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Impact Report 2018-19


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Peace Brigades International UK is pleased to launch our 2018-19 Impact Report.

Human rights are not a given. They are fought for every day, by people putting themselves in situations of extreme risk for the greater good. Tragically, the past two years have seen dramatic increases in attacks, criminalisation and murder of these human rights defenders. The death toll is rapidly approaching 4,000 since the UN Declaration on defenders in 1998, and shows little indication of slowing down.

In this context, human rights defenders need the support of the international community more than ever. Over the past two years, PBI UK has been working closely with defenders to enhance their legal and political networks and raise their profile on the global stage. This has included securing and promoting their nomination for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, organising more than a dozen speaker tours, and comprehensively advocating on their behalf in parliament.

We are pleased to share news of these and other initiatives, as well as updates from human rights defenders and volunteers in the field, in our 2018-19 Impact Report, which you can access here.

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Impact Report 2018-19

  1. 1. making space for peace Peace Brigades International UK Impact Report 2018-19 ” “We are fighting for what is ours
  2. 2. Enhancing our capacity Portraits of Resilience, Hope and Solidarity 22 18 Financial Summary Pro bono partner: Simmons & Simmons 23 19 Defending the Environment is a Risky Business 14-15 Protecting Defenders of Press Freedom in Honduras 10-11 Guatemala Reflections by Emily Spence, field volunteer 08-09 Pro bono partner: The Alliance for Lawyers at Risk 20-21 Who we are Thank you 03 Championing the Nobel Peace Prize nomination World Press Freedom Day Event 06 12 2018-19 at a glance 05 Get involved! 24 What does PBI do? 04 Shoulder to shoulder with human right defenders Support for the Central Campesina Ch’orti’ Nuevo Día’ 07 13 Advocating and advising parliamentarians to support human rights defenders at risk 16-17 Cover photo and caption: Lilian Borjas Human Rights Defender, CNTC, Honduras Contents
  3. 3. The members of The Alliance for Lawyers at Risk and Simmons & Simmons for their invaluable time and pro bono expertise: Our patrons for their continued support: And finally, to Anabel Butler and Anna Mulcahy for their hard work, and to our dedicated team of twenty office volunteers who have provided essential support for each department over the past two years. 03 Staff Susi Bascon – Director Daniel Lakey – Finance Officer (until September 2019) Chris Poole – Finance Officer Adam Lunn – Advocacy Officer Laura Grace – Fundraising Officer Theo Fox – Admin and Communications Officer Trustees Jason Hurwitz (until 2018) Sophia Kerridge Deborah Nathan YukieYokoyama (Treasurer) Jacob Owen Tara Jane O’Reilly Amy Dwyer Neigenfind Emily Clarke Field volunteers Colombia Hannah Matthews Morna Dick Guatemala Antonia Pérez Bravo Anabel Butler Emily Spence Mexico Camila Marín Restrepo Kenya Hannah Stoate Who we are PBI UK would like to thank PBI UK Staff Sir Patrick Elias PC QC – President Guy Beringer CBE QC –Vice President Sir Peter Roth – Chair Courtenay Barklem – Gardens Court Chambers Dr Silvia Borelli – Bedfordshire University Kirsty Brimelow QC – Doughty Street Chambers Victoria Channing – Simmons & Simmons Prof. Christine Chinkin CMG FBA – LSE Mark Cunningham QC – Maitland Chambers Monica FeriaTinta – 20 Essex Street Chambers Tony Fisher –The Law Society of England and Wales Stephen Grosz QC (Hon) – Bindmans Chambers Richard Hermer QC – Matrix Chambers James McClelland – Fountain Court Chambers Geoff Nicholas – Freshfields Kelwin Nicholls – Clifford Chance Chris Owen – Simmons & Simmons Ben Silverstone – Matrix Chambers LauraTempleman – Simmons & Simmons Sir Nicolas Bratza Sir Henry Brooke CMG (1936–2018) Lord Carnwath CVO Julie Christie John Dew Sir Patrick Elias PC QC Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC Lord Joel Joffe (1932-2017) Sir Jeffrey Jowell KCMG QC Baroness Helena Kennedy QC Prof. Jenny Pearce Sir Nigel Rodley KBE (1941-2017) Sir Peter Roth Lord Scott of Foscote Juliet Stevenson Samuel West
  4. 4. PBI is a leading NGO working to protect human rights defenders at risk in some of the most dangerous countries in the world. We provide life-saving support to community leaders. Each day human rights defenders speak out for the rights of others. Each day they risk their livelihoods, their liberty and, in many cases, their lives.Attacks, abductions, and assassinations are on the increase; 2018 was the deadliest year on record and 2019 is set to match it. PBI defends the defenders. On the ground, we provide direct protection and support, to keep defenders alive and help their work thrive. Our international observers accompany at-risk defenders, standing shoulder to shoulder with them in a display of solidarity that deters violent attacks. Uniquely, we also provide longer-term preventative support aimed at building the resilience of human rights defenders - from security monitoring and psychological assistance to diplomatic actions and self-protection training. We also provide protection through our advocacy work at all levels - from the soldier at a local checkpoint to the leaders of the UN. Our activities help create the right security, policy and political environments for defenders to carry out their work without fear of intimidation. At a global level, we build expert and political networks that can be mobilised at short notice to provide much-needed support.As a preventative approach, we provide defenders with a platform to amplify their voices, ensuring that their calls for rights and freedoms are heard by those who can make a difference. Our crucial political support building contributes to protecting and raising the visibility, credibility and legitimacy of human rights defenders at local, national and international level. We are also involved in outreach, fundraising and recruiting and training of volunteers. What does PBI do? 04 PBI with the Association of Defenders of Common Goods in Quimistán, Honduras
