Country Groups

 Country Groups

Country Groups

PBI works to open a space for peace in which conflicts can be dealt with non-violently. PBI teams don’t try to impose solutions from the outside. Instead, they provide moral support and a safer space for local activists.

PBI teams can pursue avenues not open to governments or partisan organizations. Free of the strings attached to the U.N. and other governmental bodies, our independent presence earns more trust from local grassroots activists, helping them to endure despite porno severe repression. PBI does not charge for its services and we do not fund individuals or groups we accompany. While we may provide workshops and nonviolent training, we do not take part in the work of those we accompany.

Our work takes three main forms:

Protective Accompaniment, Peace Education: training in nonviolence, conflict transformation and human rights, and Documenting Conflicts and Peace Initiatives and distributing this information world-wide. Protective Accompaniment PBI has pioneering expertise in accompanying those threatened with political violence. Starting in Guatemala and El Salvador, (look at our history) and since then in Sri Lanka, Colombia, Indonesia and Mexico, our teams have accompanied clergy, union leaders, campesino leaders, human rights activists, and returning exiles (such as Nobel Prize Winner Rigoberta Menchù). We have learned how political violence functions in different contexts and how best to use our international leverage to deter violence.
In most instances death squads and other human rights violators do not want their actions exposed to the outside world. Thus the presence of a PBI volunteer, backed by an emergency response network, deters violence directed against local activists. Where possible PBI initiates contacts with all parties to the conflict to inform them of our presence. To increase this effect, PBI forges links with the diplomatic community locally and with media and human rights networks globally.

Armed only with a camera, PBI volunteers are a walking embodiment of the pressure the international human rights community is ready to apply in the event of abuse. As potential perpetrators know, our exposure of such abuse may adversely affect a regime’s foreign aid allocation.

PBI’s accompaniment can take many forms:
Escorting an individual 24 hours a day;
Being present at an office of a threatened organization;
Accompanying refugees returning to their home communities;
Serving as international observers at elections and demonstrations.
To find out what it’s like doing protective accompaniment, read a report on an accompaniment to an embassy in Bogotá, Colombia and an accompaniment at an exhumation in rural Guatemala.

Peace Education
In some countries, notably Haiti, the PBI team has focused on working alongside local conflict resolution trainers to organise workshops about nonviolent methods of resolving conflicts. Methods used include role-plays, theater pieces and other personal work.
To learn more about these approaches, see a report on a training of trainers and other reports from PBI Haiti.

Documenting Conflicts and Peace Initiatives
All the PBI teams produce reports on their work and the situation in the countries they work in. They focus on the conflicts and possible solutions that open up which can be supported by the international community. PBI teams help to publicize different forms of nonviolence as they develop in various parts of the world. In this way PBI helps to build and enrich the global nonviolent movement. See our reports for examples of what we do.Earthquake/Tsunami 26th Dec: Our response

PBI-Indonesia Project has had a five-year relationship with the province of Aceh, where we had an extensive protective accompaniment and peace education program starting in early 2001. We were forced to leave in July 2003.

After the devastation of the 26 December 2004 earthquakes and tsunami, PBI is responding with a return to Aceh. While the world mounts an unprecedented humanitarian relief operation, the Indonesia Project plans to supplement this global effort with two concrete initiatives:

Re-establishing our protective accompaniment team in Aceh; and Assessing the need for trauma counselling in the affected areas. PBI is concerned that civil society groups may now face an increased level of threat, where disappearances could more easily occur under the guise of ‘missing from the tsunami’. The Indonesian government has not suspended civil emergency status, the media is carrying numerous stories about the ongoing military operation and its effects on the relief efforts, and PBI continues to receive unconfirmed reports of the Indonesian military continuing its offensive against the insurgent Free Aceh Movement (GAM), despite the delicate humanitarian situation and influx of both national and international volunteers into the province.

