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Bureau for Respect and Dignity

07/05/2008: Argentina

The Marist Foundation officially inaugurated the Bureau for Respect and Dignity in the town of Misión Nueva Pompeya, Chaco, Argentina on 24th March 2008. This National Day of remembrance of truth and justice in Argentina commemorates a tragic time. 32 years ago a military coup overthrew the constitutional government. Also commemorated on that day is the murder of Monsignor Oscar Romero in El Salvador, as he officiated at Holy Mass.

This project is aimed at reconstructing the ties of fraternity between the inhabitants of the area, aboriginal and Creole, which have deteriorated over the years engendering mutual distrust caused by the violation of the rights of many of them.
For years the Marist Brothers have worked in the area with the children and young people of the Wichi communities living there. This work was bolstered by the creation of the Intercultural Bilingual School of Cacique Francisco Supaz, negotiated by the Marist Brothers, whose classes are conducted in Wichi and Spanish. At the moment 200 boys attend the school and it is staffed by 28 teachers (aboriginal and Creole) and two Marist Brothers. Alongside this, the activities of Navegar y Remar for social animation and formation of leaders have reached many other young people in the area.

The new Bureau for Respect and Dignity has as its objectives:
- Welcoming, listening to and accompanying communities and people who suffer problems concerning their rights or who suffer injustices.
- Offering training spaces on how to handle legal questions and questions of human rights directed to the young aboriginals and Creoles of the area.
- Gathering, adapting and creating didactic bilingual material to support training in knowledge and defence of civil rights.
- Contacting and maintaining a progressive approach to different organizations or institutions of the area and province working for justice and peace.

At the commencement of the activities the Bureau will utilise as headquarters a room in the diocesan radio station “María Inmaculada, in Misión Nueva Pompeya which is known to everyone. The personnel of the Bureau will consist of a coordinating team, presided over by a delegate of the Marist Foundation and others from the area (in an honorary capacity).

Brother Gonzalo Santa Coloma, President of the Marist Foundation, pointed out during the inauguration ceremony: …that the Marist Foundation assumes as its own this initiative born in the same heart of the Impenetrable One, since as a Marist institution, called to educate and in solidarity, we support all the causes that seek to give opportunities, and to return justice, respect and dignity to those who have lost them and/or have had them snatched away from them. In that sense, this ‘Bureau for Respect and Dignity which arises from the work and the will of many of you and of others who have not been able to be here, fill our heart with hope.

Anyone wishing to support the project can contact BIS ( mailto:solidar_project@fms.it)
Or contact directly the Marist Foundation of Argentina (fundacion@maristas.org.ar) and the Marist Community of Pompeii ( maristaschaco@yahoo.com.ar).

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