Because of their work for human rights, women human rights defenders challenge the traditional gender roles of the patriarchal society that keeps women in the domestic sphere. Consequently, women human rights defenders often suffer from serious public defamation campaigns that aim to damage their reputation, accusing them, among others, of neglecting their family or of being in search of sexual partners. In addition, women human rights defenders are often targets of attacks, threats and harassment, also of a sexual nature.
Kenyan social justice activist Naomi Barasa and Colombian human rights lawyer Daniel Prado have won the first annual Henry Brooke Awards for Human Rights Defenders. The awards were presented by Lady Arden DBE, at a packed event at the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom on 13 November 2018. The event was organised by PBI UK and pro bono legal network the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk, and hosted by Lord Carnwath CVO.
Peace Brigades International is profoundly concerned that, on 20 September 2018, the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, Colombia, was informed that it was an “irreversible decision of the paramilitaries to eliminate, before the end of 2018, three leaders of the Peace Community”. Among these are included the Community’s Legal Representative, Germán Graciano Posso, who narrowly survived an assassination attempt by paramilitaries on 29 December 2017.
"These defenders are part of a global movement to protect the planet. They are on the frontline of fighting climate change, preserving ecosystems and safeguarding human rights. They stand up for causes that benefit us all: sustainability, biodiversity and justice." - Global Witness
2017 was the deadliest year on record for land and environmental defenders, according to a new report released on 24 July 2018 by NGO Global Witness.
This June 2018, PBI Colombia coordinated and accompanied a visit of the UK Embassy in Colombia and the UN’s Colombia mission to one of the regions most ravaged by the country’s 60-year armed conflict. The Embassy’s political secretary in charge of human rights, Tom Newton, and his Colombian counsellor Andrés Urrego visited the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó before traveling to the Humanitarian Zone of Las Camelias, the Isaac Tuberquia Biodiversity Zone and the Territorial Space of Training and Reincorporation “Las Brisas” in Chocó.
In April 2018 Colombian human rights lawyer Luis Guillermo Pérez visited Europe in order to submit evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the killings on human rights defenders in Colombia. 2017, the first full year since the signing of the peace agreement in Colombia, was the deadliest on record for human rights defenders, with 121 killed, compared with 60 killings in 2016.
On the 16th of March 2018 members of the EU Parliament sent a letter to the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to express serious concern in regard to the recent increase in assassinations and threats against human rights defenders and community leaders in Colombia.
On December 20th 2017 Ann Clwyd MP tabled an early day motion (EDM) in parliament on the critical situation in Colombia for human rights defenders. This statement comes after the killings of prominent land rights defenders Mario Castaño Bravo and Hernán Bedoya at the end of 2017. The EDM reads: