Cristosal is a human rights organization working to advance human rights in Central America through rights-based research, learning, and programing.
They come alongside victims of violence to provide protection when they need it most, repair the lingering effects of human rights violations, and build human rights environments to create conditions where peace is possible.
Cristosal was born in 2000 as a collaboration between Episcopal clergy in the United States and El Salvador. The Very Reverend Richard Bower, who had recently retired as the Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Syracuse, and The Right Reverend Martin Barahona, who was consecrated in 1992 as the first Salvadoran bishop of the Anglican Episcopal Church of El Salvador, came together to form Cristosal. Bower and Barahona had become friends when both were working in the Episcopal Church in Panama during the 1980s.
The organization started as a way for individuals and churches from North America to share relationships and resources with the Church of El Salvador. Inspired by the Church’s focus on justice and rights in post-civil war El Salvador, Cristosal opened a human rights office. Cristosal also began to facilitate communication as the Church developed a voice on national issues.
In 2010, Noah Bullock became Cristosal's first in-country Executive Director. Since then, Cristosal has grown from two to over fifty employees in El Salvador, gained nonprofit status independent of the Church, earned grant funding from institutional partners like USAID, pioneered models for cross-cultural learning, and become a leader in human rights-based development and a resource for policy-makers worldwide. Today, Cristosal is expanding its forced displacement monitoring system and sustainable, community-based models for victim protection and assistance into Guatemala and Honduras.