About the Border Network for Human Rights
The Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) is one of the leading immigrationreform and human rights advocacy organizations in the United States. Based in El Paso,Texas, the BNHR has a membership of more than 700 families, or close to 4,000individuals, in West Texas and Southern New Mexico.The BNHR's mission is to organize border communities through human rights educationand to mobilize our members to ignite change in policy and practice, in particular when itcomes to responsible border policy, the respect of human rights and civil rights on the border and law enforcement practices on the border. The strength of the BNHR lies in itsgrassroots organizing and its willingness to work within the system to bring aboutchange.
The Human Rights Documentation Campaign of 2009
Since 2000, the Border Network for Human Rights has coordinated regular communitycampaigns to document violations of civil and human rights within border communitieson the part of law enforcement officials. This year, 58 community members were trainedto collect testimonials, a number comparable to previous years’ campaigns. Theserepresentatives set up 38 tables in communities from Vado, N.M., to Downtown El Paso,to Montana Vista to record stories during a one-week period from Nov. 14 to Nov. 20.They also roamed neighborhoods, armed with clipboards, and publicized the campaignthrough local media, community centers and churches.More than two dozen people filled a documentation form, a process that can take 45minutes to two hours and covers general information, kind of abuse, perpetrator information, victim information, witnesses and a detailed summary of the incident. The people who recorded their experiences of abuse with the Border Network wereguaranteed confidentiality and their cases will be reviewed by a legal counsel todetermine whether they could seek legal remedy. All the cases were reviewed todetermine whether a violation had occurred and at the end of that process, 19 cases madethe cut.The abuse reports were then analyzed and recommendations were made for improvement.The result is the report in your hands. It is meant not as a scientific study but rather as acheck of the state of human rights abuse in our communities. Over the years it has provena voice for people who may be fearful of reporting abuse to the authorities and aninstrument for change. The report is to be distributed to law enforcement agencies,elected officials and the public. It can be accessed at our Web site,www.bnhr.org.