By the end of 1977, the Chilean group for non-violent resistance—linked since 1974 with Servicio de Paz y Justicia (Service, Peace and Justice Foundation), SERPAJ Latin America—left from hiding with the support of Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez and Auxiliary Bishops Alvear and Hourton and officially established itself as Sociedad Serpaj Ltda. It was the first secular organization that dared to form and act publicly in defense of human rights.
Its identity was and still is non-violence. Along with other Serpaj Latin American chapters (Serpaj latinoamericanos), it shared a great dream of a utopia. Three years later Executive Secretary of Serpaj latinoamericanos Adolfo Pérez Esquivel won the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership and advocacy for non-violent resistance.
Since these initial moments, SERPAJ grew rapidly throughout all of Chile. The majority of the organization consisted of young Christians of diverse political backgrounds who, during the military dictatorship, denounced human rights violations through public actions, training sessions, schools of non-violence, and workshops to manage and control fear.
In these years of repression and violence, SERPAJ worked to build a culture of human rights and a road to peace. Just as it did in its early years, SERPAJ continues on its path today, promoting, valorizing, and respecting a culture of peace and human rights and working with the most marginalized and impoverished in the country.
Thus SERPAJ Chile was founded in 1977 as an expression of the ethical and political will of a broad group of Christians who, inspired by humanism and liberalism, organized through the method of non-violent resistance to promote a culture of human rights. Our organization is a Latin-American movement, led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. Our work focuses on promoting social integration, reducing poverty, and strengthening democratic processes.