Cristosal grew out of relationships and a belief that together we can build better communities and societies. Two friends, the Very Reverend Richard Bower and the Right Reverend Martin Barahona, planted the seed of Cristosal in 2000 with the hope of growing a fruitful connection between people in North America and El Salvador. To this day, our work is inspired by the Anglican communion’s commitment to justice and the dignity of every human being and demonstrated through the role of the Church during El Salvador’s civil war.

The war had decimated communities and families in El Salvador and the need to rebuild was still strong 10 years on. Friends and congregations in the U.S., Canada, and El Salvador learned together that rebuilding means more than meeting the immediate material needs. A vision of a “new” El Salvador took hold and made clear the urgency of addressing the underlying injustices and violations of human rights that had given rise to the conflict.

When Noah Bullock became the first Executive Director in the El Salvador office in 2010, the mission of Cristosal became firmly established and the vision grew.  The challenge became how to apply a human rights approach to every aspect of our work. The question we asked–and continue to ask—is “Who is being harmed and how can the tools of human rights contribute to their protection?” We listened to vulnerable people and victims of human rights violations to identify the issues that should be the focus of our work.  Internal forced displacement due to violence, unaddressed impunity for war crimes, discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people and access to justice were just some of the issues we developed the tools to address and continue to address to this day. 

Our vision grew and our work expanded into Honduras and Guatemala in order to address the regional reality of internal forced displacement. Cristosal evolved in response to new challenges and opportunities through new relationships. We gained nonprofit status independent of the Church, expanded our funding to include major grants from both government and private foundations, pioneered models for intercultural human rights education, victim protection, research, and strategic litigation. Our team grew from just two people to over 100 human rights defenders from diverse backgrounds, professional fields, and experiences.

At the center of all our work we continue to build relationships. The region is confronting the precipitous decline of democracy under the onslaught of populist authoritarianism and corruption. As the doors slam shut for influencing policy and applying human rights norms within the legal systems, now more than ever standing with the victims is a powerful act of resistance.  

Our Mission

To defend human rights and promote democratic rule of law in Central America.

Our Vision

We are defenders of human rights and the promoters of democratic rule of law. We are invested in a more just and peaceful  future for northern Central America, whose rich history of resilience and hope in the face of violence and tyranny inspire us to continue their legacy. We hold victims of human rights violations at the center of our work and recognize in them that we are all equal in rights and dignity.

Our Approach

We promote and defend human rights in Central America through an integrated strategy that includes:

  • Protecting victims of violence and human rights violations (legal services, social and emotional support, organizing, training, and community development)
  • Educating and mobilizing the public to engage in civic action in favor of human rights 
  • Engaging with media to build public awareness about important issues and human impacts of human rights violations
  • Working with governments at different levels to bring human rights focus to policy and service to the public.

Our Values


Our programming is based on international standards and principles for the application of human rights tools and methodologies applied with and for affected communities. In the same way, our internal governance, administration, and financial practices are based on principles of transparency, equity, and the best practices for the work of human rights.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration

Human rights touch every aspect of our lives. An interdisciplinary approach allows us to apply our professional and technical tools to the contexts and systems that give rise to rights violations. We work collaboratively to support victims and communities in their demands for justice and respect.


We promote the open and equitable interaction of diverse cultures and the possibility of generating shared cultural expressions through dialogue and mutual respect. We recognize that the universality of human rights is impossible without the full and equitable interaction of a diversity of cultures and conscious promotion of those cultures who have suffered discrimination and marginalization.

Diversity and Inclusion

As an organization and as individuals we value the diversity of identities, worldviews, experiences, and thought in the promotion and defense of human rights. We are stronger when we create space to include voices that have been silenced and experiences that have been erased due to discrimination of any kind.

Learning and Growth

We continually adapt to the contexts in which we carry out our work. We are constantly learning from our experiences, innovating our strategies, and sharing our insights with others. Every worker in Cristosal is a valued member of a community that continues to learn from each other. The people who we serve teach us how best to respond to the needs of victims in ways which empower and invite them to become a part of the movement for human rights.

Staff and Board of Directors

Noah Bullock
Executive Director 

Noah has served as Cristosal’s Executive Director in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras since 2010. He came to El Salvador in 2005 as a human rights intern for Cristosal and in 2017 was appointed Executive Director as a missionary for the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of El Salvador. He is a 2004 graduate of the University of Montana with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree and also studied at the International Institute for Conflict Research, a joint project of the University of Ulster Northern Ireland and the United Nations University. He graduated cum laude from the graduate program in Local Development at the Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas in 2009. Noah enjoys carpentry, is a surfer, farmer and a trainer of German Shepherds.

Our Leadership


The heart and soul of Cristosal is our community of staff and interns. As professionals and human rights defenders, our team works hard everyday to stand with the victims of human rights violations. Our countries have long histories of violence and injustice, and human rights defenders often face grave risks. But, our countries also have rich histories of resilience, resistance, and defiant hope. 


Our team is a beautiful collage of different generations, backgrounds, genders, and beliefs. Some of our staff grew up in the middle of the civil wars, others have been victims of criminal violence. Some have illustrious careers and others are just starting out. Some have worked for human rights in government institutions and others as part of their religious commitments or community service. But, what we all have in common is the vision of a world where the full rights of every person are protected and everyone’s voice is heard.


Director of the Strategic Litigation

Abraham Abrego

Director of Education

Fátima Pacas

Director of Resource Development and Outreach
Jeanne Rikkers

Director of Protection

Mauricio Quijano

Director of Human Rights Research

Rina Montti

Director of Admin and Finance

Salvador Novellino


Guatemala Country Coordinator

Flor de María Salazar

Honduras Country Coordinator

Karen Valladares

Chief Legal Officer: Transitional Justice

David Morales

Chief Legal Officer: Anti-Corruption

Ruth López

Chief Legal Officer: Impunity

Zaira Navas

Our Board of Directors


David Holiday

Vice President

The Rev. Geoff Curtis

Governance Officer

Beth McFadyen


Roger Jones

Assistant Treasurer

Steve Adams


Santana Alvarado

Board Chaplain

The Rev. Mike Angell

Board Member

Jose Miguel Cruz


The Rev. Norma Guerra

Board Member

The Rev. Bob Wilson

Board Member

Brenda Pfahnl

Board Member

Clare Gibson Nangle

Board Alumni Liaison

The Rt. Rev. Greg Rickel

Board Member


Hannah Odell

Board Member

Tamara Taraciuk

Board Member

Tatiana Obando