Creating a new normal in El Salvador

We can’t return to the normality of before the coronavirus pandemic, says Omar Serrano. When all of this is over, none of us will be the same person we were before.

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Defending land and life in Honduras

During the coronavirus pandemic, the government in Honduras is increasing its repression and stigmatisation of human rights defenders. Furthermore, despite the risks posed by coronavirus for workers, some mining companies are continuing their activities with the approval of the government. Jess Michelmore, from CAFOD’s Latin America team, shares the story of Juana, a human rights defender from Honduras.

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Towards a world after coronavirus in Honduras

Father Melo is the Director of CAFOD’s longstanding Church partner ERIC-Radio Progreso in Honduras, which works on communications and research focusing on migration, integral ecology and defending human rights. As ERIC celebrates its 40th anniversary, Father Melo talks about the current situation in Honduras, the impact of coronavirus, his ideas for an alternative development, the organisation’s achievements and their hopes for the next 10 years.

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Building a common home in the Brazilian Amazon

Kezia Lavan from CAFOD’s Brazil team tells us about her latest trip to the Brazilian Amazon where she met with local communities who are learning to farm sustainably, preserve the forest and stand up for their rights.

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Why the Earth needs the Amazon

Bishop David Martínez de Aguirre Guinea works in Peru’s Amazon and is one of the two Secretaries attending the Amazon Synod. As the Synod takes place, Bishop David tells us about the importance of bringing the Amazon and its peoples into the heart of the Church. 

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Standing alongside indigenous communities

Mauricio López is the Executive Secretary of REPAM – a Catholic Church network CAFOD supports that promotes the rights and dignity of the people in the Amazon. As the Amazon Synod takes place, Mauricio tells us about the threats indigenous communities in the Amazon face and the important role they play in protecting our planet.

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The defence of the Amazon is at the centre of our faith

Father Peter Hughes is a missionary priest originally from Ireland who has lived and worked in Peru for over 50 years. As the Amazon Synod begins, he tells us about the importance of the Amazon for the whole world.

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Celebrating Human Rights Defenders in Brazil

Today is International Human Rights Day. Esther Gillingham, CAFOD’S Brazil Programme Officer explains how CAFOD’s partner, Justice on the Railway Tracks is empowering human rights defenders and changing lives in Brazil.

CAFOD are very proud to share the news that our Brazilian partner, Justice on the Railway Tracks was presented with the first ever  Human Rights and Business Foundation Award presented at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva on 27th November 2018.

They received the award for their work defending poor communities from the impacts of human rights and environmental abuses by mining companies in the Amazonian state of Maranhao in north-eastern Brazil.

This work included a 13-year long legal struggle which resulted in the landmark resettlement of the Piquia de Baixo community who have been adversely affected by a huge steel plant built right next to their community in the 1980s.

Support our human rights work in Brazil

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Saint Romero: My inspiration

Blessed Oscar Romero is being officially recognised as a saint on 14 October 2018

Tania Dalton frequently travelled to El Salvador with CAFOD.

Tania Dalton was a member of CAFOD’s Latin America team for nearly 13 years. In this blog she explains how Archbishop Oscar Romero has inspired her to begin a new chapter in her life.

Two big things are happening in my life right now:

  1. I have started to train as a primary school teacher
  2. Blessed Oscar Romero is being officially recognised as a saint on 14 October

It might seem conceited to say the two things are related, but in my mind, they are.

Inspired by Oscar Romero

I first heard about Archbishop Oscar Romero when I started working in CAFOD in 1999. I am inspired daily by Romero’s unwavering option for the poor, although I was a small child when he was killed for his defence of basic human rights and social justice.

Read more about Oscar Romero’s life

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Disappearance: Torture without end

Sunset over San Salvador, capital of El Salvador
Sunset over San Salvador, capital of El Salvador

On International Day of the Disappeared, CAFOD’s Clare Dixon shares the story of people who worked at the height of the conflict in El Salvador to make sure people killed by death squads did not just disappear without a trace. Sadly, some of the details of this story are distressing.

The first time I visited El Salvador in 1981 the country was plunged in a brutal civil war. Thousands of ordinary men and women were being targeted by the army and death squads, just for demanding their basic human rights, a decent wage, and freedom of speech. Nobody ventured out after dark for fear of being arrested or just snatched off the streets and I felt an overwhelming sense of fear and dread.

Archbishop Romero, the “voice of the voiceless” who had espoused and defended the cause of the poor and oppressed, had been shot dead as he said Mass in 1980. A year later I was visiting El Salvador to meet with members of his Archdiocese who, with the support of CAFOD, had set up a human rights office. Its task was to provide legal aid to help and comfort the countless victims of violence who had nowhere else to turn when their loved ones had “disappeared” after being captured by the death squads.

Please pray for those struggling in El Salvador

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