PBI is concerned that the conflict’s protagonists are taking advantage of the current situation, and this may hamper the distribution of aid and disaster relief. Local groups may be more at risk now than before the catastrophe.

Outreach and Public Relations

Outreach and Public Relations

Outreach and Public Relations

PBI’s General Assembly resolved at its June 1998 session to create the Mexico Project. This decision was made in response to requests for international accompaniment by several Mexican NGOs in the face of the worsening human rights situation in several Mexican states.

As in other countries where PBI has maintained a presence, the work of the PBI team in Mexico is based on a philosophy of non-violence, and a strict adherence to local laws. PBI works independently, both in the political and religious spheres. It does not try to impose solutions from outside, instead supporting Mexican initiatives that promote respect for human free porn rights and the search for the peaceful resolution of conflicts; PBI limits itself to providing moral support and a safer space through the presence of its international accompaniers. PBI Mexico also maintains constant communication with Mexican civilian and military authorities, as well as NGOs, embassies, and international organizations.

PBI receives funding from diverse public and private institutions from different countries, which permits the organization to maintain financial independence from any one funding body.

The PBI team in Mexico is made up of volunteers from many different countries. They have been selected through a training process that includes education about Mexico and about how to carry out PBI’s work of international accompaniment. Support of Mexican initiatives that promote respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.

Support of initiatives for non-violent conflict resolution.
Promotion of the search for peace and social justice.
More specifically, these objectives are:

1. To sensitize different sectors of the Mexican government and society about the concerns and attention with which the international community follows the human rights situation in Mexico, and the actions undertaken to improve the situation.

2. To sensitize the international community about the human rights situation in Mexico, and about Mexican initiatives to improve the situation.

3. To contribute to improving the human rights situation in Mexico and to open spaces of activity to sectors of civil society that work for social justice and solutions to Mexican conflicts. Specifically, this contribution will manifest itself in the area of protection of human rights defenders.

4. To share with Mexican organizations and institutions educational experiences that can be used to achieve the objectives of PBI in Mexico.

5. To examine and analyze the experience of the PBI team, and its Mexican counterparts, to be able to contribute fresh perspectives to the search for reconciliation and coexistence, in Mexico and in other parts of the world.

Main areas of work envisioned for PBI in Mexico:

1. The presence of international accompaniers for the protection of human rights NGOs, displaced peoples’ organizations and others.

2. Contact work and interviews with Mexican civilian and military authorities, and with international organizations, embassies and others, in order to keep them informed of the causes for our concerns in the areas of PBI work.

3. The publication and distribution of information available from public sources.

4. In the future, training in “reparacion psicosocial” (psychosocial rehabilitation), and conflict resolution for members of NGOs or human rights leaders, community leaders and others who can integrate the training in their daily activities.

Peace Brigades International (PBI) depends on outreach and public relations to carry out its work. The safety that we offer to those being accompanied, as well as the security of PBI volunteers themselves, is directly related to the level of international support that we achieve. In order to secure this support, PBI works at many levels, from maintaining excellent relations with diplomatic corps in project countries, to local speaking tours which visit churches, unions, and universities. As PBI expands its work to new regions of the world, it is crucial that public relations and outreach work expand as well. This is an area in which anyone can make important contributions, and in many different ways, including:
Hosting a speaking event with a recently returned volunteer Returned volunteers always have very interesting stories to tell. It is a unique way to learn how techniques of nonviolence are used in practice, both by PBI and by the individuals and organizations being accompanied, under very repressive and violent circumstances.
Since PBI provides accompaniment to many different sectors of society, a speaking engagement can easily be tailored to a particular audience, such as students, churches, unions, women groups, indigenous organizations, lawyers, or solidarity groups. Contact: Your closest PBI country group. Making a PBI presentation It is not necessary to have a returned volunteer do a PBI presentation. You can do it yourself, as part of a school presentation, in your local church, or at home among invited friends. With due notice, PBI will be happy to supply you with the necessary information as well as pamphlets and newsletters to hand out. There are also two excellent videos about the work of PBI, one about Guatemala (in USA: $10 to rent/$25 to buy) and one on the Colombia Project. Showing one of these with an informal discussion afterwards will make a great event. Contact: Your closest PBI country group. Interviewing a PBI volunteer Do you want to write an article about PBI? Recently returned volunteers are available for interviews as part of their speaking tours, and PBI would be happy to let you know next time someone is in your area. No publication is too small (or too large!). Contact: Your closest PBI country group. Distributing PBI reports Please distribute any PBI reports that you find interesting. You may publish them in any publication, either wholly or partially, you may post them to electronic bulletin boards or mailing lists, or you are welcome to include them as a part of your own Web site. We just ask that you state the source as Peace Brigades International.
Assisting with the PBI Web site
The PBI World Wide Web site is a project contributed to by many volunteers. You are most welcome to join our team, and you can contribute by: Formatting some of the PBI reports into HTML code, and uploading them to the site. Translating pages (we particularly need French, Spanish and some German and Italian translations) Finding broken links and suggesting new links.

