Category Archives: DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION

Ceará, Brazil : Deputy Mayor of Fortaleza participates in a meeting with the Inter-institutional Committee of the Restorative Justice and Culture of Peace Network

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An article from the Plataforma Márcia Travessoni  (translation by CPNN)

The deputy mayor of Fortaleza Élcio Batista participated this Thursday (January 13), in a meeting with the Interinstitutional Committee of the Restorative Justice and Culture of Peace Network of Ceará. Held virtually, the meeting was chaired by Vice-Governor Izolda Cela, who coordinates the Ceará Pacific program. Élcio replaced the mayor who could not be present.

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(Click here for the Portuguese original of this article)

Questions for this article:

How can we develop the institutional framework for a culture of peace?

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The committee’s main objective is to strengthen and use the Culture of Peace as a tool for effective human development and social peace. In addition to the deputy mayor, state representatives Renato Roseno, Queiroz Filho and Érika Amorim were present; the head of the Secretariat for Social Protection, Justice, Citizenship, Women and Human Rights (SPS), Socorro França; the Secretary of Education, Eliana Estrela; the superintendent of the State System of Socio-Educational Assistance (Seas), Roberto Bassan; the executive secretary of the Secretariat for Public Security and Social Defense (SSPDS), Samuel Elanio; the judge of the Court of Justice of Ceará (TJCE), Graça Quental; in addition to other authorities.

Élcio Batista recalled the importance of the Culture of Peace for a good work of violence prevention in Ceará. “It is always important to work with the Culture of Peace. Prevention is the best way to deal with social conflicts and violence. Investing in prevention is essential, as is improving the quality of public services. This prevention work will be valued up front,” he commented.

United States : Marquette Law School Establishes Center for Restorative Justice

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An article by Rebecca Kelliher in Diverse, Issues in Higher Education

Marquette University recently announced its creation of the Andrew Center for Restorative Justice at Marquette Law School. To establish the Center, Marquette alumni couple Louis and Suzanne Bouquet Andrew have committed $5 million. Janine P. Geske, a retired professor of law at Marquette and a current trustee of the University, will be the Center’s inaugural director.

In a statement, Geske described restorative justice as “a powerful, peace means for addressing conflict, promoting healing, and facilitating problem solving that differs from current mediation practices.” Until 1998, Geske had been a justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court before teaching restorative justice to students for about twenty years. Prior to her retirement at Marquette, Geske directed the Law School’s Restorative Justice Initiative. 

“It has been my dream to have a permanent restorative justice program at Marquette Law School,” she said. “As a judge and attorney, I experienced both the successes of our criminal justice system as well as its failures in bringing restoration to victims and communities harmed by crime. I left the bench because I wanted to help better address the needs of those who have been harmed and marginalized in society.”

The Center will build upon Geske’s work, training law students in how to use restorative justice at local, national, and international levels. Restorative justice often involves lawyers, judges, or other professionals who engage in a guided civil dialogue to address conflict, promote healing, and facilitate problem solving. Such dialogues can be between the victim, the victim’s family members, the offender, and other members of the impacted community.

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Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

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“I am most excited that this gift will enable us to continue Janine’s restorative justice work in a robust way and thereby help give our students a broad sense of what the possibilities are for lawyers in not just the legal system per se but in serving the community generally,” said Joseph D. Kearney, dean of Marquette Law School and a professor of law.

He noted that recent years have drawn greater attention to how a crime harms not only the victims but surrounding communities. A restorative justice approach aims to mend these ripple effects alongside or separate from the formal processes of the legal system.

“This is not intended in most instances to be an alternative to traditional criminal law or a way for people who have committed a substantial wrong to get a lesser consequence for their action by making a face-to-face apology,” said Kearney.

The Center will also support faculty research and strengthen restorative justice work in the wider community. Geske previously participated in restorative justice efforts that addressed bullying in primary and secondary schools, for instance. This sometimes involved creating a safe setting for a student who was bullied to enter an open dialogue with the student who did the bullying. Through the Center, such community work could be expanded, including training school counselors in similar techniques.

Kearney added that restorative justice can be highly sensitive work. In some cases, a facilitator like Geske could work with an offender and victim for up to a year on taking steps toward restorative justice before deciding it is appropriate for the two to have a face-to-face discussion.

“And in some instances, it will be evident that it will not be appropriate, that there may be too great a risk of re-traumatizing the victim,” said Kearney. 

