40th anniversary logo40 years ago, in 1981, a group of international activists came together to create a movement for peace, solidarity and non-violent action.  Inspired by non-violent activism across the world, inlcuding the movement spearheaded by Gandhi in India and the Civil Rights movement in the United States, Peace Brigades International aimed to support the peaceful transformation of societies in conflict through dialogue and the progressive fulfillment of human rights. 

While our core mission remains the same, we have adapted our tactics to ensure human rights defenders are protected despite the rapidly changing global context and ever-evolving risks and threats they face. 40 years on, PBI remains convinced of the vital role human rights defenders play in strengthening democracy, upholding the rule of law, and protecting our shared environment. Together, through their protection, we can create a more peaceful and just world.

This timeline illustrates how we have adapted to the ever-changing global context over the past 40 years, supporting peacebuilding efforts in different countries and training hundreds of volunteers in the subtle and important art of non-violence.  Today, in 2021, we look back over the past 40 years, acknowledging our roots and appreciating our role in the international peace movement. We remember with huge gratitude all of those who have passed through PBI in different capacities, and recognise the contribution of so many volunteers and staff members to our movement.

  • 1981

    PBI is born! 

    Building on a ‘rich and extensive heritage of nonviolent action’, and with the goal of creating an 'international organisation committed to unarmed third party invtervention in conflict situations', Peace Brigades International is founded during an inaugural meeting on Grindstone Island, Canada.

    See more information on some of our founding members: Lee Stern and Murray Thompson


     Read more about the founding of PBI 
  •  
    GUATEMALA: General Efrain Rios Montt siezes power after military coup
  • NICARAGUA: US-sponsored attacks by Contra rebels based in Honduras begin; state of emergency declared
     
  •  
    SRI LANKA: Civil war begins
  • 1983

    NICARAGUA  

    Amidst an escalation of violence, PBI deploys 10 volunteers to Jalapa, Nicaragua, near the Honduran border, interposing themselves between US-backed contras and Sandinista forces in order to deter hostilities. This work was eventually taken over and continued by Witness for Peace.

     Read about JoLeigh Commandant, who participated in the peace vigil along the ... 
  • GUATEMALA 

    PBI installed its first team during a period of intense state terror and repression. PBI’s work quickly focused on protecting victims and nascent nonviolent organisations confronting government violence.

     Read more about PBI's history in Guatemala 
  • GUATEMALA: Peace talks begin between the government and rebels of the Guatemalan Revolutionary National Unity
     
  • 1985

    GUATEMALA 

    PBI pioneers international protective accompaniment with leaders and activists of the Mutual Support Group for Families of the Disappeared (GAM), some of whose leaders had been brutally assassinated by State agents. 

     Read more about GAM's history 
  • 1987

    EL SALVADOR 

    At the invitation of Lutheran Bishop Medardo Gomez, PBI began working in El Salvador. Most of the work consisted of providing international protective accompaniment to threatened popular organsations and regular visits to villages of returned refugees. 

     Read about PBI's work in El Salvador from 1987-1990 
  •  
    Central American Peace Accords negotiations begin
  • 1989

    SRI LANKA 

    A PBI team was installed in Sri Lanka during some of the worst violence between government forces and the People’s Liberation Front (JVP). PBI accompanied lawyers working on behalf of disappeared people and their families, religious leaders threatened due to their reconciliation work, and grassroots movements.

     Read more about PBI's work in Sri Lanka 
  •  
    Fall of the Berlin Wall
  • 1990

    EL SALVADOR 

    While the PBI team's work was interrupted in 1989 due to harassment by the Armed Forces, it was able to re-deploy in 1990 with the strong backing of the international community, including members of Parliament and Congress from Switzerland, Canada, Spain, the United States, Italy, Sweden, France and Germany as well as religious communities, international organizations, and labor unions. 

      
  • PBI's activities throughout 1990 

    See our first Annual Report published in 1990 with details on our activities across the world.

