Elva Alicia GÓMEZ MENDOZA
Fellow Since 1993
Comisión de Solidaridad y Defensa de los Derechos Humanos
This profile was prepared when Elva Alicia Gómez Mendoza was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1993.
The New Idea
Numerous human rights organizations have been formed throughout Mexico since the mid-1980s. The earthquake of 1985, questionable presidential elections in 1988, constitutional changes in 1992, and economic stresses have all stimulated the growth of cititzens' groups devoted to addressing social issues, often in a human rights context. Many organizations have focused on the abuses suffered by a specific group, such as indigenous people, migrant workers, or women and children, and most work on their single issues at the local level. Elva Gomez sees the limitations of this atomized approach. She is creating a training system for a network of human rights organizations in Chihuahua to prepare its members to work together to monitor all human rights abuses that occur in the state.Elva's work differs from other human rights advocacy groups in Chihuahua both in its collaborative structure and in its broad scope, which goes beyond the customary enforcement of political human rights. Her network strives to address the ongoing international discussion of the "second generation" of rights for housing, health and the environment. Elva is systematizing and documenting her experience in Chihuahua, translating it into a model that can be replicated in other states throughout Mexico.