Such delicacy in restorative justice highlights to Kearney why someone as skillful as Geske is an ideal person to come out of retirement to get the Center off the ground. Later this month, Geske will facilitate the Center’s launch and, while director, help search for its permanent director.

“It is so exciting that because of the Andrews’ generous gift, we will be able to permanently support the teaching, practicing, and promoting of restorative processes to some of our society’s greatest problems,” she said. 

Council of Europe : Ministerial Conference on restorative justice concludes with the signature of the Declaration of Venice

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An article from the Council of Europe

Encouraging the use of restorative justice, especially when the offences involve minors, and considering it an essential part of training for legal professionals are two of the main recommendations made to the Council of Europe by the Ministries of Justice of the organization’s Member States who took part in the Conference of Ministers of Justice, on the theme of restorative justice, in Venice on 13th and 14th December.

Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

Organised within the scope of the Semester of the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the conference “Crime and Criminal Justice – The Role of Restorative Justice in Europe” enriches the program of initiatives supporting the construction of a people-orientated future through the promotion of a citizen-friendly juridical system, one of the three priority areas for Italy’s Presidency. As part of this wider context, restorative justice supports the function of the sentence, both as an opportunity for rehabilitation of the offender and for recovery of the victim.

The two-day Ministerial Conference concluded with the signing of the Venice Declaration, a joint document that stimulates policies aimed at a wider dissemination of restorative justice, access to which “should be an objective of the national authorities”. There were two days of reflections, analysis and testimonies on the topic, such as those offered by Albie Sachs, the former Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, and by Professor Pumla Gobodo Madikizela of Stellenbosh University, who participated online. Both who shared their own accounts of reconciliation experienced in South Africa under Apartheid.

At the opening and closing of the meetings there were two speeches by the Minister of Justice Marta Cartabia, who defined restorative justice as “a new form of justice for the benefit of the victims, the perpetrators of the crime and for the whole society, which can rebuild the social bonds destroyed by crime. Restorative justice – she concluded – is not a utopia but derives from concrete experiences that have already taken place in many states”.

Ecuador: Festival for peace and human rights to be held in Guayaquil

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An article in El Universo

The Canton Council for the Integral Protection of Rights of Guayaquil will hold the Festival for Peace and Human Rights this Monday, December 13, at 3:00 p.m., in the auditorium of the Anthropological and Contemporary Art Museum (MAAC), located on the Malecón Simon Bolivar.


Foto: Jorge Peñafiel Foto: El Universo

(Click here for the Spanish original. . )

Questions for this article:

Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

The festival is meant to promote a culture of peace, brotherhood, good treatment and respect for human rights, according to the Council, which has organized this event with the support of the Norwegian Alliance Mission and SOS Ecuador Children’s Villages.

This festival takes place within the framework of Human Rights Day, which is remembered every December 10. The General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 to make clear what are the basic inalienable rights of every human being.

This Monday’s event will feature artistic performances by the Guayaquil Municipal Band, the Juan Pueblo Municipal Children’s Choir, the Huancavilca Foundation Orchestra, Team Casa de los Dioses, the Juanito Bosco Marimba School and the Saint-Saëns Music Academy.

The musical show will include videos about peace made by children and adolescents from Ecuador, Colombia, Switzerland, Norway, Spain, the United States and Venezuela.

Entry to the festival is free.

Mercociudades: A Latin American Network to Fight for More Inclusive, Egalitarian, Diverse and Supportive Cities

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An opinion piece by Fernando Gray in Other News ( translation by CPNN)

The last two years of health crisis have highlighted the inequalities within Latin American cities. In fact, the social, economic, health and territorial inequities have gotten worse among the cities of our region. Local governments are the first t respond. As stated in the motto of  the XXVI Mercociudades Summit , “local governments are always there.”

In this sense, the big, intermediate and peripheral cities are on the front line of actions that guarantee the right to an inclusive, healthy, sustainable and equitable city for everyone.

Sustainability

The pandemic has exposed the importance of local governments, as the first political institution that safeguards democratic life. Cities have been especially affected by the process of urbanization without provisions for sustainability, due to the problems of indebtedness and economic dependence, produced by neoliberal policies and financial capitalism that have dictated the global agenda from Washington.

In recent years, local governments have played an increasingly leading role, not only for the management of vaccines and the immunization process.  They have worked hard to educate and raise awareness in the community and to implement actions against violence, inequities and the vulnerability of citizens, plagued not only by the health pandemic but also by other causes of inequality.