     See the full 1990 Annual Report here 
  • HAITI: Military coup
     
  •  
    European Union forms under the Maastricht Treaty
  • 1992

    EL SALVADOR 

    Following the signing of the Peace Accords in 1992, PBI's work in El Salvador was no longer necessary and so the project was closed

      
  •  
    THE BALKANS: UN-monitored ceasefire
  • NORTH AMERICA 

    PBI opens a project to respond to conflicts in and around indigenous communities following confrontations between Mohawk warriors and the Canadian Army near Montreal, Quebec. The project's work involved supporting dialogue and reconciliation, training local human rights monitors, and carrying out anti-racist education in Canada.

     Read more about Penashue's work and life in her memoire, Nitinikiau Innusi: I... 
  • 1993

    HAITI 

    In response to increasing military violence after the 1991 coup, PBI joins the "Cry for Justice" Coalition, led by Pax Christi USA, and including the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Christian Peacemaker Teams and a dozen other organisations. 75 international volunteers were deployed to Haiti in late 1993 to provide a short-term peaceful presence in six different towns suffering from high levels of violence. 

      
  • 1994

    COLOMBIA 

    After receiving requests from civil society organizations, in particular Father Javier Giraldo of the organization Justicia y Paz, and following an exploratory mission in 1993, PBI opened a project with offices initially in Bogota and Barrancabermeja. 

     Read about the exploratory work that led to the opening of PBI Colombia 
  • THE BALKANS 

    PBI joined the Balkan Peace Team International, a coalition of mostly European organisations that set up teams in Croatia, Servia and Kosovo to provide support to local human rights and nonviolence efforts, foster dialogue among civilian groups and link local peace organisations working in different part of former Yugoslavia. 

     Learn more about the work of the Balkan Peace Team 
  • MEXICO: Zapatista uprising
     
  • 1995

    MEXICO 

    PBI joins SiPaz, a coalition of over 40 international organizations set up in 1995 in response to growing violence following the Zapatista uprising in 1994 in Chiapas, Mexico. The coalition disseminates information on the conflict situation, provides accompaniment to local activists, and organises peace education workshops to strengthen the capacity of local organisations. 

    This work is continued today by the International Service for Peace (SiPaz).

     Find out about the ongoing work of SiPaz 
  • HAITI 

    From 1995 with the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristade, a PBI team offered training in nonviolent conflict resolution with the aim of establishing a network of Haitian trainers to continue the work in a country devastated by years of tyranny and military rule.

      
  •  
    THE BALKANS: End of the war
  • 1996

    COLOMBIA 

    1996 was a year of political instability and increased risk and criminalization for HRDs in Colombia. PBI accompaniment helped ensure that lawyers from the Restrepo Lawyers' Collective (CCAJAR) could continue their work in Colombia despite the high level of risk. 

     Find out more about PBI's accompaniment to CCAJAR 
  •  
    NEPAL: Civil war begins
  • 1997

    COLOMBIA 

    The Peace Community of San José de Apartadó was founded in the Urabá Antioqueño region of Colombia in 1997 in the midst of armed violence, forced displacement, and the murder of its leaders. It rejects the presence of all armed actors in its territories.

    Although stigmatization, threats and defamation continue to this day, the Peace Community has managed to establish a certain deterrence against armed actors thanks to the recognition of its project at the international level. The peace community continues to be an inspiring alternative model of non-violent community life to this day.

    PBI has accompanied the peace community since 1999.

     Read more about the Peace Community 
  • Liam Mahony and Luis Enrique Eguren publish "Unarmed Bodyguards" 

    Mahony and Eguren show the success of this concept through the story of PBI's accompaniment of activists throughout the world.

      
  • 1998

    SRI LANKA 

    PBI was told that if it wished to continue working in Sri Lanka it would have to submit its reports to the authorities to be censored prior to their publication. This demand was not compatible with PBI’s mission, so the project was closed.

     Read about George Lakey’s time as a PBI volunteer in Sri Lanka 
  • MEXICO 

    Following the worsening of the human rights situation in the country and requests from local civil society organisations, PBI opens a project.

      
  • COLOMBIA 

    On 16th May 1998, paramilitaries murdered seven local inhabitants and disappeared another 25 people who had been taking part in a community fundraising event in Barrancabermeja (Santander).

    PBI accompanies José Albaer Restrepo of the Lawyer's Collective Corporation (CCAJAR), who represents the victims and their families, many of whom are still seeking justice.  

