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A Letter from Cristosal's Executive Director

From all of us here at Cristosal, Happy New Year! As we look forward to 2016, we also want to acknowledge the extraordinary work of our program staff and allies. In the last year alone, Cristosal, in coordination with our in-country partners, directly attended to 623 individuals forcibly displaced by violence in El Salvador, 238 of which were children and adolescents. We established national precedents for the protection of minors, and successfully put the issue of forced displacement on both the national and international agenda.
It’s hard to believe that an organization as small as Cristosal has managed to have such a large impact in such a short span of time. But we also see it’s not our size that matters, but where our support comes from. Thanks to our grassroots support network, Cristosal is able to respond to today's most pressing issues and quickly innovate new and creative solutions. 

Only two years ago, this legal assistance and victim protection program didn't exist. Cristosal identified the issue of forced displacement because victims started showing up at our door, asking for help. And though at the time we didn’t have the capacity or expertise to help them, your support gave us the flexibility to change and adapt to this paramount need. We were able to investigate, experiment, and take risks. As a direct result, Cristosal is now recognized as one of the leading human rights organizations attending to victims of violence, developing protection models to be implemented throughout Central America.

This work would not have been possible without you. Thank you again for your partnership and support. 

With gratitude,
Noah Bullock, Executive Director

Cristosal and Roundtable Publish First Report Documenting Forced Displacement

BREAKING: Last week, Foundation Cristosal in conjunction with civil society partners released the first report on forced displacement by violence, drawing on 146 documented cases of 623 individuals assisted in 2015.


"Gangs are predominantly those that are generating forced displacement caused by the violence they exercise. Authorities should take steps and measures to address the phenomenon of forced internal displacement."
-El Salvador Ombudsman Daivd Morales



Forum proved that it is no longer tenable to deny that forced displacement is a problem in El Salvador, and that the State must be held accountable for victim protection; the packed conference hall had all major media outlets present. Two years ago, the problem had not been named nor addressed. Now Forced Displacement is UNIGNORABLE because of Cristosal's advocacy with the Roundtable.

Would you like to know more about displacement in El‬ Salvador caused by violence? Download the report HERE

 

Why is El Salvador so violent? 
What can be done about it?

Photo: Celia Medrano, Chief Program Officer at Foundation Cristosal

A recent Interview in Spanish with Cristosal’s Chief Program Officer, Celia Medrano, explains in detail the problems and highlights solutions. Widespread violence is increasingly mentioned as the main cause of forced migration by Salvadorans deported and returned mainly from the United States and Mexico. But there are more issues at play. Read the full Spanish interview HERE


"Hundreds of families could benefit from a TPS specifically given in response to the conditions of violence, but to make this possible the Northern Triangle countries must recognize the widespread violence as a cause of forced migration; by not doing so, they close doors to initiatives such as TPS to families who could truly benefit." 
- Cristosal Chief Program Officer Celia Medrano
 

"See, Hear, Shut Up!"

Cristosal's Executive Director Noah Bullock gives a radio interview with The Takeaway on the violent reality in El Salvador and what can be done to assist those most vulnerable.

Photo: July, 24, 2014 A mother and child, 3, from El Salvador await transport to a processing center for undocumented immigrants after they crossed the Rio Grande into the United States in Mission, Texas (Getty)
Earlier this month, Noah Bullock was interviewed by The Take Away with John Hockenberry on violence and victims in El Salvador. Gang conflict is the most commonly known type of violence in El Salvador; however, there are other types of violence that are not covered as much by the media in the United States. For example, state violence and the increase in extrajudicial executions, or death squads (or social cleansing groups taking force in the country), and the general impunity without accountability for that violence is ever growing.

People have learned to adapt to a life of seeing, hearing, and shutting up so as to avoid being another victim of violence; otherwise, life may no longer be viable in their respective communities. 
It is critical to understand the nuances of this conflict so as to best attend to the needs of victims and build state capacities for their protection.

Click here to hear the full interview: The Deadly Choices
 
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