Abel Barrera Hernandez
2010, Mexico
Abel Barrera Hernandez

The work of anthropologist and human rights activist Abel Barrera Hernández has made him a local hero both in his hometown of Tlapa de Comonfort, Guerrero and throughout Mexico. In 1994, after 12 years of study in theology and anthropology with a focus on indigenous peoples’ human rights, Barrera returned to his hometown to establish what has become one of the most respected and successful human rights organizations in Mexico -- Tlachinollan.

Originally a small and under-funded effort, Tlahinollan is now an organization that is trusted by indigenous communities and respected by partner organizations across Mexico, the U.S. and the international community. In one year alone, Tlachinollan produced favorable legal results for 100 cases and responded to a total of 1,551 complaints, 377 of which were human rights violations.

While working under constant threat from lawless narco-violence and military impunity, Barrera and his team have been organizing communities and championing the rights and dignity of the under-represented and threatened indigenous people of Guerrero for nearly 20 years. Tlachinollan remains a key voice for human rights in a time that is especially trying for Mexican defenders.

“At Tlachinollan, our conviction is to work together, in a new joint project, where human rights are supreme and where we can better honor the memory of Robert Kennedy, whose legacy not only brings us together today and challenges us, but serves as an inexhaustible source of inspiration to continue the long march toward global justice," Abel Barrera Hernández.