Tequio Jurídico A.C. was founded in 1997 by a group of indigenous students driven by a desire for change. These young women and men, the majority of whom were studying law, devoted themselves to collective work, supporting the individual and collective rights of indigenous people in general and of the Chontal communities in Oaxaca, where the development of their work began.
On the 12th of June 1998, Tequio Jurídico A.C. was constituted legally as Civil Association (Asociación Civil, A.C.) and started working in indigenous communities in defense of collective rights. Since then, its members work together on the elaboration of legal documents to protect communal territory, initiate the training of local defenders within the communities, and promote indigenous rights.
After four years of working from Oaxaca City, Tequio Jurídico A.C. opened a second office in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, to accompany their work on the defense and empowerment of labor rights. In 2010, this office chose to continue in an autonomous way as “Centro de Defensa y Capacitación Permanente – Lona Reyes” (Centre of Defence and permanent empowerment – Lona Reyes).
For ten years, Tequio Jurídico A.C. has been accompanying a network of local communities that have organized themselves in the “Unión de Pueblos y Comunidades Indígenas de Yautepec, Oaxaca – UPCIYO” (Union of indigenous people and communities of Yautepec, Oaxaca) to collectively know and defend their territory, construct local markets and to preserve their culture.
The meaning of our name “Tequio Jurídico”
In Tequio Jurídico, we work to promote the defense and promotion of women’s rights and the collective rights of the people and communities we work in.
The term “tequio” (which is specific to Mexico) signifies a form of communitarian work carried out for the collective benefit of the community. It is based in the “cosmovisión” (the worldview or life philosophy) of the people and is central to the construction of their autonomy.
We conceive of the construction of rights as a process that implies social and political education, and its transformation into the reality of an organised defense of and by the people.
The legal part of our name (“jurídico”) consists of strategies of promotion (raising awareness and circulating materials) and defence (organisation and legal assistance) from a perspective of positive legal action and an acknowledgement of legal pluralism.