Posts Tagged Jessica

A visit to D.F.’s Human Rights Commission

Today, Ainhoa and I tried yet another mode of transportation. Called a, “micro” or “pesera” these are independent buses that travel to various destinations and cover routes not frequented by government transportation systems.

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One of these “micros” transported us to D.F.’s Human Rights Commission (CDHDF), a local organ with its foundations in Mexico’s constitution, and an authority autonomous of the local and federal government. I was pleasantly surprised by the Commission’s atmosphere and quickly noticed a stark contrast between it’s environment and that of CONAGUA, which we visited this past monday. Not surprisingly. I can really only think to describe our interaction with CONAGUA as bureaucratic.

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CDHDF on the other hand was quite the opposite. I’ve passed the Commission numerous times throughout my time in Mexico, it happens to be across the street from one of my favorite parks in D.F., called Viveros. From a major avenue, Universidad, the Commission welcomed us with big bold letters. Built to reflect its theme of transparency, its open spaces contain plenty of glass, both inside and out, full of friendly-faced staff and citizens waiting to be assisted. We were greeted with open arms by a Director, who made every effort to answer our questions and provide us with the Commission’s materials. He informed us that it’s the Commission’s job to assist any individual, free of charge, on human rights issues, whether they walk-in, phone-in, or file a claim online.

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We got to see the Commission’s new Mobile Ombuds vans, that are to travel around the city for individuals to receive assistance. They basically look like mobile offices, as pictured below.

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I left the Commission with a feeling of excitement. Glad to know we’ll be returning soon and hoping to speak to many others. I guess that’s the difference between visiting an organization who sees water rights as a human right, CDHDF, as opposed to an organization that sees water simply as resource to be distributed.

After we left, we stopped for a bite to eat nearby right before a heavy rainfall. Left without an umbrella, we were stranded for a while inside a coffee-shop.

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This is not the first time the rain keeps us waiting, and I’m quite sure it won’t be the last.

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Fulbright to Peacebuilder: Transitioning to a new journey in Mexico.

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I write this blog reminiscing about the last nine months I’ve spent in Distrito Federal (D.F.), Mexico. Excited about the upcoming eight weeks as a Peacebuilder and the stories they’ll bring with them.

I’ve been lucky enough to study in D.F. as a Fulbright Fellow, learning about historical human rights reforms from attorneys, scholars, professors, students and activists, from within the Mexican Supreme Court, U.N.A.M., I.T.A.M. and other local institutions. Coming to question and understand what a “human right” means theoretically and in-practice, within the country’s evolving legal structure. As this journey comes to a close, I feel nothing less than inspired and humbled by the people I have met and worked with, not to mention the honor it has been to experience the brilliance of my mentors. As a Fulbright, I was enthralled with the history, substance and procedure of fundamental legal questions. This took place normally behind the doors of a courtroom, classroom, library, or coffee-shop, hardly ever interacting with the human side of human rights.

This blog marks my transition from exploring human rights in theory as a Fulbright, to encountering their human side as a Peacebuilder. What I look forward to the most as a Peacebuilder is having that opportunity to explore the human right to water rights. Coming face to face with how real individuals are affected by a lack of access to this fundamental living block, and sharing it with the world.

Living here has proven an all around life-changing experience. Though I consider myself a hybrid of sorts (educated in the U.S., but raised on Mexican traditions enforced by frequent travel across the border), I never imagined how much more there was to see, live and learn from Mexico. There’s something extraordinary about falling into the ebb and flow of this vibrant city-life, acquainting myself with its lively sounds, the hustle and bustle of its streets, the warmth of its people, its diverse landscapes, not to mention its endless array of culinary offerings.

Using these experiences as an advantage to my time as a Peacebuilder, I look forward to sharing them with you, as well as with my fellow Peacebuilder Ainhoa Martinez, and using them to explore a new side of D.F. and Mexico. I’m profoundly thankful for this unique opportunity to share these stories. Giving a voice to stakeholders may be the only viable chance they receive to spread word of their struggle, a struggle common to many, many more. I hope to make their obstacles heard, their voices come alive and reach you in time to make a difference.

Hasta la proxima!

Twitter: @jsanchez_int
Instagram: jaedaelove


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