MacArthur has announced three grants totaling nearly $1 million to help strengthen Mexico’s human rights ombuds system, which investigates and mediates reports of human rights abuses, and to contribute to human rights protections for indigenous communities in the state of Guerrero.

“In the past decade, Mexico has made significant advances in addressing human rights issues,” said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. “But there is still work to be done, especially in the rural areas. These grants will assist national and local groups monitor and protect human rights across the country, and will help improve Mexico’s human rights ombuds system—one of the largest in the world.”

Fundar Centro de Análisis e Investigación, based in Mexico City, received a grant of $450,000 over three years for work related to the national human rights commission and up to 10 local commissions in Mexico. At the national level, grant funds will focus on a review of the administrative and budgetary structure of the commission’s newly established directorate for the President’s Office; review the Commission’s expenditures on media and communications, public events, and collaboration with civil society organizations; and a project to determine the most efficient use of the Commission’s resources, paying close attention to how funds are used for the President’s Office, the General Complaint’s Office, and for the protection of minority groups. At the state level, Fundar will work with commissions to train staff in the areas of international human rights law, conflict resolution, evaluation of programs and projects, and ways to improve accountability and citizen participation. Fundar, established in 1999, monitors public policies and institutions, and works with civil, social, governmental and inter-governmental organizations to help advance democracy in Mexico.

A grant of $320,000 over three years was awarded to the Centro de Derechos Humanos de la Montana, Tlachinollan, based in Tlapa, Guerrero, for work related to the rights of the indigenous people of the Mountain and Costa Chica regions of Guerrero. Grant funds will be used to provide legal counsel and defense to indigenous people in the region and mediate conflicts between individuals, communities, and authorities in Guerrero. The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center in Tlapa was founded in 1994 to help address human rights violations against the region’s indigenous population that result from social and economic inequities.

The Academia Mexicana de Derechos Humanos, based in Mexico City, received a grant of $210,000 over three years produce human rights shadow reports in eight Mexican states. The Acadamia will work with local human rights organizations in the states of Guerrrero, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Puebla, Sinaloa, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro, and Mexico City to monitor and publicize information about the local human rights situation and the extent to which the state human rights commissions are responding to the most pressing needs. The Mexican Academy for Human Rights was created more than 20 years ago to research, analyze, document, train, promote, and disseminate information about human rights in Mexico.

Human Rights & International Justice, Human Rights, Justice, Latin America, Mexico