Cities network

For this reason, from Mercociudades, the network of sister cities in Latin America, we focus on the need to strengthen governance. We must intensify efforts to develop territories that guarantee social, environmental and climate justice, equality, sustainability and a participatory democracy.

Mercociudades is the spokesperson for Latin American cities in relation to horizontality and twinning so that both big and peripheral cities are integrated to forge common objectives in pursuit of the well-being of the community and its environment.

The Southern has been more affected than the Northern Hemisphere, as can be seen with regard to the production and distribution of vaccines. And this is reproduced in multiple inequalities of all kinds, especially in peripheral cities.  We have seen that no person, no government, no nation can save itself by acting alone. We must think collectively, and act with parity and solidarity.

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(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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Inclusive city

At the recent XXVI Mercociudades Summit, in which the municipality of Esteban Echeverría assumed the Presidency for the period 2021-2022, we have proposed to design and implement actions, projects and programs that deepen inclusion policies with a gender and diversity perspective. Furthermore, it is urgent for us to guarantee accessibility to information, democratic communication and citizen participation of all identities and groups.

Local governments seek to guarantee to new generations livable cities with peace and harmony between people and with nature and the environment. We understand that major transformations occur from the local to the national, from the national to the regional, and from the regional to the global. Therefore, our mission is to continue in the integration of our cities in the network and with other networks in the region.

We propose to broaden the horizons of Mercociudades and to engage more cities, carry out more initiatives and celebrate the leadership of youth, women and dissidents. We are mobilized to forge ties of parity and horizontality between genders, generations, ethnic groups and cultures in all areas of community life.

Democratic communication

In the same sense, it is necessary to fight to reduce the inequalities in the accessibility of information for people with disabilities. We must promote cities that communicate democratically with equality and inclusion so that everyone has the same opportunities for participation, expression and development.

Likewise, we must emphasize cooperation and association initiatives so that we make known the situation of Latin America on the global agenda.  For example, we presented our position at COP 26 in Glasgow with a document that highlighted the common but differentiated responsibilities.

Barriers

The peripheral nations are urged to meet global goals in the face of climate change, but our responsibility for the effects that industrialization has produced on the planet is not the same as that of the countries in the North. In this way, the Southern Hemisphere is faced with para-tariff barriers that prevent the growth of our industry, which, in turn, translates into greater unemployment and poverty in our communities.

For this post-pandemic scenario, it is necessary to make visible the need for a fair distribution of responsibilities and actions that concern the entire Latin American people. We fight for inclusive, egalitarian, accessible, integrated and violence-free cities. From the local to the global, we propose a life in participatory, horizontal and cooperative democracy. We fight to ensure spaces for innovation, avant-garde and social and environmental justice. It is time for the voice of Latin American to be heard.
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Fernando Gray is the mayor of Esteban Echeverra, Argentine Department belonging to Greater Buenos Aires.  He is the President of Mercociudades.

Mauritania: establishment of a new network of mayors to consolidate citizenship

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An article from Sahara Medias (translation by CPNN)

The creation of a network of mayors to promote citizenship and the consecration of social cohesion and the culture of peace was announced on Monday in Nouakchott.

This new network includes all the mayors of Mauritania. According to the Minister of the Interior and Decentralization Mohamed Salem O. Merzoug, “It constitutes an important step in the framework of the preservation of the values ​​of the nation-state” .

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(Click here for the French version of this article)

Question related to this article:
 
How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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The minister added that the new network promotes a culture of citizenship, the consolidation of social cohesion in the aftermath of the birth of the commemoration of a new independence.

The creation of this network, adds ould Merzoug, is the best indicator for a promising development of state building and the protection of the nation.

The minister again said that the new creation is the path leading to the birth of a Mauritanian citizen in a unified space, convinced of unity and participatory democracy that leaves no room for negative divisions.

The creation of this network, adds the minister, will strengthen the system of democratic practice in a new era that began more than two years ago with the election of Mohamed O. Cheikh Ghazouani as president of the republic.

Ould Merzoug reaffirmed the government’s readiness to support this new creation and its objectives, thus devoting the support of the President of the Republic to the decentralization process, the strengthening of the mechanisms of local democratic culture, as a fundamental basis for local and regional development.

Jamaica: Increase In Use Of Restorative Justice Centres To Resolve Conflicts

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An article from The Jamaica Information Service

Restorative Justice Centres, which offer services to resolve conflicts, have noted an increase in referrals from the courts and communities across the island.

This was disclosed by Restorative Justice Coordinator, Andriene Lindsay. She tells JIS NEWS that conferences, in particular, have exceeded their target by 269 cases.

Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck consults with Coordinator, Restorative Justice, Ministry of Justice, Adrienne Lindsay

“The target for this year is 2,200 conferences and for the second quarter we actually completed 616 conferences, and that was in addition to our first-quarter results, and a total of 1,369 at the moment. or where we should be, which is 1,100, we are 269 ahead of our target. So, we’re doing really well in terms of conferences,” she says.

“This, when it comes to the variance, would be due to an increase in the referrals associated with sensitisation, particularly from the courts and the community. We’ve also had an increase in staff, which means we have an increased capacity for how many conferences we can actually conduct,” she further adds.

Ms. Lindsay says the Centres have also included virtual sessions, which makes it “easier for participants to interact”.

A conference is a tool used by the centre administrators that includes its facilitators, a Justice of the Peace and community supporters who can help to provide emotional support to everyone involved in the dispute.

“During the sessions, each person gets to tell their side of the story, but this time to the other parties that are involved. At that time, nobody else can speak; it’s just one person at a time.

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Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

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If there are any questions, those can be asked and responded to by the facilitator or community supporters. The last phase of the conference is what to do to move on and make things right,” she tells JIS News.

Ms. Lindsay notes that after each conference, the individuals involved in the disputes sign an agreement relative to the agreed resolution.

“If this process is done through the court, then that document once returned to court becomes a legally binding document, but if it is in the community, then what we do is just trust the participants to stick to that agreement, and we monitor it,” she adds.

She says follow-up for each case is done between three and six months and citizens can benefit from the Centre’s services free of charge.

“This is a free service, from the starting point to the finishing point. The Ministry of Justice does not charge any fees for interacting with the Restorative Justice Unit. We provide follow-up sessions, as well, free of charge and, of course, if any counselling services are required, we will also refer them free of charge to our Victim Services Unit,” she says.

The Restorative Justice Centres form part of the Ministry of Justice’s efforts to improve alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods.

The Centres will be established in every parish and are equipped to handle matters related to child diversion, restorative justice and dispute resolution, among other justice-related issues.

They also serve as a point of contact for custodes and justices of the peace.

“The Ministry of Justice is committed to make restorative justice a major part of the work that we will be carrying out, and we are doing so because we have seen that it is successful,” Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says. He was speaking at a previous Restorative Justice Facilitator Training Programme.

The aims of the Restorative Justice Programme include the creation of a culture of peace through processes that emphasise the values of mutual respect, dignity and concern among one another in an environment of healing, reconciliation and restoration.

The Ministry is also trying for individuals and communities to become empowered to respond to crime positively, to enable productive relationships and reduce criminal case backlog.

Brasilia: Meeting to debate culture of peace in the public sector

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An article from the Brasilia Agency (Translation by CPNN)

The School of Government of the Federal District (Egov) will hold, on the next 18th, the 1st Meeting of Culture of Peace in the Public Sector. In line with the climate of peace promoted throughout the year by the Executive Secretariat for Valorization and Quality of Life (Sequali), the event will take place from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm, in the institution’s auditorium, and interested parties will have until next Tuesday (16) to make the entries, on the Egov website .

The meeting aims to awaken synergy between the individual, social and environmental aspects, towards sustainability, with ethics and respect for life. The idea is to promote a holistic view of the human being, sustainable development and the adoption of responsible practices by public entities.

The opening of the meeting will be attended by Adriana Faria, executive secretary for Valuing and Quality of Life, and the dean of the Environment at Unipaz, Regina Fittipaldi, a guest who will give a lecture on the theme “Paths to a culture of peace”.

The secretary of Economy, André Clemente, highlights that, since the beginning of this administration, the secretariat has been promoting actions aimed at the valorization and development of GDF servants.

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(Click here for the Portuguese original of this article)

Questions for this article:

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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“The servant valuation agenda is part of this management, which proposes the recognition and development of servants, through initiatives like this, aimed at personal and professional growth, promoting balance, ethics, respect for life, the good -being and productivity”, said Clemente.

According to Adriana Faria, the initiative to promote the meeting is in line not only with the secretariat’s actions, but with the current scenario. “The idea of holding this meeting arose from the need to encourage reflection on the culture of peace, a fundamental issue in the current social and political context of the country”, he says.

She explains that “servers will have the opportunity to know a worldview that privileges dialogue and mediation to resolve conflicts, abandoning violent attitudes and actions and respecting the diversity of ways of thinking and acting of each individual, fundamental attitudes for life in society.”