Support Networks

Support Networks

Support Networks

The members of Peace Brigades International (PBI) form the basis of this mainly volunteer organization. We do most of the actual work and we provide financial stability.Why become a member of PBI?
The most important reason that people join PBI is perhaps because they want to support a nonviolent, grassroots alternative to international peacekeeping. Every new member is another link in the chain of support that helps our volunteers keep space open for peace. You can make a difference. Your support is important to us.

What does membership involve?
A small yearly sum supports our volunteers and brings you up-to-date information on what’s happening on the ground in countries where PBI is working on developing nonviolent solutions to conflicts. PBI-USA members discuss issues before the National Gathering 1998.With more members, PBI can continue its work of preventing human rights violations, and also respond to some of the many requests being received from other areas of the world.

You can be as active as you want. Some members only want to be kept up to date on what is being done. Others volunteer some of their time to help out in ways that fit in with their lives. A few of us find that the work that PBI does is so important that they feel drawn to volunteer on a team.

How do I join?
To join or to get more information, please contact your country group, if one exists. We’re pleased to have you with us.

If your country is not listed, please contact PBI at the International Office address given below. The office maintains a list of contacts in countries where country groups have not yet formed. PBI’s Support Networks are activated when there is a critical human rights violation of the groups or individuals whom PBI is accompanying, or to PBI volunteers themselves. Members of the public, institutional and governmental bodies around the world apply immediate international pressure on the appropriate political or military figures, by sending faxes, emails, telegrams or letters protesting the violation and urging respect for human rights.

Network activations do not happen often, as this form of international pressure is, for PBI, the last resort – we aim to avert violations through our diplomacy work with groups in conflict, and use the Support Networks only when the situation is critical.

There are two parts of the Support Networks: the Emergency Response Network (ERN) of individual activists, and the high-level contact network of in-country embassies, overseas ministries of foreign affairs and parliamentarians.

The ERN is a network of people who agree to send faxes, e-mails, or letters when a human rights alert reaches them. Alerts are a last resort in our deterrence, and they are not issued often.

To join the ERN and receive immediate e-mail notification when there is a human rights alert, choose your location from the drop-down list:

Go!
Be aware that in the last 3 years, PBI has relied increasingly on the high-level contacts more than the ERN’s grassroots public support. This is because our analysis of the results of the two forms of pressure shows that the influence that high-level contacts can have on aggressors is significantly greater than that of the grassroots public.

Consequently, PBI is not activating the ERN as much as it did 3 years ago. PBI is analyzing how it can make more strategic use of the ERN (for example, through asking members to write to their own parliamentary representative and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get them to lobby our target countries). As these new strategies are better defined, activations of the ERN may well increase. The ERN remains an essential part of PBI’s strategy for supporting human rights defenders and the communities they support.