We give a warm welcome to our two new colleagues from Ireland and France. Here, Beatriz and Tessa tell us why they came to accompany human rights defenders with PBI Colombia.
I learned about PBI several years ago during a training on civilian peace interventions organized by the PBI France national group. I was fascinated by the justice and intelligence of its aims, principles, strategies, the humanity of it all, and how it was removed for the patterns neocolonialism and global interference.
I then began to volunteer with PBI France, trying to increase visibility on this two-folded work of defending human rights: the work of the defenders themselves and that of their protection. I started following the projects’ work, including Colombia, and the work of the human rights defenders who fight for life. Little by little I was absorbed by PBI Colombia!
So far, accompanying threatened human rights defenders is the most just way I have found to use my privileges and put them at the service of protecting resistance spaces, struggles, and the defense of everyone’s rights, to support the construction of a world where life is placed first.
I first learned about PBI when I was carrying out my investigations as part of my masters degree in Peace and Conflict Studies in 2016. As part of my studies, my thesis focused on the role of victims in shaping the peace process in Colombia. My interests focused on transitional justice in Colombia and the extent to which victim groups are able to engage with these processes. I had the opportunity to meet individuals involved in the peace process and civil society in Colombia and I really admired their tenaciousness despite all the odds. PBI was recommended to me by a number of both Colombians and foreigners working in the field of human rights in Colombia.
I feel that PBI accompanies organisations that are integral to creating a sustainable and just peace in Colombia. What I admire about PBI is its policy of no injerencia; it is important to me to work with an organisation that gives space for Colombians to carry out their work on their own terms.
Since my university studies, I have worked for NGOs in Scotland, Argentina and Ireland. However, I have always wanted to return to Colombia. I have so much admiration for human rights defenders in Colombia and am eager to accompany them as they carry out their essential work. I am sure my time with PBI will be full of learning, challenges and new experiences, I look forward to seeing what the future holds.
Welcome to PBI Colombia!