     Read more about the Barrancabermeja Massacre and the work of CCAJAR 
  •  
    UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders recognises the importance and legitimacy of their work
  • 1999

    GUATEMALA 

    The Guatemalan Peace Accords were signed, ending more than 30 years of civil war. Following the signing of the Peace Accords and a subsequent reduction in the number of human rights violations and accompaniment requests, PBI decided to close it's project

      
  • COLOMBIA 

    Following an increase in attacks on human rights organisations in the region, PBI opened a new office in Medellin, to accompany the Association of Family Members of the Detained Disappeared (ASFADDES), the Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (CSPP), the Grassroots Training Institute (IPC), and the Corporation for Legal Freedom (CLB).

     Read more about PBI's work in Medellin from 1999-2011 
  • 2000

    INDONESIA 

    Following invitations by local humanitarian and non-governmental organisations, PBI opened its first team in South-East Asia, in West Timor. PBI teams in Jakarta, Aceh, and in Wamena and Jayapura, Papua accompanied local human rights organisations and along with local partners carried out peace education workshops to build capacity for conflict transfomation among local leaders, students, NGOs, officials and faith groups.

     Read more about PBI's work in Indonesia between 1999-2011 
  • MEXICO 

    PBI focused it's initial accompaniment efforts in the State of Guerrero, where there was little international attention despite widespread human rights violations. One of the early accompanied organisations in Guerrero was the 'Tlachinollan' Human Rights Centre, which documents human rights violations, and carries out advocacy, outreach, education and strategic litigation of human rights cases. 

     "PBI arrived in Guerrero at a critical moment of State violence” 
  • 2001

    PBI turns 20! 

    In October 2001, PBI brought together over 90 speakers, facilitators activists and interpreters to reflect on its approach and the challenges facing the human rights movement and civil society organizations working to promote peace and nonviolence in areas of conflict. 

     Read excerpts from presentations at PBI's 20th anniversary conference 
  • PBI receives Martin Ennals Award  

    PBI is the first organisation to receive the Martin Ennals Award. The Foundation described PBI volunteers as "epitomising the expression of international concern and support for human rights defenders on the frontline".

     Leer más sobre el premio Martin Ennals 
  • International Day of Peace is designated by the UN as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.
     
  • 2002

    COLOMBIA 

    The early 2000s saw a rise in urban violence, despite peace negotiations between the government and the FARC-EP. Hundreds of civilians were injured, killed and disappeared during armed clashes between the FARC-EP and the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (UAC) and between other legal and illegal armed groups, as well the millitary. 

    PBI accompanied organisations such as the Corporation for Judicial Freedom (CJL) at a time when they were the only organization documenting cases in Comuna 13, Medellin.

     Read more about the work of CJL 
  • 2003

    GUATEMALA 

    Following a deterioration of the human rights situation, PBI once again began receiving accompaniment requests from Guatemalan civil society. An exploration was carried out in 2001 and a team re-opened in 2003. 

    (Members of the Guatemalan Families of the Disappeared (FAMDEGUA))

     Listen to the Democracy Now! interview about PBI's work in Guatemala 
  • MEXICO 

    In 2003, PBI began accompanying Tita Radilla, vice-president of the Mexican Association of Relatives of the Detained, Disappeared and Victims of Human Rights Violations (AFADEM), who's father, Rosendo Radilla Pacheco, had been forcibly disappeared in Atoyac, Guerrero in 1974. Tita and other family members faced attacks and threats due to their work seeking justice for their loved ones. 

     Learn more about PBI's accompaniment to the AFADEM 
  • 2005

    COLOMBIA 

    On 21st February 2005, eight people from the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, in north-west Colombia, were massacred, including three young children and community leader Luis Eduardo Guerra. 

     More information on the Peace Community 
  • 2006

    NEPAL 

    Following requests from Nepalese human rights organisations due to conflicts between Maoist insurgents and the government, PBI launched a project in Nepal . An initial team of 5 volunteers was based in Kathmandu and provided protective accompaniment to local human rights organisations. 

     Read more about PBI's work in Nepal from 2006-2013 
  • MEXICO 

    The Organization Familia Pasta de Conchos (OFPC) was created in 2006, following a disaster in Mine 8, in the Pasta de Conchos Unit, which was located in the San Juan Sabinas municipality, Coahuila, and managed by the Grupo México company. During the incident, 65 miners were trapped and subsequently died. As a result, their family members came together to demand the recovery of their bodies – to date only two bodies have been recovered. 

