“Making space for peace” : human rights defenders and international accompaniment - case study: the work of Peace Brigades International in Colombia
ForfatterTrolie, Ronja Normann Annexstad
Human rights have long secured their place on the international agenda and most actors, states, non-governmental organisations or even multinational companies can no longer afford to ignore the demands put forward by international human rights mechanisms. In spite of the efforts to promote and implement human rights on a global scale, defending human rights on a local scale has remained at a high risk level in many countries. Colombia is considered to be one of the most dangerous countries in the world for human rights defenders (HRDs) and they are constantly subject to threats of political violence because of the nature of the work that they do. Peace Brigades International is an international nongovernmental organisation that offers international accompaniment to HRDs. International accompaniment serves two main purposes; to protect the working space of the HRDs so that they are able to carry out their work of defending human rights - and more importantly - to protect the lives of the HRDs. To date, PBI has been successful in protecting the lives of all HRDs the organisation has accompanied. This research aims to identify the mechanisms by which PBI protects the lives of the PBI field volunteers and the HRDs accompanied by them, and how these mechanisms work. The result show that the reason behind the organisation’s effective protection is a range of mechanisms which include the physical accompaniment itself, the national support network, the international support network, deterrence, face to face contact with the armed actors and PBI risk analysis. Additionally, even though the state is responsible for some of the human rights violations, it still offers some kind of protection to PBI. This is due to the naming and shaming mechanism used by PBI to pressure the state into adhering to their human rights obligations, something which seems to be linked to the state’s dependency on maintaining a human rights façade to obtain important trade advantages and receive military aid from the US.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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