Peace Brigades International (PBI) UK Section

Protection and empowerment of women risking their lives to defend human rights

Women are often the main targets of violence in countries affected by long standing conflict and repression, even after conflicts have 'ended'. Women play a vital role in their communities by challenging past human rights violations, advocating for victims of human rights abuses, and challenging discrimination and marginalisation of vulnerable groups. However, they face numerous obstacles to carrying out this vital work including harassment, intimidation, forced disappearance, and the use of threats against their children and families. Therefore, a protective international presence is needed to ensure that they can continue to seek justice for human rights abuses without fear of reprisals.

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It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1101016)

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    Categories

  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy
  • Poverty Alleviation/ReliefPoverty Alleviation/Relief

    Helping

  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls

Location

Situation

For over 27 years, PBI has provided support and empowerment for human rights defenders (HRDs) and their organisations which work at the grassroots level to uphold the fundamental rights of individuals in their communities. PBI has pioneered an approach to human rights protection that is called 'unarmed international protective accompaniment' which combines a visible physical presence alongside threatened activists, with an intensive international high profile relationship-building with key actors such as the UN, EU and the Diplomatic Corps. PBI has protected thousands of human rights defenders, despite the very serious threat of harm, and those we accompany are constantly saying they owe their lives to us. This project is needed to protect the lives and workspace of women HRDs under threat working for 15 human rights organisations in Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico and Nepal. Our programme of International Protective Accompaniment for these women will be provided by approximately 75 highly-skilled international volunteers from around the world, supported by a small number of core staff. PBI will also engage in advocacy and awareness raising on behalf of these women in order to increase their profile and visibility in the international community, which heightens their protection. This project would also ensure that PBI could provide security training workshops to women HRDs enabling them to explore and develop their own risk analysis tools and protection mechanisms in order to help them to minimize risks and to increase their space of operation and independence. Project Aims: The project will increase the safety and confidence of women HRDs by providing an international presence and protecting the space in which they work so they can continue campaigning and denouncing those responsible for human rights violations without fear of intimidation for themselves and their families. It will also expand the scope and capacity of women HRDs to carry out their vital work by ensuring the level of threats and intimidation toward them is reduced. The project would strengthen women HRDs’ capacity to communicate with and influence decision makers by making their work more visible, recognised and respected within civil society and public discourse Examples of beneficiaries of the project: -Soraya Guttiérez, President of the Jose Alvear Astrepo Lawyers Collective (CAJAR), Colombia Soraya is president of CAJAR, which brings many high profile cases against agents of the Colombian State. Her caseload involves massacres, extra-judicial killings, torture, forced disappearances, and displacement and she receives threats and harassment for her work on a daily basis. Soraya received the American Bar Association International Human Rights Lawyer Award in 2006 in recognition of her fight against impunity in Colombia. -Suciwati Munir, Indonesia Suciwati is the widow of Munir Said Thalib, one of the country’s former leading human rights campaigners and has been engaged in a relentless pursuit of justice since her husband’s murder on September 7, 2004. Despite receiving anonymous threats, Suciwati, along with KASUM (Komite Aksi Solidaritas Untuk Munir, Action Committee in Solidarity for Munir) has continued her struggle to find justice for her husband’s murder. Budget Breakdown (2 year budget): --On the ground protective accompaniment and observation of women human rights defenders (in Colombia, Mexico, Nepal, Indonesia, Guatemala): £60,000 --International Advocacy and Awareness Raising: £36,000 --Capacity Building to Improve the Protection of Women HRDs: £4,000

Solution