  5. 5. 05 2018-19 at a glance Human rights defenders provided with protection, advocacy, and capacity building training in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and Nepal. 600+ MPs’ signatures on an early day motion on the implementation of the Peace Accord between the Colombian Government and the FARC. 86 Video interviews of human rights defenders collected for our new online platform and multimedia campaign supporting the right to defend. 100+ Signatories of a petition to nominate the global community of human rights defenders for the Nobel Peace Prize 4000+ Profile-raising speaker tours for human rights defenders 13 Field projects supported financially in seven different countries through strategic advocacy, network and capacity building, volunteer recruitment and funding 7
  6. 6. 06 The campaign was very successful in raising the visibility of human rights defenders and mobilizing a groundswell of public and political support globally in favour of their work and situation. Two open letters to the Nobel committee in support of human rights defenders for the prize. High-profile supporters including the Bar Human Rights Committee, the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk, the Law Society, the APPG on Human Rights and the Faculty of Advocates. Over 4,000 signatures of our online petition. Significant media coverage in the Independent (pictured) and theThompson Reuters Foundation, which helped to promote the legitimacy, credibility and visibility of the work of defenders. An impactful Early Day Motion in parliament to champion defenders for the Nobel Peace Prize. This helped to raise awareness of the campaign and human rights defenders among the UK political community. Two high profile follow-up events at Parliament and the Supreme Court, which exposed the issues human rights defenders face every day and galvanized political support to keep them alive. Throughout 2018, we ran a global campaign championing defenders for the Nobel Prize, and successfully raised awareness about the issues they face, and the important role they play in upholding the rule of law and building peaceful societies. At the request of PBI, UK parliamentarians and the French government nominated the global community of human rights defenders for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. Championing the Nobel Peace Prize nomination to celebrate human rights defenders Kenyan activist Naomi Barasa receives the 2018 Sir Henry Brooke Award for Human Rights Defenders
  7. 7. 07 The campaign also encompassed two high-profile debates in parliament and an event at the Supreme Court of Justice to engage high-profile decision makers in the UK government in protection actions for human rights defenders. The latter was attended by over a hundred high profile figures from the political, legal, and celebrity community. The event celebrated the contribution of human rights defenders to upholding the rule of law and building peaceful and democratic societies. It served as an opportunity to engage influential decision-makers with PBI and the work of defenders, which was key to realising the aim of the campaign; to build recognition and legitimacy for defenders among key audiences. At the event, we also granted two awards in memory of our beloved patron Sir Henry Brooke to two prominent human rights defenders from Colombia and Kenya. To round off the campaign, we provided calls to action from at-risk defenders that included fundraising asks in December.This was aided by a social media campaign, #ShouldertoShoulder, which we executed using a new online design platform (pictured). Building on the momentum of the nomination, PBI UK launched the campaign ‘Shoulder to Shoulder with Human Rights Defenders’, to mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.The campaign aimed to raise awareness of the issues facing human rights defenders and increase the visibility and credibility of their work.We focused on a number of specific groups of human rights defenders at a time, including land and environmental defenders and those fighting for the rule of law, to procure grants and donations from interested parties. PBI UK launched the campaign on the 9th October 2018 at an event in Parliament chaired by Dominic Grieve MP and attended by the head of the Human Rights Policy Unit Paul Edwards, and PBI UK patron and former British Ambassador John Dew. This event officially launched the campaign and helped secure commitments from policy- makers to improve protections for defenders. For example in December 2018, Minister for Human Rights Lord Ahmad committed to publish a set of guideless to protect Human Rights Defenders.The guidelines have been distributed to UK ambassadors around the world and have informed human rights defenders of ways in which UK diplomats can offer support. Shoulder to Shoulder with human rights defenders
