RED DE INTÉRPRETES Y PROMOTORES INTERCULTURALES ASOCIACIÓN CIVIL | Mexico
“This award offers an opportunity to highlight the struggles of youth in the South, racialized youth who resist the linguistic and cultural oppression of the State and its justice system. We reinvent ourselves, and we fight, together, from our territories”Eduardo Martinez, Director-General and Legal Representative of Red de Intérpretes y Promotores Interculturales Asociación Civil
RED DE INTÉRPRETES Y PROMOTORES INTERCULTURALES ASOCIACIÓN CIVIL’S Story
A group of young interpreters steps inside a prison in rural Oaxaca, Mexico. Like everywhere in this state, the prison is extremely diverse. Many of the people behind bars do not speak Spanish; they speak a variety of Indigenous languages. This will be their first opportunity in months to converse in their own language. In some cases, the Spanish-speaking court never communicated the charges against them. With the interpreters’ support, they can ask about their legal processes, and get the latest news about their communities. Later, the interpreters will connect this group to public defenders and ensure their legal rights are respected.
The interpreters are members of Red de Intérpretes y Promotores Interculturales Asociación Civil (REDIN), a collective of Indigenous youth that strengthens access to justice for Indigenous people. REDIN provides culturally relevant Indigenous language interpretation services for Oaxacans involved in legal proceedings in Mexico and the United States.
Oaxaca is a place of tremendous linguistic and cultural diversity, with 16 registered Indigenous groups and over 177 linguistic variants. Indigenous communities in the region face structural and historical racism. To escape limited economic opportunity and marginalization, many people migrate to other parts of Mexico and the United States. This often places Indigenous groups, youth, women and gender-diverse people in dangerous situations or in contact with legal systems that fail to understand their cultural, economic and political backgrounds. Once caught up in the justice system, interpretation for Indigenous languages is severally lacking.
By training young professionals as interpreters equipped with an intercultural human rights approach, REDIN helps to guarantee the rights of Indigenous people at every step of the judicial process. Since 2019, REDIN has trained more than 120 Indigenous youth as interpreters and has assisted more than 800 Indigenous people in their judicial processes. Together with local justice institutions, REDIN produced a module for training Indigenous language interpreters in the field of prosecution and justice administration in Oaxaca.
REDIN also offers training on human rights and civic engagement to Indigenous students, and helps preserve Oaxaca’s cultural diversity by documenting oral traditions and advocating for the rights of artisans.
This network’s efforts are helping Oaxaca’s diverse population have their rights respected, their voices heard, and their cultures valued. Connecting with one of REDIN’s interpreters can change a prisoner’s life. Beyond that, REDIN is strengthening judicial systems, making them more inclusive and responsive to all of Mexico’s diverse citizenry.