were published and advocacy was carried out at the human rights bodies of the United Nations and other organisations.

Pax Christi's work in the region in the 1980s focused its attention on the situation in Brazil and Haiti. Several international fact-finding missions and visits, especially to Brazil, Haiti, and Mexico, were organised. The main aim of these visits was to uncover and report on violence and human rights violations against the population.

Since then, Pax Christi International has been able to build a network of member organisations in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Guatemala, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the United States, and Canada. At the same time, good working relationships with NGOs in other Latin American countries have been established as well.

Since its first regional consultation in Peru in 2007, Pax Christi has made significant progress toward the establishment of a strategic, formalised and effective regional network with an increasingly well-articulated focus and programme of capacity-building activities and common action. Pax Christi International now has a permanent Regional Coordinator based in Colombia who coordinates the work of Member Organisations. The regional coordinator spearheads trainings, publications, workshops and fact-finding human rights visits in the region, including a solidarity delegation of religious leaders to Honduras following the coup d’etat. This work has greatly improved the visibility of the movement. The LA&C network of Pax Christi Member Organisations is now called upon as an influential focal point for justice and peace initiatives and actions in the region.

In the LA&C region, Pax Christi International Member Organisations have worked with other civil society organisations and networks to reduce violence that is undercutting potential in the region for improved access to a life of dignity. Advocating for an end to exclusion and impunity, the network promotes social justice, community organization and peace education in order to involve citizens—whose daily lives are most affected by violence—in designing and implementing solutions for their communities.

Latin America and the Caribbean continues to struggle with major threats to sustainable peace: extractive industries that disrespect communities’ rights, massive migration, a lack of popular democracy and respect for human rights, drug trafficking, gang violence, domestic violence, and conflicts specific to a particular country, such as Colombia’s internal conflict or conflicts over natural resources or indigenous rights in Chile and Bolivia. Communities with little or no state presence and a high incidence of violence are caught in the middle between anti-crime policies, illegal groups and corrupt officials acting with impunity. Women are often the victims of violence and are rarely recognized as vital to peace-building or violence prevention activities.

Social, political and economic forms of exclusion shape the LA&C context in which violence is rooted, and local communities across the region are struggling to respond. At the same time, many international development agencies and funders are turning their attention to other corners of the world, making Pax Christi International’s presence in region even more important.

Pax Christi International Member Organisations in LA&C believe that a strengthened Pax Christi regional network, working via a multi-level approach of nurturing and articulating grassroots peace spirituality; capacity-building in the areas of active nonviolence, peace education, and restorative justice; and citizen-based multi-dimensional policy advocacy on specific issues of concern will curb these tides of violence and secure sustainable peace.

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Our Member Organisations  in Latin America and the Caribbean are  1) Centro Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, Chiapas (Mexico), 2) Pax Christi Puerto Rico, 3) Pax Christi Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 4) Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix d' Haiti, 5) Centro Dominicano de Asesoría e Investigación Legal, Cedail, Dominican Republic, 6) Tutela Legal del Arzobispado de San Salvador, El Salvador, 7) Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo–GAM, Guatemala, 8) Redepaz, Colombia, 9) Justice, Solidarity and Peace Commission, from the Conference of Major Superiors of Religious Men and Women Congregations, Colombia, 10) Pax Christi Peru, 11) Comission Pastoral da Terra, Brazil, 12) Justice and Peace Service-Serpaj Chile.

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HIGHLIGHTS

The report titled “Seeking Peace in Colombia” of the fact-finding visit of a Pax Christi International delegation is available in English and Spanish. The report has been distributed in Colombia as well as in the US, the European Union, and the United Nations.

Several fact-finding visits to Brazil have been organised by Pax Christi International, in conjunction with its member organisation the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT). As a result, submissions have been made to the human rights institutions both in Brazil as well as on the international level.

The 2008 Pax Christi International Peace Award was given to Franciscan Dom Luiz Flávio Cappio, bishop of Barra in the state of Bahia, Brazil, for his nonviolent action in favour of the fisher folk and river inhabitants endangered by the Sâo Francisco river transposition project, as well as to the local community itself that was so active in the movement against the river transposition project.

Organization of Capacity building workshops for the Pax Christi Member Organisations on active nonviolence, incorporating peace spirituality and advocacy from the nonviolence approach. These workshops took place throughout 2012 in Colombia, Dominican republic, Haiti, Chiapas-Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Puerto Rico, brazil, Peru.

Publication of the handbook on Nonviolence that is being used for the trainings

A small Pax Christi International delegation participated in the Rio +20 to bring international attention to the ethical concerns of conflicts and migration related to climate change and to consult with others on strategy, specifically coordinated with other social and peasant organisations advocating for climate justice.

Based on  field work ; design of  a National Advocacy Plan (on Peru case) and international (Latin America and Caribbean region), that can be used as an advocacy tool on extractives, water and communities’ rights, for Pax Christi International Member Organisations in Europe, United States and Canada.

Regional Blog on Human Trafficking: This activity follows from the June 2011 Pax Christi Workshop in Panama titled, "Trafficking: An expression of slavery in the modern world." which focused on the socio-economic drivers of human trafficking in general, as well as the growth of human trafficking in Latin America. Purpose of the blog is to connect networks in the Region (Red Tamar in Colombia, Red Kawsay in Perú, Red No a la Trata in Ecuador, Jesuit Refugees Service, etc.) and explores current and potential coalitions and partnerships. The blog disseminates activities and promotes reflections about the issue, lessons learned and challenges

A Regional Workshop on Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) Women, Peace and Security and on Human Trafficking was organised by Pax Christi International in Panama City  February 2013. The aim  was to strengthen the capacity of Pax Christi’ Latin America and the Caribbean country partners to use SCR 1325 in their work , to be familiar with the [United Nations and Member State] mandates on  women peace and security , and the importance of SCR 1325 National Action Plans to protect women's rights and to prevent and respond to human trafficking. 

Pax Christi Perú and Pax Christi International release the report “Ya no es verde como antes” (“Not green as it used to be”) on the impacts of mining in the area of San Mateo de Huanchor, Peru. The 42 page document offers an overview of the situation in the region focusing on the main problems and study alternative proposals to counteract the effects.