  8. 8. 08 Reflections by Emily Spence, field volunteer Guatemala Field volunteer Emily Spence with Guatemalan indigenous human rights defenders
  9. 9. My first week in the project; the team were managing emergency after emergency. Bullets had been fired at the car of a well-known indigenous rights activist in the middle of the night. In a separate part of the country, crowds of workers from a hydroelectric company surrounded a house where the leaders of those opposing the mega-project were gathered, throwing stones and threatening to kill certain individuals if they came out. The team in Guatemala City had been immediately informed and were activating the emergency support network, calling the police to make sure they arrived on the scene, and staying on the phone to the threatened individuals until they were safe. We later accompanied them to file a complaint at the public prosecutor’s office - our presence sadly increasing the likelihood of them being seen and listened to. I would come to understand that cases like this were rarely investigated, and the probability of perpetrators being brought to justice slim to none. I was lucky enough to meet, accompany, and be inspired by many incredible people this year. The names I was bombarded with in my first few weeks and the unknown voices on the other end of the telephone were soon familiar faces; people who might drop in at any time of the day for a cup of coffee and a chat. But what I never got used to was the reality they were working in. In fact, the more I knew about them, their struggles and what they were up against, the more incredulous I became. When I think of resistance, I think of the human rights lawyers trying to put military generals responsible for war crimes behind bars and ensure that the innocent go free, but without a robust and independent justice system to back them up. I think of the Mayan women leading the struggle for indigenous land rights in Alta Verapaz, the department with the most unequal land distribution, up against a racist, patriarchal elite. Lesbia and Imelda, the two women who lead Comité Campesino del Altiplano (CCDA) in Las Verapaces are targets of constant threats, intimidation, and smear campaigns, questioning their capacity as leaders and shaming them because they are women. I think of the Chorti communities in the east setting up a peaceful resistance camp outside an antimony mine to block access to workers and force the mine to close, literally dodging bullets but steadfastly refusing to move until they had won their battle. I think of the people for whom activism isn’t a lifestyle choice, something you opt in and out of depending on interest and competing priorities. For them, it’s part and parcel of the injustice they live day to day, as resistance is the only way to defend basic rights. Corruption is at the heart of poverty, injustice and human rights violations in Guatemala. The year I was there, the fight against corruption faced severe setbacks as the government sought to consolidate power before the elections of June 2019. Years of hard won civil society achievements were being overturned, threatened by legislation being pushed through Congress granting amnesties for war crimes. Twice we thought we were in the midst of a coup and set about making emergency plans. Up against all these political and structural problems, it’s hard not to question the value of the work we do. But just as you’re losing sight of this, you hear someone we accompany say that since PBI’s been coming to their community, the level of conflict has reduced and they don’t experience the threats that they used to, or that because of PBI they know they’re not alone and feel motivated to keep fighting. When you see things deteriorating, it’s easy to assume that the defence of human rights is having no impact. But what we don’t see is what the country would look like if human rights defenders weren’t able to do that work. How many more mines and hydroelectric projects would have been installed without consulting communities if companies weren’t put off by the fuss made and the lengthy and expensive court-proceedings they become embroiled in? One of the main lessons I’ll take away from my year in Guatemala is that success doesn’t always have to be visible, and in an environment where the space for dissent is closing in, the very act of resistance is success. 09 Emily Spence - Reflections from the field - May 2018 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Emily Spence - Reflections from the field - May 2018 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  10. 10. Protecting Defenders of Press Freedom in Honduras 10 In response, PBI UK has taken a number of advocacy actions, which have raised awareness about the challenges and abuses Honduran journalists and activists face in the defence of human rights. Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP tabled a question in Parliament to “ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of recent events in Honduras, and the use of force against protesters by Honduran security forces”. Further, we held a meeting with the FCO desk officer for Honduras, to express concern over the excessive use of force by authorities against demonstrators. Dina Speaker Tour In light of the challenges faced by those seeking to hold the Honduran state and military to account, PBI UK facilitated a speaker tour for renowned Honduran journalist, Dina Meza. Dina has been working to expose human rights violations and defend freedom of expression in Honduras for almost twenty years. PBI has been providing lifesaving protective accompaniment to Meza in Honduras since 2014. Because of PBI’s advocacy efforts, Dina was invited by Minister of State Lord Ahmad to speak as part of the panel at a Human Rights Day event organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.This event marked the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders.These actions raised the profile of both Dina, and the Honduran context more broadly. During the associated tour, Dina consulted with key stakeholders from the Foreign Office, members of the legal community, and multiple journalists to raise awareness of the human rights issues in Honduras and emphasise the importance of international support.The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also met with her as part of a human rights defender consultation for the new FCO guidance to posts. These actions not only raise the profile of human rights defenders like Dina, they also serve a protective function for her and her peers. Speaker tours strengthen the physical safety of activists Honduras is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for human rights defenders and journalists, who have faced increasing risk since the political crisis of 2017. Journalists and lawyers have raised concerns about the new criminal code, which threatens freedom of expression and the press. Dina Meza speaking at 2018 Foreign & Commonwealth Office Human Rights Day event.
  11. 11. Dina Meza Honduran Journalist I congratulate PBI for organising this event and would like to thank them for their protection and accompaniment during my human rights work. Without their protection I believe my name would be on a forgotten tomb. “ 11 ”
  12. 12. World Press Freedom Day Event To celebrate World Press Freedom Day 2019, PBI Honduras and the British Embassy organised an event in Tegucigalpa to raise awareness of the difficulties facing journalists in Honduras. PBI UK produced a 10-minute film based on testimonies from at-risk journalists, which was screened to raise awareness of issues relating to press freedom in Honduras. This film was later shown at the FCO Media Freedom Conference. After the screening, discussions were held to increase support for journalists at risk in the country. Our efforts amplified our voice within the field of media freedom advocacy. In response to our communications with the minister, an invitation was extended to the PBI UK Director to attend a roundtable with Ambassadors and High Commissioners who were in London. In July 2019, PBI UK’s Director was also invited to the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London, where Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Amal Clooney announced the UK government’s commitments, established a new Global Media Defence Fund and an international task force to deliver their commitments on media freedom. At the conference, footage from the interviews conducted by the Director were shown to an audience of over 1,000 influential stakeholders. PBI UK’s Director took the opportunity to raise issues about the lack of investigations into attacks against human rights defenders and spoke to Amal Clooney about the need for PBI to engage in conversations with the High Legal Panel she is currently leading in support of journalists at risk. 12 Dina Meza, Honduran Journalist, Celebrating World Press Freedom Day. It is safer to be a war journalist than a journalist writing about social issues in Honduras, where around every corner we sense danger waiting for us. “ ”
  13. 13. 13 Due to his work challenging large infrastructure and hydroelectric projects, CCCND member DomingoVasquez was subject to multiple death threats in 2018, and reported sightings of armed men following him home. The level of danger was critical, so PBI organised a speaker and advocacy tour for Domingo in October 2018, which took him and other defenders around Europe. In the UK, Domingo met with a range of influential actors to highlight the association’s struggles to register their land and fight against hydro-projects. Domingo took part in a Roundtable on criminalisation in Guatemala, a parliamentary panel event to mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration, and the launch of PBI UK’s ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ campaign at Portcullis House in Westminster. The trip helped to raise awareness of the risks faced by human rights defenders in Guatemala among key international actors and helped to expand Domingo’s support and funding networks. Subsequently when Domingo received death threats in May 2019, PBI was able to call on the support network he had created during his visit. Letters of concern from the UK legal community and a parliamentary question from Kerry McCarthy MP after an urgent request from PBI have led to increased awareness for Domingo and a reduction in threat level.The FCO stated that they were concerned about the reports of frequent intimidation and violence against human rights defenders in Guatemala and that the Embassy is engaging with PBI to promote consultations with indigenous populations and better protection for defenders. Central Campesina Ch’orti’ Nuevo Día’ Emergency support for the Members of the CCCND Central Campesina Ch’orti’ Nuevo Día (CCCND) work in north-eastern Guatemala, providing support and legal representation to local communities campaigning on issues related to land, environmental, and cultural rights. Because of their work, CCCND members are subject to death threats, harassment and criminalisation.