    PBI has accompanied the organisation since 2014. 

     See more about the Organisation Pasta de Conchos 
  •  
    NEPAL: Civil war ends with the signing of peace accords
  • 2007

    Protection International is founded 

    In 2007, Protection International is registered as an international not for profit association by Pascale Boosten, Marie Caraj, Enrique Eguren and Christoph Klotz. PI becomes the legal successor of the former EU Office of Peace Brigades International.

     Find out more about the work of Protection International 
  • KENYA 

    Political, economic, and humanitarian crisis erupted in Kenya after former President Mwai Kibaki was declared the winner of the presidential election held on December 27, 2007. More than 1,100 people were killed, and up to 500,000 displaced, according to Human Rights Watch.

     'Ballots to Bullets Organized Political Violence and Kenya's Crisis of Govern... 
  • 2008

    MEXICO 

    Following the violent eviction of a sit-in by members of a teachers union from the centre of Oaxaca City, social conflict broke out in Oaxaca. Between 2006-2007, numerous human rights violations were documented by civil society organisations, including arbitrary detention, torture, extrajudicial execution and enforced disappearance.  

    PBI participated in two civil observation missions to the state during the conflict, and in 2008 opened a permanent team in Oaxaca

     Read about the opening of PBI's team in Oaxaca 
  • 2009

    MEXICO 

    In February 2009, two indigenous leaders of the Organization for the Future of the Mixteco People (OFPM) were forcably detained during a public act at which local authorities were present. 10 days later, their bodies were disovered with visible signs of torture. PBI accompanied their lawyers, from the 'Tlachinollan' Human Rights Centre, due to the increase in threats and harassment they received following the assasinations. 

     Read about the situation facing HRDs in southern Mexico 
  • MEXICO 

    The Inter-American Court of Human Rights rules in favor of Tita Radilla, Ines Fernandez Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantu, in three historic cases involving abuses committed by the armed forces, opening the door to key reforms to the military justice code demanded by victims and human rights organisations. 

    PBI accompanied Tita, Ines and Valentina, as well as other members of the AFADEM and OPIM in the run up to the ruling and during their demands for implementation of the respective sentences. 

     Read 'Mexico Before the Inter-American Court' 
  •  
    HONDURAS: Military coup
  • COLOMBIA 

    In 2009 various human rights defenders, among them the founder of DH Colombia, lawyer Jorge Molano, denounced that they were victims of a state policy to spy on human rights defenders, which was gravely affecting their guarantees to carry out their work, and their personal security.

    As a result, in 2016 various members of the, by then decommissioned, DAS (state intelligence agency) were called to trial for illegal wire-tapping (“chuzadas”) and surveillance of journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders and members of congress who were in opposition of Álvaro Uribe Vélez’s government. 

     

     See more on the "Chuzadas" scandal 
  • 2010

    NEPAL 

    Two years after the Constituent Assembly Elections and four years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Maoists and ther political parties in Nepal, the human rights situation in the country remains a challenge. 

      
  • Arab Spring
     
  • COLOMBIA 

    David Ravelo, a recognized human rights defender in Barrancabermeja and founding member of CREDHOS, was arrested, accused of being the mastermind of the murder, in 1991, of a local public official, a crime that he, according to his legal defence, never committed. In December 2012, after 26 months awaiting sentencing, he was condemned to 18 years in prison. In June 2017, Ravelo was released on parole, pending the decision from the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) regarding his request that his case be transferred from the ordinary justice courts to this special transitional justice tribunal. 

    PBI accompanied David Ravelo throughout his time in prison.

     Read more about David Ravelo. 
  • 2011

    PBI turns 30! 

    In 2011, PBI marked its 30th anniversary with a series of conferences and events organized in Germany, Spanish State, Switzerland and the UK which brought together human rights defenders, activists, decision-makers, academics, UN officials and members of the public. Topics ranged from criminalization of HRDs; to the risk of defending land and environmental rights - coinciding with the creation of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights; to critically evaluating existing protection frameworks, such as the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and the Un Declaration on Human Rights. 

