Global trends such as the rise in authoritarianism and weakening of democratic institutions have especially severe impacts in transitional democracies like the countries of Central America’s Northern Triangle, putting human rights at ever greater risk. Noah Bullock will give an overview of the state of human rights in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras through the lens of the politics of each country and of the United States. Despite great challenges and backward-trending developments such as the dismissal of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in Guatemala and the Trump Administration’s Northern Triangle policy aimed at burnishing its anti-immigration bona fides for a domestic audience, there is an undying flame of hope in all three Northern Triangle countries and promising signs for a more peaceful future.
In this talk, Noah Bullock will draw on examples from Cristosal’s own work, including its 2018 Salvadoran Supreme Court victory on behalf of victims of internal displacement and its ongoing prosecution of the 1981 El Mozote massacre, to discuss potential paths forward. Says Bullock, “Human rights were taught to me as a historical process, and every generation has to be able to understand human rights and violations in their own time. Our moment has changed significantly from when these frameworks were established, so we are challenged now to find ways to apply these same principles in programming to address our moment’s greatest challenges of displacement by violence, poverty, and inequality.”
Noah Bullock is Executive Director of Cristosal. He first came to El Salvador in 2005 as a human rights intern for Cristosal after graduating from the University of Montana with a bachelor’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. Noah studied at the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE), a joint project of the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland and the United Nations University, and in 2009 earned a postgraduate certificate in Local Development cum laude at the University of Central America, José Simeón Cañas. From 2006 to 2009, Noah worked as the director of Cristosal’s Community Development program. At the end of 2009, he started a documentary film project about internal displacement called "For a More Humane World," in which he worked as an executive producer until the film’s release in April 2010. During that period, he also assumed his current role as Executive Director. In 2016, Noah presented a report on forced displacement in Central America at the High-Level Leaders’ Round Table on Forced Displacement at the World Humanitarian Summit, where he also participated in the consultative process for the global pact for refugees. Noah is a member and co-founder of the Legal Support Network for Refugees in the Americas (RARLA).
Cristosal is a human rights NGO based in El Salvador, with operations in Guatemala and Honduras. Cristosal advances human rights in the Northern Triangle via five integrated programs: Victim Accompaniment and Protection, Strategic Litigation, Community Development, Strategic Communication, and Learning and Research. Current foci of Cristosal’s work include internal displacement due to violence, the rise in anti-LGBTQI violence throughout the region, the militarization of security, and the prosecution of historic crimes in El Salvador like the El Mozote massacre.