  14. 14. 14 Defending the Environment is a Risky Business Combatting the increasing repression of land and environmental rights defenders has been a priority for PBI UK since 2015.With the help of a grant from the Open Society Foundations in August 2018, we have made significant progress towards strengthening the physical and political protection mechanisms for environmental defenders in Latin America. A significant part of this is our facilitation of high quality protections and trainings for land and environmental rights defenders in partnership with the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk and the law firm Simmons & Simmons. Speaker tours We have found that the most effective way to raise awareness and strengthen international support networks is by organising speaker and advocacy tours across the UK for Latin American land and environmental defenders, which we have focused on over the past two years. During 2018 -2019, we have organised 13 speaker tours, many of which gave a voice to land and environmental defenders in particular. For example, In February 2018, PBI UK organised a Speaker Tour for members of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó in Colombia to meet with UK policy-makers at the Foreign Office. During the speaker tour, representatives from the Peace Community met with All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Rights , multiple NGOs and journalists to raise their concerns regarding economic development projects and human rights violations in their communities.The tour allowed the Peace Community’s representatives to discuss their concerns directly with influential actors and to build an international support network, which can be galvanised to secure greater protection measures for the Peace Community in situations of heightened risk. Defenders working in land and environmental rights were murdered at a rate of four per week in 2018 – the worst year on record - with thousands more facing persecution, threats, and violence. Those most at-risk were those linked to mining, agribusiness, and the renewable energy sector. Padre Alberto Franco Director of CIJP, an organisation protecting Afro- Colombian and indigenous communities in Colombia The role of PBI has been crucial... National and International field accompaniment is fundamental.Why? What has been demonstrated is that international presence becomes a deterrent to attacks and this has meant saving lives. “ ”
  15. 15. The UN Human Rights Council 15 UN in Geneva: PBI UK advocacy PBI UK engaged with the UK government and requested that they raise the issue of human rights defenders at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council in 2019. PBI UK attended a pre-meeting with the Foreign Office where we presented our recommendations, asking the UK to pay specific attention to UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders Michel Forst’s reports on the situation of women human rights defenders and on Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala. PBI UK also asked the UK to mention the situation of land and environmental rights defenders, who face serious threats and attacks for the work they carry out. The UK Mission to the UN responded to PBI’s request and took up our recommendations, makinginterventions on each of the areas we emphasised. PBI organised a parallel session to the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in collaboration with various members of the international community, including the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, the Business & Human Rights Centre and Global Witness. The session explored the need for enhancing protection of human rights defenders who speak up against business-related human rights impacts. It was led by the UN Working Group in collaboration with NGOs and was comprised of a showcase of best practice from corporations, an examination of the growing trend of criminalization and legal harassment of defenders, and a discussion of concrete action to be taken by governments, businesses and others to address these issues.