     Read more about PBI's 30th anniversary in our 2011 annual review 
  • KENYA 

    Following receipt of a number of requests for PBI presence from African countries, in 2009 PBI formed a working group to evaluate the diverse protection needs of HRDs in Africa and the potential for PBI's model to be effective in supporting their protection. 

    Kenya was eventually selected for more in-depth field exploration, and the Kenya Project Exploratory Committee established in 2011.

     

     Read the report on PBI's exploratory mission to Kenya 
  • MEXICO 

    In June 2011, following years of demands by Mexican and international civil society, the Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists was approved by the Mexican legislature and signed by then-President Felipe Calderon. The law was championed by the Civil Society Space for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists (Espacio OSC), accompanied by PBI. 

      
  • 2012

    MEXICO 

    PBI publishes testimonies of women defenders actively involved in promoting dialogue and creating spaces for peace within the violent context of Mexico.

     See more in the publication "Dignas" 
  • COLOMBIA: Peace negotiations between the FARC and the Government begin
     
  • 2013

    KENYA 

    PBI opened a project following extensive field and desk-based research into the human rights situation in the country and the needs of defenders. The project provides capacity development and accompaniment to HRDs working in Nairobi's urban settlements as well as organizations carrying out electoral monitoring, working to end gender based violence, and those working for police reform, among other issues. 

     Find out more about our work in Kenya 
  • HONDURAS 

    Following the coup d'état that took place in Honduras in 2009 and a worsening of the human rights situation, PBI received requests for international accompaniment from the Honduras Platform on Human Rights. 

    PBI formally opened a project in Honduras following the 2013 election, which was marked by a deterioration in the human rights situation in the country and the killing of HRDs. 

     Read the report on PBI's exploratory missions to Honduras 
  • NEPAL 

    In 2013, PBI together with the Collective Campaign for Peace Network (COCAP) launched the Nepal Monitor Project. Its mission is to work with and for civil society activists and HRDs to increase their protection and maintain or expand the political space available for their work in favour of peace and human rights in Nepal.

    The human rights and security incident reports mapped on the site are distributed via e-mail and text message alerts to the members of a network of over 200 Human Rights organizations and individuals across Nepal, who are nearest to the incidents.

     Learn more about the work of nepalmonitor.org 
  • MEXICO 

    Following requests from civil society and an exploratory mission carried out to diverse regions in Mexico, PBI opened an office in the northern part of the country, and expanded it's accompaniment to HRDs in the states of Coahuila and Chihuahua. 

     Read 'A Panorama of the Defense of Human Rights in Mexico' 
  • GUATEMALA 

    Former general and de facto President of Guatemala from 1982-1983, Jose Efrain Rios Montt was convicted in January 2013 of genocide and crimes against humanity, and sentenced to 80 years in prison. While his conviction was overturned in 2013 by the Constitutional Court of Guatemala, a retrail took place in 2015 after a Guatemalan court ruled he could stand trail. 

     Read a letter of concern written by PBI Guatemala prior to the initiation of ... 
  • COLOMBIA 

    In December 2013, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found the Colombian State guilty of the mass forced displacement of afro-descendent communities resulting from 'Operation Black September' and 'Operation Genesis'. More than 70 people were also murdered or disappeared during the subsequent militarization of the Lower Atrato.

    PBI accompanied lawyers from the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, who brought the case to the Inter-American Court. 

     Read more about the consequences of 'Operation Genesis' 
  • 2014

    GUATEMALA 

    In 2014, PBI conmemorated thirty years of accompaniment in Guatemala.

      
  • INDONESIA 

    Following discussions with civil society organizations and other stakeholders, PBI once again began working in Indonesia in partnership with the Institute of Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM).

    The current project promotes human rights in Indonesia by providing capacity development to Human Rights Defenders in remote areas, with a focus on their ability to document human rights abuses, advocate to the Indonesian government and internationally, and build their personal security and protection networks.

     Read more about PBI's current work in Indonesia 
  • 10 Years of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders 

    Built on the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the Guidelines were created in 2004 to recognize the specific risks faced by HRDs and the role of EU bodies, Member States and Missions to protect, support, and reinforce the work of HRDs in third countries. PBI had long advocated for the EU to take stronger action to protect and support at-risk HRDs.