The executive director of Egov, Juliana Tolentino, highlighted the relevance of the meeting. “This event is extremely important. It is the opportunity to connect this culture of peace with the work developed by the public administration, acquire new knowledge and add to the efficiency and quality necessary for the provision of public services”, he said.

To participate in the meeting, click here and register.

Service
I Meeting of Culture of Peace in the Public Sector

Date: November 18, 2021

Time: 8:00 am to 5:30 pm

Modality: in person

Registration: until November 16, 2021

Check the program here.

Petrópolis, Brazil : III International Restorative Justice Week will open next Monday

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An article from the prefeitura de Petrópolis

Four lectures are part of the program elaborated by the Petrópolis da Paz Program, for the III International Week of Restorative Justice. The event, which takes place online, will open next Monday (15th), at 3:30 pm, broadcast by the City Hall’s official networks, such as Facebook and Youtube.

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“This event encourages a new vision of conflicts while giving a voice to victims and offenders, valuing, for example, the maintenance of family, school and community ties”, explains the interim government.

North American expert Kay Pranis will open the cycle of lectures talking about “Restorative Justice in Education: Building Restorative Communities”. The judge of Law at the São Paulo Court of Justice, Marcelo Nalesso Salmaso, will speak on the topic “Restorative Justice and Socio-education”. São Paulo teacher Liliane Claro Rezende was invited to speak on “Restorative Justice in Education: Experience Report in Santos”, while psychologist Paulo Henrique Moratelli addresses “Restorative Justice: Conflict Transformation Processes and Transformative Dialogs and Circles.

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(Click here for the original article in Portuguese)

Discussion question

Restorative justice, What does it look like in practice?

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“The III International Week celebrates restorative practices and represents the incessant work of the Petrópolis da Paz Program in its aspect of Restorative Justice in the recognition and expansion of the remarkable effects of these practices in our city and throughout the world”, highlights the coordinator of the Petrópolis Program of Peace.

The event is being organized by Vanessa Siqueira, the Program’s Restorative Justice coordinator. “It connects us with the world and with actions aimed at a culture of peace.

We are celebrating another year of achievement in our city by joining this international movement. Once again, we have the participation of renowned guests”, he explains, adding: “May this week inspire us and connect us to continue opening paths so that restorative justice and Movement Circles are present in schools, communities and other spaces.

Mexico: Municipal Mediation Unit of the City of Merida to promote a Culture of Peace

… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …

An article from Mi Punto de Vista

With the aim of consolidating a culture of peace and dialogue, the Mérida City Council provides a mediation service to offer alternatives for a peaceful solution to family disputes and conflicts. or neighborhood, announced the Mayor, Renán Barrera Concha.

He pointed out that the Municipal Mediation Unit is an effective tool to remedy those conflicts that arise between neighbors or relatives. Otherwise they could lead to crimes such as threats, injuries or damage to someone else’s property.

“In the City of Mérida we continue to implement alternative mechanisms that allow us to prevent the commission of crimes, especially those that appear due to disagreements, thus we are committed to dialogue between the parties to prevent these situations from escalating to another level,” he said.

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(click here for the original version in Spanish).

Question for this article:

Mediation as a tool for nonviolence and culture of peace

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The Municipal President reported that in the 2018-2021 administration, attention was paid to 529 cases, of which 40%, that is, around 200 files, due to neighborhood conflicts, 21% due to voluntary divorce, 15% family conflicts and the rest was divided on issues such as alimony, spouses, custody of minors and family visits.

“Mediation is gradually being accepted and adopted by the people of Merida. Once they know the benefits that this entails, the answer is positive. People not only achieve the solution of the conflict they are going through, but they also promote communication and peaceful coexistence between the parties involved,” he stressed.

For her part, the director of the municipal DIF (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia), Silvia Sarti González, explained that the procedure is carried out free of charge and with the support of a professional mediator. “People who have resorted to this model have found solutions from a different perspective, since we have them listen to the other’s version, discuss those points of view and, through dialogue, propose a way to resolve their disagreements.”

She added that those who resort to conflict mediation find less financial and emotional wear and tear, and, in most cases, avoid legal processes that are often lengthy and expensive.

The Municipal Mediation Unit provides services from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and it deals with cases of a family, school, community and commercial nature.

To request attention, those interested should contact the Legal Coordination of DIF Mérida, located at 59 # 432 between 50 and 52-A, Centro, or they can call 9999 28 69 77 extension 81516 presenting a copy of their INE and CURP.