  16. 16. 16 Luis Guillermo Perez, Glyn Davies MP and Nicole Piche, Coordinator of the APPG on Human Rights Advocating and advising parliamentarians to support human rights defenders at risk
  17. 17. Mobilising Parliamentarians We have mobilised MPs on thematic issues at times of peril for at-risk groups of activists such a land and environmental or women human rights defenders. Over the past two years, we have emphasised the necessity of the UK government’s support of the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. PBI UK provided briefings to MPs for debates on Women Human Rights Defenders and the situation in Colombia. Following a request from PBI UK,Ann Clwyd MP tabled three questions on the protection of women human rights defenders to celebrate International Women’s Day 2019.These questions have ensured that their struggle remains on the UK’s agenda. Despite the Peace Accords, attacks continue in Colombia We have also engaged in long term advocacy campaigns on behalf of human rights defenders in specific countries, such as Colombia. Since the signing of the peace accords, there has been a worrying rise in attacks against human rights defenders in the country, with neo-paramilitary groups and other illegal armed actors gaining strength and moving into areas vacated by the FARC. Human rights defenders, journalists, indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders, and other community activists have faced death threats and violence. In response to the worsening human rights context, PBI UK organised a speaker tour in April 2018 for the Colombian lawyer and human rights defender Luis Guillermo Perez, who works for the lawyers collective CAJAR to tackle impunity and secure justice for victims of the Colombian conflict. During the speaker tour, PBI UK facilitated a meeting between Luis Guillermo and Jeremy Corbyn MP. Luis Guillermo raised the systematic assassinations of human rights defenders in Colombia with Jeremy Corbyn and the evidence gathered by CAJAR that was later submitted to the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the killings. Jeremy Corbyn expressed his support for the work of the lawyers collective CAJAR, and for the Colombian peace process. Following the speaker tour,TheTimes newspaper published an article about Luis Guillermo and CAJAR, mentioning the work of PBI. In March 2019, Patrick Grady MP tabled an early day motion on the implementation of the Peace Accord between the Colombian Government and the FARC.This early day motion has received 86 signatures from across the political spectrum. In 2019, PBI UK submitted evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry into Human Rights Defenders and also “Global Britain and South America”.The evidence had a specific section on the risks facing land rights defenders in Colombia and the root causes of the violence they face. PBI UK contributes to FCO policy paper: UK Support for Human Rights Defenders In 2018 and 2019, PBI provided regular updates on the situation of human rights defenders to the FCO geographical desks of Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, alongside focused agenda setting campaigns at critical moments. PBI UK met with the new desk officer for Guatemala and Honduras in February 2019, in response to concerns about the human rights situation in those countries. In Guatemala, 26 human rights defenders were murdered in 2018, following the undermining of legal institutions and protections across the year. Similarly, Honduras has seen a sharp rise in targeted attacks against human rights defenders and journalists since the election in late 2017, the majority committed by state security. In July 2019, the UK Government released a policy paper outlining the importance of human rights defenders to the UK and how they would support them.The policy was developed in close consultation with a number of non-governmental organisations including PBI UK. The document has been made available online in all six UN languages, and sent to all posts in the UK diplomatic network for use in their work with human rights defenders.The document has also been circulated on external websites such as Human Rights Watch, Global Witness, and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. Following the publication of this paper, the FCO and DFID have pledged to continue to reach out to human rights networks, NGOs and human rights defenders. 17 Excerpt from PBI UK’s submission to the Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry into Human Rights Defenders, which was published in November 2019 The FCO’s work on HRDs could be further enhanced through developing an integrated cross-departmental strategy on Human Rights Defenders. “ ”
  18. 18. Sample social media content produced for the campaign 18 PBI UK are working closely with the filmmaker and photographer ManuValcarce on ‘Portraits of Resilience, Hope and Solidarity’, a multi-media, multi-platform communications and awareness campaign, celebrating the right to defend.Whether they are fighting for social equality, access to justice and a fair trial, or land, environmental and indigenous rights, the risk they take are many.We believe their stories set an example of solidarity and humanity that needs to be heard. We will produce a 60-minute documentary film, online platform, photographic exhibition, and social media campaign presenting the work of around 100 at-risk grassroots human rights defenders in Latin America,Africa and Asia. Through these resources, we will publicly celebrate the resilience and motivation of grassroots human rights defenders on the frontline of the global fight for universal human rights. So far, approximately100 stories of human rights defenders have been recorded across four countries (Colombia, Honduras, Mexico and Nepal) alongside photographic material. We aim to show the documentary at a range of film festivals next year.The photographic portraits will be debuted at an exhibition held atThe Law Society in London, before touring city firms throughout 2020.The online multimedia platform will enable PBI to further its impact as a global entity across 21 countries for campaigning, advocacy and awareness-raising to enhance the protection of human rights defenders. Photos by ManuValcarce Portraits of Resilience, Hope and Solidarity Right to Defend: Over 100 testimonies, video interviews, and an online platform supporting the right to defend.
