On 20 February 2014, PBI participated in the Seminar for European Union Delegations' Focal Points on Human Rights, which took place in Brussels and was organized by the European External Action Service (EEAS). The purpose of our participation was to share best practices and to illustrate the challenges we have observed over the 10 years since the implementation of the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders began.
At PBI UK we were thrilled to raise a record £10,900 at The Funding Network's Festive Funding event on 2 December.
The actress Zoë Wanamaker brilliantly pitched PBI UK's new environmental and land rights defenders project.
The project will ensure that PBI can provide protective accompaniment to threatened environmental and land rights defenders and include a campaign to raise awareness of the risks they face, including with the UK government, which recently published an action plan on business and human rights.
In Brussels on 5 November 2013, a consortium made up of PBI UK, the Mexican Commission to Defend and Promote Human Rights (CMDPDH) and Conexx presented the project “Protecting human rights defenders through building capacity and visibility”.
The three-year project is financed by the European Union and will provide human rights defenders (HRDs) in four Mexican states (Baja California, the Federal District, Guerrero and Oaxaca) with tools to help them strengthen their capacities in documentation, advocacy, profile-raising and media relations.
“Since 1991, over 400 lawyers have been murdered in Colombia and no one has been prosecuted for any of those murders.” Alirio Uribe, CCAJAR
PBI UK and the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk held a Gala on 13 May to celebrate and honour defenders of the rule of law.
Actors Juliet Stevenson, Samuel West, Hattie Morahan and Scott Brooksbank performed a dramatisation of the stories of human rights defenders Mandira Sharma (Nepal) and Alirio Uribe (Colombia) and of two volunteers who travelled to Colombia to work with PBI. Their words, recorded in recent interviews, were powerfully woven together in a script by Christine Bacon from iceandfire. Guitarist Steve Smith set the mood with musical interludes, playing classical melodies from Colombia and South America.
At the G8 meeting on 11 April in London, delegates adopted a Declaration on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Paragraph 7 of the Declaration was a result of PBI's engagement with the Government's Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) team, both at our October 2012 conference on Women Human Rights Defenders, and in subsequent consultation meetings with the PSVI team, together with GAPS and Amnesty UK:
In June 2011 the UN Human Rights Council endorsed "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations 'Protect, Respect and Remedy' Framework" proposed by UN Special Representative John Ruggie. Key features of this document are the duty of states to protect the human rights of those in contact with businesses; the corporate responsibility towards respecting human rights throughout their activities; and the need to ensure access to remedies when abuses take place.
On International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2012, PBI reaffirms its solidarity with human rights defenders around the world, and its commitment to the promotion of human rights and the protection of those who struggle in the face of threats to nonviolently uphold the rights of their communities.
The courage, strength, perseverance and resilience of these brave women and men continues to humble and inspire all of us – volunteers and staff – at PBI.
The work of women human rights defenders (WHRD) is crucial to building long-term sustainable and stable futures within their countries, but they face a heightened risk of violence on account of being both women and change-makers.
PBI UK’s conference on 24 October 2012 brought together WHRDs from Afghanistan, Colombia, Iran, Kenya, Mexico and Nepal with professionals working in the fields of human rights, government, law and academia, including representatives of the European Union and United Nations.
Judith Maldonado of the Luis Carlos Pérez Lawyers' Collective (CCALCP) and the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CCAJAR) have been recognised for their “untiring, persistent and brave” work, in the first National Award for the Defence of Human Rights in Colombia, organised by the Inter-Agency Dialogue on Colombia (DIAL).