Advocacy and Policy Work
The effectiveness of PBI’s protective accompaniment is ensured by the network of supporters and political contacts through which we keep the international community aware of the security situation of the individuals, organisations and communities we accompany and lobby for political decision makers to use their influence on behalf of human rights defenders. Our political networks provide an emergency support system for threatened defenders, opportunities for direct dialogue between human rights defenders and key decision makers, and channels through which PBI contributes to international debate on human rights issues. The advocacy of PBI country groups is crucial in raising the profile of PBI’s work and extending our support networks.
Building political networks
Establishing ongoing dialogue and relationships with political decision makers is a key element of PBI UK’s support for threatened human rights defenders.
In times of emergency or heightened threat to the people we protect, PBI can call on the influential individuals and groups that make up our support network.
In the UK, this network consists of more than 50 MPs, ministers and peers of the realm, as well as members of the legal community. PBI International support network also at EU and UN level.
Support network members can use their influence to protect threatened defenders in various ways, including through diplomatic channels or raising the issues in Parliament.
It is not only in moments of high alert that PBI engages with the members of our support network. All of the defenders we accompany are living with constant threat to their security.
PBI’s advocacy is therefore an ongoing prevention activity, as we keep the members of our network informed of the situation faced by human rights defenders in particular regions or thematic areas, and share our expertise on the ways in which the international community can help protect them.
Bringing together defenders and decision-makers
PBI UK invites representatives of accompanied organisations to the UK, facilitating meetings with politicians, diplomats, academics, lawyers and activists with whom they can highlight their concerns.
Strengthening ties and contributing to international debate
PBI UK meets regularly with officials of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), including desk officers and section heads for specific regions and members of the Human Rights and Democracy Group.
The FCO has included the recommendations from PBI’s Conference on Security and Protection for Human Rights Defenders in its action plan for embassy staff around the world.
In December 2015, PBI UK coorganised a Wilton Park dialogue which explored approaches and action that the government could take to enable and protect Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) to address current global trends and challenges to civic space and HRDs.
PBI UK also shares its knowledge and expertise through participation in coalitions such as ABColombia, of which we are an observer member, and the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition.
See a selection of PBI's advocacy submissions and recommendations