  19. 19. 19 Pro bono partner: Simmons & Simmons SImmons & Simmons hosted a Roundtable on the business and human rights toolbox, which featured discussion covering the role of business in relation to human rights, and the specifics of the toolbox, including how it could be adapted to different contexts and implemented on the ground.The Roundtable was attended by NGOs, lawyers, FCO officials and academics. We also produced videos based on the factsheets, featuring lawyers from Simmons & Simmons. By increasing the knowledge of defenders and vulnerable communities, the toolbox has already contributed to building a strong civil society that protects human rights in the face of competing corporate interests. The toolbox is currently being piloted in Colombia and Honduras and will be incorporated into the training programmes of defenders working on business and human rights within a range of local networks.Accessible training manuals based on the factsheets are being produced for peasant and indigenous communities facing corporate abuse, so they can benefit from the expertise and content of the toolbox. We are deeply grateful for the support of Simmons & Simmons on the development of the toolbox and hope to continue working together for years to come. Together, we produced the first centralised online resource for rural communities and lawyers dealing with corporate human rights violations: the ‘Human Rights Defenders Toolbox’, which has been shortlisted for the 2019 Law Society Excellence in Pro Bono Award. The toolbox comprises 16 fact sheets on a range of legal topics, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, with specific recommendations for human rights defenders denouncing corporate abuse. It covered a variety of pertinent themes, including free, prior, and informed consent. PBI Director Susi Bascon and Simmons & Simmons lawyer Victoria Channing designed the project and worked closely with the rest of the pro bono team to ensure the toolbox was tailored to the needs of human rights defenders. Over the past year, PBI has consulted with Colombian lawyers and defenders to gather feedback on the factsheets and adapt them accordingly. Since the launch of this toolbox, Simmons & Simmons has provided continued legal expertise, funding, as well as support and solidarity for human rights defenders they have met during PBI SpeakerTours in the UK. Over the past three years, we have strengthened our partnership with the law firm Simmons & Simmons. Their compassion towards the needs of human rights defenders pays testament to their commitment to pro bono work and proves that they are indeed ‘MORE THAN JUST LAWYERS’. Simmons & Simmons lawyers Richard Dyton (pro bono partner) and Victoria Channing (head of pro bono)
  20. 20. 20 Pro bono partner: The Alliance for Lawyers at Risk Timeline 2018-19 January 2018 Called on the Kenyan government to implement legislation that would enable human rights organisations to function without fear of harassment. March 2018 Wrote to the Mexican Ambassador in the UK on the case of criminalised human rights lawyers and human rights defenders in Mexico. On January 7th 2018, in the context of a community resistance to a hydroelectric project - eleven people lost their lives and 38 local leaders and human rights defenders were detained.The victims have been given legal support by the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre, whose lawyers were under threat.The local lawyers stated that the Alliance intervention was crucial in improving their protection. On the 8th of June 2019 the remaining 16 human rights defenders were finally released from jail. August 2018 Wrote to the newly inaugurated Colombian President Ivan Duque welcoming him to his appointment and urging him to uphold the rule of law and protect lawyers at risk. October 2018 Met with Nepali lawyer Badri Bhusal, chairman of the COCAP Network which represents victims of gender based violence and defends the rule of law in Nepal. During his visit Badri spoke at a parliamentary event chaired by Dominic Grieve MP ‘Celebrating the Contribution of Human Rights Defenders to the Rule of Law’.At the Alliance’s request, the British Embassy in Kathmandu invited him to a meeting (see below), and the UK continued to offer him support. December 2018 The Alliance supported an international observation mission of the trial of the “12 Apostles” in Colombia, to apply public scrutiny and moral pressure in support of a fair trial and /the granting of appropriate procedural protections. Alliance member Kirsty Brimelow conducted the observation on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee andThe Alliance. February 2019 The Alliance wrote to the newly appointed president of Mexico Lopez Obrador congratulating him on his taking office and drawing his attention to the serious international concern regarding the protection of human rights defenders within Mexico. April 2019 The Alliance wrote to the Ambassador for Guatemala in the United Kingdom AciscloValladares Molina expressing concern about the trend towards the criminalisation of Human Rights Defenders in the country. The Alliance for Lawyers at Risk is an independent UK-based pro-bono network that provides moral and legal support to lawyers and human rights defenders working in precarious circumstances. Pro bono work is vitally important to the struggle for human rights across the world, and significantly increases the safety of those fighting for it. The Alliance was founded in 2010 by PBI UK patron, the late Sir Henry Brooke CMG, and has since collaborated with PBI in providing legal expertise to the human rights defenders PBI accompanies. It is currently under the leadership of Sir Patrick Elias, a former high court justice. As a patron and President of the Alliance, Sir Patrick has been instrumental in voicing concern on behalf of lawyers and other human rights defenders at risk and reminding governments around the world the importance of upholding the rule of law.
