In 2019, CELS is celebrating 40 years in existence. Over the course of recent decades, we have built human rights as a horizon and as an approach. As a horizon, it guides our actions: the promotion of modes of social organization that protect life and integrity and ensure the full exercise of economic, social, cultural and political rights.
As an approach, it serves as a perspective for analyzing and intervening in contemporary problems. That viewpoint is what cuts across this Report, which is not a full accounting of what we do, but rather an invitation to readers to look at different aspects of what is occurring from the perspective of the rights at stake (whether under threat or already razed) and to get involved in devising joint actions.
This anniversary entices us almost irresistibly to take stock, with the latent risks of making comparisons between two very different moments in history, and with the difficulties inherent in interpreting the present without the benefit of the passage of time. This moment in time also prompts us to reflect on the validity of “human rights” as the pivot articulating social struggles, or as a realm for charting paths.
A summary in English is available on our mini-site. Additionally, full translations of the chapters Leaning on rights –about the rhetoric and policies to restrict human rights in the region– and Secrecy –on the government-imposed restrictions in transparency and access to information under the pretext of national security– are also available.