Children and adolescents express their concerns and fears about violence in a forum in San Cristóbal

Boys, girls and adolescents from Chiapas, expressed their fears and their concerns on Wednesday about the violence experienced in the streets of their neighborhoods, of their neighborhoods in this city, where they can no longer go out to play freely or enjoy public spaces.

Within the framework of the forum ”Spinning Alternatives with the Children of Chiapas”, organized by Melel Xojobal, the Network for the Rights of Children and Adolescents in Chiapas (REDIAS) and Slamalil Kinal, indigenous and non-indigenous children and adolescents participated to give their voice, their word, to talk about the problems that afflict them, the situation in their homes, in the family environment and in the social environment of their neighborhoods.

In the event where activists and defenders of the rights of children and adolescents met, such as Tania Ramirez Hernández from (REDIAS) or Jeniffer Haza from Melel Xojobal, Kathia Loyzaga, Father Gonzalo Ituarte, members of organizations such as Cultural Winds, Aldo Ledón from Mesoamerican voices, allowed the boys, girls, and adolescents to express themselves freely in response to questions or scenarios posed by the organizers.

The Forum was held within the framework of the “Children with a Good Life” Campaign, which was created to open a channel of information and solidarity with working girls, boys and adolescents in the territories where these civil organizations are now opting for new ways of life with dignity and respect for their rights.

In the Forum, a series of presentations were made of a process of analysis and update of the characterization of the territories where we have a presence, of spaces for reflection that we have made and continue to make in the team and also with some other neighborhood organizations, as well as with community representatives from the city.

Citlali, a girl from one of the neighborhoods of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, said she was worried about the conflict between organizations, since she does not know when she could be caught in the middle of a violent situation like many that she has seen and heard from her house.

She said that in addition to being a very beautiful city, San Cristóbal de Las Casas has clashes and confrontations between groups. She is afraid to go outside. “As a woman, one can no longer go out freely. There are kidnappers, people who assault. You can no longer go out at night,” Citlali said.

A child present at the Forum said that he would like the city to have more jobs for students, so that they can work and so continue with their studies.

Another adolescent explained that the municipal police officers take away the merchandise sold by their parents, their uncles, their neighbors who go out to sell on the streets and the walkways of this colonial city. “It is not fair that they do not let us work. We want decent work.”

A girl said that she would like the streets to have more light, since she has had to walk in her neighborhood in such dark streets where people walk in fear of being the victim of some assault or other type of attack.

An adolescent said: “We are the present and we want the good life, but we are also the future.” She said she was concerned about the little access to health and education.

In Chiapas, with just over five million inhabitants, 40 percent are children and adolescents.

The Forum was held to highlight the main problems that children and adolescents are facing in San Cristóbal de Las Casas and the state of Chiapas. To network and encourage analysis and collaboration between organizations and groups to strengthen alternatives for children.

There, in the Forum, the words of working girls, boys and adolescents and participants in projects with educational approaches were heard. Their dreams, proposals and resistance to these new scenarios were heard.

In the presentation: “Children facing criminal violence in San Cristóbal de Las Casas”, the civil organizations pointed out that currently Chiapas and San Cristóbal de Las Casas are at the center of the territorial dispute by different local and transnational organizations that seek to administer routes of trafficking in drugs, weapons and people due to the negligence and complicity of the State.

And, in the midst of these power struggles, children and adolescents, especially from indigenous peoples, are particularly vulnerable. The figures for homicides, femicides and disappearances show the increase in violence against this group.

Original article by Isaín Mandujano at

Translated by Schools for Chiapas

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