  21. 21. We are aware that Mexico is facing many difficult circumstances and therefore write to you to respectfully request that the new government take steps to uphold and strengthen the rule of law and protect legal practitioners and human rights defenders. Letter to the president of Mexico from the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk “ ” 21 Best practice: forcibly disappeared indigenous human rights defender returned safely after international pressure. Over the past two years, we have mobilised our political support network to announce calls to action at times of heightened risks for individual human rights defenders, like Obtilia Eugenio Manuel. Obtilia is a land and environmental rights defender and member of the Organization of Me’Phaa Indigenous Peoples in the municipality of Ayutla de los Libres, Mexico. Following serious threats, on February 12th 2019, Obtilia and her companion were disappeared. PBI issued an urgent alert, calling on the Mexican authorities to find them, guarantee the safety of the Organisation members, and investigate the disappearance. Following our request, the Alliance sent a letter of concern to minister Sir Alan Duncan noting their concerns around the disappearance. Letters were also sent to the Mexican Embassy and high profile NGOs and legal groups. Due to pressure from the international community, on February 16th Obtilia and Hilario were released alive. This is the first time on record that a disappeared defender has been returned alive in the state of Guerrero.
  22. 22. Our work is only possible because of the generous individuals and organisations who support us. We are very grateful to the grant-giving charitable trusts who fund our human rights work, including the BromleyTrust, the Harbour Foundation, the Joffe CharitableTrust, the Network for Social Change and theTinsley Foundation.We also want to extend our thanks to those funders supporting at-risk land and environmental rights defenders: the Evan Cornish Foundation, the Frederick Mulder Foundation, the Law Society Charity and the Open Society Foundations. Thank you to the Simmons & Simmons Charitable Foundation for supporting our capacity building work with rule of law defenders, and to the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Foundation for enabling us to raise the profile of defenders through our multi-media project ‘Right to Defend: Portraits of Resilience, Hope and Solidarity’. We are grateful to the committed individuals who support us: all of those who donated to our ‘Shoulder to Shoulder with Human Rights Defenders’ appeal, our dedicated runners, and particularly to our regular donors. Long-term donations mean we are better equipped to react to emergencies and plan ahead to increase the safety of human rights defenders at-risk. FundraisingAppeal s £13,103.5 Individuals £15,559.15 T rusts & Foundations £197,691 % 6 7 87 Funds Raised in 2018 to increase the safety of human rights defenders Enhancing our capacity 22
  23. 23. Summary statement of financial activities for the year ended 31 December 2018 2018 2017 Income £ £ Donations and Legacies 214,370 266,443 Other Trading Activities 11,930 1,568 Bank Interest 54 - Training Fees - 660 Total Income 226,354 268,671 Expenditure £ £ Raising Funds 52,152 63,368 Charitable Activities 193,480 187,004 Total Funds 245,632 250,372 Net Income / (Expenditure) (19,279) 18,299 Balances brought forward 89,922 71,623 Balances carried forward 70,645 89,922 Full accounts and Trustees report for the year ended 31 Dec 2018 is available from the Charity Commission and Companies House. Financial summary Donors 2018-19 Allan and Nesta Ferguson Foundation AW.60 Fund Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP Bromley Trust Calpe Trust Edith M Ellis 1985 Charitable Trust Evan Cornish Foundation Frederick Mulder Foundation Garden Court Chambers Harbour Foundation Joffe Charitable Trust Law Society Charity Matrix Causes Fund Mirianog Trust Network for Social Change Open Society Foundations Simmons and Simmons Charitable Foundation Taylour Foundation The Bryan Guinness Charitable Trust The Tolkien Trust Tinsley Foundation PEACE BRIGADES INTERNATIONAL UNITED KINGDOM SECTION Charity registration number 1101016, Company registration number 3912587 23
  24. 24. Volunteer in the UK Volunteer in the Field Fundraise for PBI UK Make a Donation Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Read our Newsletter Contact us at PBI UK +44 (0)20 7281 5370 ”“Get Involved! making space for peace Mexican defender Gabino Gomez (left) with PBI UK team (middle) and PBI field volunteer (right)