"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.
PBI UK and Simmons & Simmons launch toolbox for defenders working on business and human rights
This week marks the launch of an innovative new resource for defenders working on issues regarding business and human rights. It was produced by law firm Simmons & Simmons in collaboration with PBI UK.
The situation for land rights defenders in Guatemala is seriously and rapidly deteriorating, according to alerts released by PBI Guatemala and other human rights organisations. Since 9 May, seven indigenous leaders and activists have been killed across the country.
Cristina Auerbach’s journey as a human rights defender began when an explosion in February 2006 inside the Pasta de Conchos mine in northern Mexico’s state of Coahuila trapped 65 miners. As the company owning the mine abandoned the search and rescue of the bodies, and authorities failed to be held accountable for the breaches in the mine’s safety standards, Auerbach took up the task of demanding justice for the victims’ relatives and campaign for the recovery of the bodies, all but two of which remain buried underground.
On the October 20 in Tegucigalpa members of COPINH and other civil society organisations held a peaceful demonstration outside of the Public Prosecutors’ office to demand transparency and justice in the case of the murder of Berta Cáceres. The demonstrators faced violent repression by the police forces present. Police fired water cannon and tear gas at the protesters. Hundreds of people were affected by tear gas fumes as they attempted to flee the scene. Those who found themselves within the reach of the security forces were kicked and beaten with batons.
International day of the world’s indigenous peoples represents an opportunity to reflect on the contribution made by indigenous communities around the globe. While the common narrative surrounding indigenous people often focuses on their vulnerability, PBI's experience working with grassroots community groups at the forefront of the struggle for land and environmental rights in Central and Latin America highlights that they are also important agents of change.