Colombia Project-Peace Brigades International
PBI envisions a world in which people address conflicts non violently, where human rights are universally upheld and social justice and intercultural respect have become a reality.
Protective accompaniment is a strategy pioneered by PBI for protecting human rights defenders and communities whose lives and work are threatened by political violence. PBI sends teams of volunteers backed up by an international support network to accompany human rights defenders and communities in areas of conflict.
Over 26 years PBI has protected the lives on hundreds of organisations and communities in 9 countries. Our presence has enabled them to continue and expand their work with greater confidence despite threats. because of the feeling of greater security and moral support provided by PBI volunteers from more than 30 countries. Groups we have accompanied include indigenous communities in Mexico and Guatemala, environmental organisations in Guatemala and Indonesia, lawyers in Colombia and Nepal, women’s organisations in Colombia and Indonesia, trades unions in Guatemala, and relatives of the disappeared in Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala.
PBI works to open a space for peace in which conflicts can be dealt with non-violently. We use a strategy of international presence and concern that supports local initiatives and contributes to developing a culture of peace and justice. We act on request of local non-violent groups working for human rights and social change in regions where there is oppression and conflict.
The aim of PBI's international presence is to accompany both political and social processes through a joint strategy of deterring violence and promoting active non-violence. In addition, PBI learns about, develops, and models forms of nonviolent intervention. Where possible, we initiate contacts with all the parties to a conflict in order to inform of our presence.
PBI supports this work through a broad international network of organizations and individuals. Our identity is built upon nonhierarchical structures and consensual processes.
PBI has worked in Colombia since its first exploratory visit in 1993. The project currently maintains four permanent teams in Bogotá, Medellín, Barrancabermeja, and Urabá. Additionally, the project has offices in Washington, DC and Brussels. PBI Colombia accompanies a wonderfully diverse group of human rights defenders; from small farmer organisations to lawyers; from journalists and activists to Peace Communities and communities resisting displacement and violence. Our work emphasises permanent, consistent physical presence in country complemented by advocacy in Colombia, Europe, and North America; a Communications team dedicated to producing materials that examines the situation of human rights defenders; and a psycho-social support office that offers workshops on emotional support, security, and protection.