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Silvia Pérez Yescas

HRD, founder
International Day of the World Indigenous Peoples - Campaign

I have always been against injustice and oppression, which are the two things we experience the most here in the indigenous communities, so I decided to find a way to fight against this.

In 2001 Silvia Pérez Yescas founded the organisation CIARENA (Conservación, Investigación y Aprovechamiento de los Recursos Naturales), which is based in Lombardo, Oaxaca. CIARENA works to protect the rights of indigenous people, and women in particular, in the state of Oaxaca. Together with her colleagues, Silvia reports abuses committed by State forces, struggles for the right of indigenous communities opposing mega-projects, and accompanies women survivor of domestic violence. Because of her work, Silvia has been often threatened and attacked, and she suffered an attempted killing.


Human rights defenders (HRDs) and journalists in Mexico are subject to intimidation, legal harassment, arbitrary detention, death threats, acts of physical aggression, enforced disappearances and killings as a result of their activities in defence of human rights and the exercise of freedom of expression and journalism.

Disappearances are endemic in Mexico, often happening with collusion from the state. HRDs working on the issue face serious risk, up to and including death. HRDs working in the defence of territory, particularly indigenous territory, face a similar level of risk. They are criminalised, imprisoned, defamed, and often killed. Journalists working on any of these issues, or issues related to the drugs trade and the government's complicity in this, also run the risk of losing their lives.


Historias de resistencia: las luchas de las mujeres indígenas en Mesoamérica