Cristosal advances human rights in Central America through rights-based research, learning, and programming. We accompany victims of violence to provide protection when they need it most, repair the lingering effects of human rights violations, and build environments where peace is possible.
How we achieve our mission.
We have five key tools for achieving our mission, all with independent goals, but tightly woven together as an integrated blueprint for defending human rights in the Northern Triangle of Central America.
- Victim Accompaniment
- Strategic Litigation
- Community Development
- Research & Learning
- Strategic Communication
2 historic, emblematic war crimes, the massacres of El Mozote and El Calabazo, prosecuted by Cristosal.
The massacre at El Mozote was declared a crime against humanity in December of 2018, a first in the history of Salvadoran courts.
6 amparos (Supreme Court cases) won on behalf of victims of displacement, resulting in justice for six families and an unprecedented decision ordering the Salvadoran government to create laws and programs to protect victims of forced displacement henceforth.
583 internally displaced individuals assisted as Cristosal launched the most comprehensive registration system in El Salvador for displaced persons.
170 individuals trained to support their communities in protecting human rights and building environments where peace is possible.
7 interactive Global School Seminars, including Cristosal's first seminars designed especially for asylum lawyers and researchers, bringing North and Central Americans together to gain knowledge and practice around shared human rights concerns.
6 major research reports and numerous media stories published, raising public awareness of the scale and nature of forced displacement in the region.
60+ staff members distributed across all three countries of the Northern Triangle - El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. In El Salvador, all staff members are now working in one space, following a move to a larger office that allows for more effective collaboration, workshops, and specialized training.
While statistics tell the story of Cristosal's growing influence, each number represents a real person, often an entire family, in crisis.
This picture was created as part of a series of art workshops carried out with victims of forced displacement. The young girl who drew this self-portrait was one of the plaintiffs in the sixth amparo, which resulted in the precedent-setting Supreme Court ruling. It depicts the horror, grief, and hope found in displacement.
If I am free, I will be happy / I am the light that illuminates everywhere / I am your refuge, and your happiness.
In the face of increasing violence and insecurity, Cristosal strengthens communities by fostering a culture of transparency and promoting democratic participation at the grass-roots level.
Our approach to community development addresses both a victim’s immediate need to be integrated into a safe community, and the long-term structural need for the creation of environments that uphold human rights.
74 internally displaced individuals integrated into new communities
Edgar, his young son, and some of their extended family members were displaced when his wife was murdered by gang members. They moved around El Salvador, to Guatemala briefly, and then back to El Salvador, but they were followed by rumors that they were themselves involved in a gang. Moving in El Salvador can be complicated, as widespread violence sometimes breeds a distrust of newcomers.
Struggling to find a sense of belonging in their new community, the family was referred to Cristosal by one of our partner organizations. Our community development team helped them get settled in their new community, and worked with them to define their long-term goals. The family decided they wanted to raise chickens in order to sell eggs in their community. Together with our partner organization we gave them the funds they needed to build a coop and buy their first 50 chicks. Edgar's chicks have now grown and laid their first eggs, his nieces and nephews have been able to enroll in school, and the family has begun to build trust with the community. As one Cristosal staff member commented, "They aren't alone, they can trust in an organization that's supporting them."
97 Global School Participants attended 7 seminars during 2018 from the US, Canada, and Central America.
- The Cristosal Model
- Youth Leadership and Human Rights
- Making the Case for Asylum
- State Violence and Police Abuse
- LGBTI+ People, Hate Crimes & Violence
- The Central American Refugee Crisis