18 September 2017 – Pax Christi International is pleased to announce that ZODEVITE, the Movimiento Indígena del Pueblo Creyente Zoque en Defensa de la Vida y la Tierra (the Indigenous Movement of the Zoque Believing People in Defense of Life and the Earth), based in Chiapas, Mexico, is the recipient of the 2017 Pax Christi International Peace Award.
The award will be presented at a ceremony at the Istituto Maria SS. Bambina (Via Paolo VI, 21) in Rome, Italy at 18.00, Sunday, 29 October.
ZODEVITE is part of a wider movement, MOVEDITE, composed of indigenous groups, that in recent years has waged a nonviolent campaign to stop fracking, oil exploitation and mining business in southern Mexico.
In the past year, Pax Christi International has increased its commitment to nonviolence in all its forms, in relationship to all of creation including the Earth itself, and has formed the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative in order to promote and educate about nonviolence within the church and beyond.
“It is deeply important that we expand our understanding about the many applications and expressions of nonviolence,” said Greet Vanaerschot, secretary general of Pax Christi International. “The efforts of ZODEVITE to resist the exploitation of the land and to promote the dignity of the people of Chiapas serve as an excellent model of active nonviolence.”
Members of ZODEVITE follow the principles identified in Laudato Si’ in caring for Mother Earth, and are inspired by Bishop Don Samuel Ruiz, who mediated an agreement in the 1990s between the EZLN (the Zapatista resistance movement) and the Mexican government.
ZODEVITE, with the accompaniment of Pax Christi International member groups FRAYBA (the Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas) and SIPAZ (Servicio Internacional para la Paz, an international organization created in mid-1990s to monitor human rights in the area), has organised nonviolent resistance actions to halt hydrocarbons and mining projects in the Tecpatán municipality.
Established in 1988, the Pax Christi International Peace Award is funded by the Cardinal Bernardus Alfrink Peace Fund and honours contemporary individuals and organisations who make a stand for peace, justice and nonviolence in different parts of the world.
Brussels, 18 September 2017
For more information or to interview the recipients of this year’s award, contact:
Martha Ines Romero, Regional Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, Pax Christi International (Spanish/English)
Skype: miromero469 OR miromerocrs
+57-3102510544 (Colombia only)
Judy Coode, coordinator, Catholic Nonviolence Initiative (English)