In order to address the complex range of risks and constraints that human rights defenders face, PBI employs a strategy of “integrated protection and security”. This approach supplements a protective presence with capacity-building training and resources to broaden the scope of action and optimize the impact of defenders’ work. We are developing a range of instruments to strengthen the skills and enhance the security of defenders, including e-learning platforms, online toolkits and security workshops.
PBI is part of a three-year EU project, together with the Mexican Commission, to develop tools to help Mexican women human rights defenders strengthen their capacities in areas crucial to their work. PBI is developing an online learning platform to build defenders’ skills in advocacy and campaigning, awareness of national, regional and international protection mechanisms, and tools for reporting and documenting violations. This platform opens an educational space for the concept of integral protection and security through courses, workshops and toolkits. The course will analyse, compare and interrelate theoretical knowledge and practical experience. Participants will be invited to attend three face-to-face workshops and two roundtables through which they can convey their protection needs to the diplomatic corps. The program is accompanied by an online toolkit: “Towards the integral protection of women defenders of the land and the environment”.
During 2014 PBI also developed an online toolkit for use by women human rights defenders worldwide. The toolkit addresses needs identified at the Women Human Rights Defenders strategic conference in 2012 by providing an online resource through which WHRDs can access information on aspects of their work such as media relations, advocacy and personal security. PBI launched the toolkit in 2015.
Building Capacity of Human Rights Defenders in Indonesia
PBI worked in Indonesia from 2001 to early 2011. Since then, PBI has monitored the situation for defenders, particularly in Papua, and provided opportunities for them to share their experiences and build links with the international community. In 2014, following extended discussions with civil society organizations and other stakeholders, PBI began a new Indonesia Project aimed at promoting human rights through strengthening the capacities of defenders in remote areas. The program, developed in collaboration with the Jakarta-based NGO ESLAM (Institute of Policy Research and Advocacy) focusses on the ability of defenders to document human rights abuses, advocate to the Indonesian government and internationally, and build their personal security and protection networks. The project will bring defenders to Jakarta for four-month intensive trainings followed by three months of supported field research. As the project develops we will work towards building a mutual support and protection alumni network.
On request from human rights organisations PBI also organises workshops as part of our field projects, providing defenders with security training and enabling them to take preventative action and to cope with constant psychological pressure. These workshops are adapted to local needs and conditions. In Mexico, the Security and Protection Program provides workshops offering basic tools for the elaboration of a risk analysis and emergency plans, as well as a space for active reflection regarding the threats often implied by the exercise of defending human rights in Mexico. In Guatemala, we have been working with other international organisations to educate isolated rural human rights defenders about the EU Guidelines on Human Rights and their use.