PBI provides protection through our advocacy work. Our activities help create the right security, policy and political environments in which defenders can carry out their work. In the UK we build political, legal and diplomatic networks that can be mobilised at short notice to provide much needed support and provide defenders with a platform they otherwise would not have, to amplify their voices, ensuring that their calls for rights and freedoms are heard by those who can make a difference.
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 advocate 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.
Responding to emergency situations
In times of emergency or imminent 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's international support network also includes diplomats and decision makers 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 issues in Parliament.
Providing ongoing protection
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 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 accompanied human rights defenders to the UK, facilitating meetings with politicians, diplomats, academics, lawyers and activists. This amplifies their voices internationally, both contributing to their protection and providing wider platforms for them to discuss in their own words their vital struggles in support of justice and human rights.
On the occasion of a working visit in London on 2-3 December 2015, Special Rapporteur Michel Forst met with Peace Brigades International to discuss current threats faced by human rights defenders.
Contributing to international debate
PBI UK meets regularly with officials of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and members of the Human Rights and Democracy Group. Through sharing our recommendations and insights from the field with these high-level decision makers, we pressure the UK government to ensure its own accountability and act as a champion for the protection of human rights defenders internationally.
Among other of our achievements, 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.
PBI UK also shares its knowledge and expertise through participation in coalitions such as ABColombia and the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition.
See a selection of PBI's advocacy submissions and recommendations