Brief history of the Civil Observation Brigades for Peace and Human Rights (BriCO)


BirCo camp in the forest.
As a result of the armed rebellion of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN) the first of January, 1994, the political life throughout the country, and especially within the state of Chiapas, has changed in many ways.

We see the work realized by this project as an inherent and integral part of the defense and promotion of Human- and Indigenous Rights. In 1995 the mexican army launched a heavy offensive against many different indigenous communities. As a result of these actions, the president of this centre, Mons. Samuel Ruíz García, made a nacional and international call to bring a civil presence to the communities in the conflict. This call has been fundamental for many communities that have been benefitted by the presence of national and international observers, a presence that has helped not only to observe what happens, but also to prevent the occurance of violations, and as a base for this Human Rights Centre to act to improve the situation in the communities.

The solidarity that many national and international organizations have shown has made the articulation and actions of solidarity possible. This has, in a significant way, made it possible to denounce violations of human rights, to accompany the communities and made the BriCO an important actor in the political scene. Given the situation that prevails in the state of Chiapas, this solidarity has, with its presence and previous actions, made an important contribution to the peace process.

This project is carried out as a service to the communities based on three central ideas: acopanyment in the communities, documentation of the context, and solidarity; something that requires national and international work.