    In this video, EU representatives and HRDs reflect on the implementation of the guidelines 10 years on.

     Read 'Ten Years of the EU Guidelines on HRDs: An Assessment from the Field 
  • COLOMBIA 

    Inspired by the Humanitarian Zones that were formed in regions such as Curbaradó and Cacarica in Urabá and accompanied by the Interchurch Commission for Justice and Peace (CIJP), the first Humanitarian Space  within an urban context was implemented in Buenaventura. These Zones are a community initiative which have the aim of allowed people to continue living in their territories, despite the dangers caused by the dynamics of the armed conflict. 

    PBI has accompanied different Humanitarian Zones across the country, supporting the community's rejection of any armed actor within the territory.

      
  • MEXICO 

    On 26th September 2014, 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College were forcibly abducted and disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, in southern Mexico. PBI accompanies the 'Tlachinollan' Human Rights Centre, who provide legal support to the family members of the disappeared students.

     Read the report of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) ... 
  • 2015

    HONDURAS 

    Since 2015, PBI has been supporting activists from Arcoíris LGTB Association of Honduras, and has witnessed first hand the risks and intimidation that their Human Rights Defenders suffer as a result of their work. Despite the risks they face, Arcoíris has been committed to empowering, informing and challenging discrimination and stigmatisation against the LGBTI+ community in the most dangerous country in Central America for members of the gay and lesbian community.

     Read more about Arcoíris 
  •  
    Signature of the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation, adaptation and finance
  • 2016

    HONDURAS 

    Berta Cáceres Flores was a Honduran environmental activist, indigenous leader, and co-founder and coordinator of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH). She won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015, for "a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam" at the Río Gualcarque. She was assassinated in her home by armed intruders in 2016, after years of threats against her life.

    In the wake of Berta's killing in 2016, PBI began accompanying the coordinators of COPINH due to the ongoing risks they face in their search for justice for Berta and to uphold the rights of the Lenca people. 

     More information about PBI's accompaniment to COPINH 
  • KENYA 

    In 2016, PBI Kenya developed a Women Human Rights Defenders Toolkit which offers resources and recommendations to help address the specific challenges of grassroots Women HRDs. A network of grassroots WHRDs from three of Nairobi’s urban settlements (Kibera, Mathare and Mukuru) work as toolkit organizers to help disseminate and further develop the toolkit. 

      
  • COLOMBIA 

    PBI publishes graphic novel about the history of the project and the organisations and individuals it accompanies in Colombia.

     See and download the graphic novel here 
  • COLOMBIA 

    Following years of negotiation that began in 2012, the Colombian government and the FARC-EP signed a peace agreement, ending the decades old armed conflict that took the lives of thousands of Colombian civilians and resulted in large scale internal displacement, disappearances and other human rights violations.  All of the organisations PBI accompanied were involved in the Peace Process which promised an end to the 60 years of bloodshed.

    PBI Spoke to Fabian Laverde, of the Social Corporation for Community Advice and Training (COSPACC) about the role of victims in the peace process and the work still left to be done. 

     Read 'The Role of Victims in the Peace Processes' 
  • 2017

    KENYA 

    Following a number of requests from exiled HRDs in the region, and recognizing the multitude of challenges they faced, PBI Kenya undertook a series of workshops to consider mechanisms through which international organizations and institutions could better support them. 

     Read the report: Enhancing Support for Exiled HRDs in Nairobi 
  • 2018

    20th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders 

    To mark the 40th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, PBI brought together HRDs from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia to exchange experiences and knowledge about holistic protection. This meeting allowed us to analyse global tendencies and identify the common risks faced by and needs of human rights defenders.

    HRDs also had the opportunity to participate in a round table with representatives of EU member states and other decision makers about how they can better uphold the right to defend human rights. 

      
  • NICARAGUA  

    In April 2018, spontaneous social protests broke out in Nicaragua in response to unpopular reforms to the university and social security systems. These took place against the backdrop of prior electoral irregularities and a number of constitutional and legal reforms that increasingly concentrated political power in the hands of the executive - particularly Daniel Ortega and his wife and Vice President, Rosario Murillo. 

