The Evolution of the Defender Network and
the Future of Cross-Border Collaboration

Defender Network members and Justice in Motion staff at the Defender Network regional event in November 2017 in El Salvador.

Defender Network members and Justice in Motion staff at the Defender Network regional event in November 2017 in El Salvador.


An International Network of Human Rights Advocates

Justice in Motion founded the Defender Network in 2008, and since then, it has grown to include more than 40 organizations in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. With support from Justice in Motion, members of the Defender Network handle legal actions for immigration, labor, and civil rights cases for transnational migrants. They also develop policy and migrant education initiatives to tackle the problems faced by migrants.


Our Vision for the Future of Cross-Border Collaboration

We believe that fostering leadership across the Defender Network will allow Justice in Motion to better protect migrant rights across borders.  Engaging Defenders to take ownership of the Network has already inspired more collaboration and communication. As the Defender Network continues to evolve, we believe that this enthusiasm will translate into groundbreaking cross-border initiatives to protect migrant rights.


The Defender Network Core Team

At the conclusion of the Defender Network event in November 2017, eleven defenders stepped up to lead the evolution of the Network. Since then, they have been developing strategies to make the Defender Network even more effective and agile. In June, the Core Team and Justice in Motion will convene in Guatemala to vote on their proposals and to present them to the wider Network. These new strategies will ensure increased impact as the Defender Network enters its second decade of innovative cross-border work.


Meet some of the Defenders making an impact on the Defender Network evolution.

Standing up for human rights is an act of dedication and courage. The members of the Defender Network Core Team are leaders in their organizations and are responsible for the well-being of the people whom they serve. In addition, Defenders often work in countries where governments suppress their work and gangs intimidate them. Despite these challenges, eleven Defenders stepped up to be a part of the Core Team and lead the evolution of the Defender Network. It is an honor to work with these passionate leaders, and we are truly grateful to have them as allies in the fight for migrant rights.


Miguel Angel Paz Carrasco

Executive Director
Voces Mesoamericanas - Chiapas, Mexico

Mission: Promote the organization of indigenous migrants for the defense of their rights
Defender Network member since 2014

“The Defender Network allows us to access tools for facilitating cases and to exchange knowledge related to human rights and worker rights.”

Evelyne Sinquin FEUILLYE

Legal Director
Red de Mujeres del Bajio - Guanajuato, Mexico

Mission: Empower women and their families through education, training, and legal assistance
Defender Network member since 2012

 “The Defender Network allows us to learn from others working in different countries and migration contexts. It’s difficult for an isolated organization to bridge that gap alone."

Krissia Aguirre Rosa

Law Professor and Legal Clinic Advisor
Gerardo Barrios University – San Miguel, El Salvador

Mission: Provide legal education to students and provide legal support to those in need
Defender Network member since 2013

 “The work of the Defender Network is important because it channels the legal support and resources needed to protect the rights of migrants.”

Gabriel Zelada Ortiz

Executive Director
Centro de Estudios y Apoyo al Desarollo Local (CEADEL) – Chimaltenango, Guatemala

Mission: Promote dialogue, protection, and defense of individual and collective rights
Defender Network member since 2010

 “The Network is a way of protecting migrants through prevention of fraud and defending their rights when they have been violated.”