Guatemala, Guatemala - November 8

Defender Network meeting

Capitalizing on the presence of the Defenders for the Canadian training, we held a mid-year meeting to follow-up on the planning from the April 2012 forum. Various Defenders reported on meetings they had attended as representatives of the Defender Network, including one on regional strategic litigation, and the UN process on women Cairo+20. Others talked about cases. We also discussed projects in development, such as a needs assessment on the Mexico and Guatemala border about Guatemala farmworkers in Mexico. We agreed that the Defender Network would participate in the “Grupo Articulador”, a group of advocates pushing the Guatemalan government to form a more coherent migration policy.  
None of the Defender organizations work specifically on migrant labor rights as part of their regular programs, so these additional commitments are not taken lightly. For most, it is a strain to incorporate this work into their work schedules. Regardless, their commitment to defending Guatemalan migrants never ceases to amaze. One Defender, Aroldo Palacios, took a 1AM bus to arrive in the capital, Guatemala City, in time to attend a meeting we held at 8AM. Two Defenders plan to leave at 4AM on Friday to return to their communities in time for previously planned events.
We concluded the meeting with a discussion on how to better share information within the network. From New York, we are in continual contact with the Defenders, but cross-sharing has been harder to achieve. One Defender suggested a monthly update.  Together, we will work to arrive at solution that makes it easier from them to engage in this work.

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