In 1994, after the armed uprising by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), social and civil organizations, as well as Mexican religious leaders, recognized the need for a permanent international presence in Chiapas to help to avoid or lessen the risks of violent ends to conflict. In this context, in 1995, a group of international organizations with a long history of work in the areas of peace building, human rights, and nonviolent activism responded by creating a coalition consisting of members from the United States, Europe, and Latin America. They shared not only concerns about the situation in Chiapas, but also the hope that they could help to build a just, long-lasting peace in the state. From this came the project of SIPAZ, the International Service for Peace.
The work of SIPAZ in monitoring conflicts and systematizing the relevant information has two main functions:
- Making clearly visible the patterns of social and political conflicts and human rights violations, and outlining alternatives in which local, national and international actors and institutions could interact to transform the conflicts through non-violence and dialogue. Besides limiting direct violence by exposing the causes and consequences of conflicts, we also wish to focus a spotlight on actors and initiatives that represent positive alternatives and reasons for hope in the region.
- Informing local actors about social and political conflicts and current processes of grass-roots organizing. The goal here is to encourage peace-building initiatives; contribute to the reduction in tensions; and engage in outreach to different actors and offer capacity-building that will help civil society organizations develop more effective strategies of their own to reduce local conflict.
We operate several publications including a website (in Spanish, English, French and German, where one can find everything published by SIPAZ since its creation), as well as this Blog (in Spanish and English, with flash-news information).