    Hundreds of people were injured, killed and arbitrarily detained during the protests. A subsequent report by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) for Nicaragua concludes that the State's response was disproportionate and that it committed serious and systematic human rights abuses in its response to the protests. 

      
  • GUATEMALA 

    In November 2018, indigenous land and environmental defender Bernardo Caal Xol was sentenced to seven years four months in prison for the crimes of illegal detention and aggravated robbery. This, despite evidence provided by his lawyers throughout the judicial process that Caal Xol was not in the location of the crime at the time it was committed.

    PBI has accompanied Bernardo and the Peaceful Resistance of Cahabon since 2017.

    Bernardo Caal Xol from PBI Guatemala on Vimeo.

      
  • 2019

    HONDURAS 

    To mark world press freedom day 2019 - Honduran journalist and human rights defender Dina Meza talks to PBI about media freedom and the work of independent journalists in Honduras.

     See more about Dina Meza and ASOPODEHU 
  • "International accompaniment is saving our lives" 

    2019 witnessed the growth of social movements around the world; from environmentalists to feminists, people from different countries, different ages and different worldviews were actively vocal and engaged in building vibrant democracies. This wave of activism is an important reminder of the power of collective action and conviction. 

     See PBI´s 2019 Annual Report 
  • 2020

    NICARAGUA  

    Following the political crisis in 2018, PBI began an accompaniment project for Nicaraguan organisations and civil society groups living in exile in Costa Rica. The project provides capacity development for exiled HRDs, from psychosocial support to organizational strengthening and security and protection strategies, focusing on improving their conditions and building resilience for an eventual return to Nicaragua.

     See PBI's campaign "Defending human rights has no borders" 
  • HONDURAS 

    In preparation for the Universal Periodic Review of Honduras, PBI prepared a report on the situation for human rights defenders in the country and lays out recommendations for the Honduran State on issues ranging from the recognition of the important role played by HRDs to the implementation of prompt, diligent and impartial investigations in cases of attacks committed against them. 

     Read 'Defending the Land has a Woman's Name' 
  • HONDURAS 

    In preparation of Honduras’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which took place in May 2020, PBI Honduras published a report with testimonials highlighting the specific risks and violence faced by women defenders of land, territory and the environment and demonstrate the need for a differentiated response by the Honduran State to protect them.

     Read the full report here 
  • COLOMBIA 

    In August 2020, in a historic ruling for Colombia, the successor to the Administrative Department of Security (DAS), the Attorney General’s Office and the Ministry of the Interior were condemned for the threats, kidnapping and systematic psychological torture that journalist Claudia Julieta Duque was subjected to at the hands of the defunct DAS from 23 July 2001 to April 2010. The ruling comes after the journalist filed a lawsuit in 2012 for the illegal actions against her for her journalistic work and investigation of the crime of the humourist and comedian Jaime Garzón.

    PBI has accompanied Claudia in her active human rghts defence work as a journalist since 2010.

     See more about Claudia Julieta Duque´s work 
  • 40 years opening space for peace 

    2020 was a year in which international solidarity became commonplace as global interconnections were felt more strongly than ever. In the face of a devastating global pandemic, inequalities have been exacerbated and individuals and communities around the globe have risen to meet new human rights challenges. HRD’s fundamental role as advocates for vulnerable groups, leaders of social movements and opponents of repression have become more necessary than ever.

     See PBI´s 2020 Annual Report 
  • 2021

    Escazú Agreement Enters into Force 

    Entering into force on Earth Day, 2021, the Escazú Agreement regarding access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters is a groundbreaking treaty between Latin America and Caribbean countries. It is the first human rights treaty that protects and prioritizes people's rights to information, participation, justice and security in environmental matters, based on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. 

    Watch the video from Amnesty International on the importance of the Escazú Agreement and what it could mean for human rights defenders in the region. 

     Read 'The Escazú Agreement, a necessary tool for the fight against climate ch... 
  • MEXICO 

    Despite the existence of a governmental protection mechanism for HRDs and journalists, these populations continue to face high levels of risk in Mexico. Civil society has repeatedly called on the Mexican government to implement holistic protection policies which address the root causes that generate risk, and to improve resourcing and coordination of the mechanism. 

     Read 'Turning the Tide on Impunity: Protection and Access to Justice for Jour...