Pilar Carolina Arrese Alcala is a psychologist who works with the highly respected Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Prodh (Centro Prodh), a human rights organization based in Mexico City. For the last six years Pilar has worked alongside Centro Prodh to educate the public on human rights. She alsoaccompanies victims of human rights violations, including indigenous people struggling to defend their land and women survivors of sexual violence.
Centro Prodh was founded by the Jesuits in 1988 at the end of Mexico’s dirty war—a period of conflict between the right-wing government and left-wing student and guerilla groups in the 1960’s and 1970’s—to work on both democratic and land justice issues. Since then, Centro Prodh has promoted human rights victims’ access to the truth and justice for violations of the past and present—including disappearances, extrajudicial executions and torture. They also advocate for the demilitarization of public security forces due to the disproportionate impact of militarization on vulnerable groups.
Centro Prodh is a key ally in the struggle for human rights in Mexico. The centre supports a number of women victims of violence and arbitrary arrest. They played a key roll in guaranteeing the release of Yecenia Armenta in June 2016—who was arbitrarily arrested in 2012 and forced to sign a “confession” under torture to the murder of her husband. They are also heavily involved in calling for justice in a number of high profile cases across the country, including the case of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa in 2014. Through all of its work Centro Prodh seeks to guarantee fair, efficient and effective investigations and trials for victims of human rights violations.
Situation of Human Rights in Mexico, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 31 December 2015.