26.4.2024. To support displaced people, the Alianza has launched a fundraising campaign entitled "Returning home: a path of hope and dignity". The funds will be used to support families who - displaced from their communities in the Sierra - are living in unacceptable conditions in Chihuahua and have no prospect of returning. Many of these families live in so-called "refugios", collective shelters where the living conditions are catastrophic. We had the opportunity to visit one of these remote shelters on the outskirts of the city. It is located behind a high wall, which is secured with a crown of barbed wire. Several families live there in a small space without running water. The children are taken to school every day. They feel uncomfortable there because they are shunned by their classmates. The adults report that everyone lives in constant fear. After three years, they have still not received the promised satellite phone for emergencies. The family of Juan Carrillo, who was murdered five years ago, also lives here. They told us vividly about the terror they experienced and their escape. (Ellen Schriek)

26.4.2024. The so-called amparo is a constitutional legal remedy in Latin American countries. The Alianza has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the indigenous people displaced from the Sierra Madre Occidental. The authorities had determined that people who had to flee their communities to escape the terror of organized crime were exposed to an extraordinary risk. They were promised protection and support. A judge has now ordered the authorities at national, state and municipal level to actually implement the agreed protection measures in order to guarantee the survival of the displaced persons, their right to life, personal integrity, but also to health, education and adequate housing. (Ellen Schriek)

26.4.2024. The food situation has worsened due to an extreme drought. The harvest has largely dried up. Food donations have alleviated the greatest need, especially for children and elderly women living alone. Agricultural experts are examining the soil and drawing up plans for alternative cultivation methods and more resistant crops. The inhabitants of Choréachi are being trained in many workshops on how to deal with the changed climatic conditions. The decades-long legal dispute over land rights in Choréachi has now ended to the disadvantage of the indigenous community. The case is now before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. (Ellen Schriek)

26.4.2024. In September 2023, I made a trip to Chihuahua and met our partner organization Alianza Sierra Madre. Visits to the Sierra to see the projects on site are no longer possible due to the current dangerous situation. Even the members of the Alianza can only travel to the remote areas of the Sierra accompanied by armed bodyguards. So we met the new team at the Alianza office in Chihuahua. One of the good things we learned was that Isela González is back in Chihuahua after several months underground. She had been forced to leave the city for a long time due to the police's risk assessment. With psychological support, she survived this difficult time and has come to terms with it as best she can. For her safety, she now has personal protection at her side. (Ellen Schriek)

Back after a long time. On Thursday afternoon Magdalena and I land in Chihuahua, Isela Gonzales - the director of our partner organisation Alianza Sierra Madre - and her daughter pick us up at the airport. We'll get straight to the point. What has changed in the last few years? Some former employees now work in government organizations, trying to promote human rights work, but continue to support Alianza.
The next day, a first exchange of information takes place in the office. Isela has been in Geneva this year with the International Peace Brigades to report to the Human Rights Commission on the situation in the Sierra. Alianza works with various non-governmental organizations in Mexico, but also with many international organizations and three lawyers specializing in international law.