Council of Chenalhó Community Comptrollers

In Voces Mesoamericanas we understand the Community Comptroller's Office as the set of control, monitoring, verification, and evaluation actions carried out by the people, in an organized and independent manner, under a framework of citizens' rights and commitments, so that the governmental function is carried out In terms of transparency, effectiveness, legality, and honesty.

In accordance with its work, the Community Comptroller's Office proposes a system of monitoring, verification, and social evaluation of the works, services, or supports provided to the population through programs or institutional projects, adhering to the principles of transparency, opportunity, and quality.

The Council of Community Comptrollers of Chenalhó (CCC-Chenalhó) was born in 2014 as the result of a training process on the right to know (transparency and access to public information) in Highlands municipalities. It was presented that same year in the municipal head of Chenalho, in the Festival for the International Day of Transparency and the Right to Know. That same year, the radio campaign "From the budget to the public works, there should be no deception" was launched to sensitize the communities of the municipality of Chenalhó on the importance and the scope of the right of access to public information.

The Council presents itself as "an independent group of indigenous tsotsil women and men of several communities that organized and with information, we have formed our Council of Community Comptrollers of Chenalhó, to support our families so they may have a more dignified and just life, through our participation and the demand and defense of our rights" (Public Presentation Document, 2014).

The Council works to strengthen its own technical, political, and organizational capacities, as well as to improve community monitoring and surveillance practices on decisions taken by the authorities, with the objective of having transparency and accountability return as part of the norms and customs in their communities.

After months of preparation and collective reflection, the CCC-Chenalhó carried out the first exercises to present requests for access to public information before the municipality and other agencies of the government of the state of Chiapas. Still suffering retaliation and working on numerous occasions under threat, the CCC-Chenalhó has managed to make visible important cases of corruption that demean the access to social rights in communities (right to health, education, access to basic services, etc.) which in turn encourages forced, precarious, and disorderly migration.

During the year 2016, the CCC-Chenalhó signed a collaboration agreement with the Instituto Nacional de Transparencia, Acceso a la información y Protección de Datos Personales (National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data or INAI) as well as with the Instituto de Acceso a la Información Pública del Estado de Chiapas (Institute of Access to Public Information of the State of Chiapas, or IAIP), With the purpose of strengthening their capacities and participation in dialogues with authorities and local decision-making spaces.

That same year, in the framework of the Second Festival for the International Day of Transparency and the Right to Know, the community radio campaign was launched "Knowing your rights is your right", also realizing a training and a massive raising up of requests for Information in San Pedro Chenalhó. As a result, 150 applications were collected that have been entered into the federal and state public information access systems.

Voces Mesoamericanas is encouraging the formation of two new Councils of Community Comptrollers in the municipalities of San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Chamula, and in its articulation with that already existing in Chenalho.