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Peace Brigades International (PBI) has carried out observation and international accompaniment in thirteen countries on five continents since 1981 and in Colombia since 1994.

«The chance to make a commitment of solidarity to accompany»

We offer a warm welcome to our four new field brigadistas who will accompany human rights defenders and organizations from the Apartado, Barrancabermeja and Bogota Teams

The people saying hi in this photo are: Julian (Switzerland) who accompanies from the field team in Bogotá, whereas Itsaso (Spain) and Shireen (Germany) will accompany from Apartadó, and Juliane (Germany) from Barrancabermeja.

«For us, Peace Brigades International is a space for individual and collective learning, where we will have the chance to make a commitment of solidarity to accompany different human rights defenders. They are the people who know what is most needed by the groups and communities they accompany, the ones who are suffering on the front line of socio-political violence. As brigadistas, we will strive to create spaces for the defence of human rights in the face of socio-political violence, accompanying from our own learning, experiences and skills, from the principles of non-violence, horizontality, non-partisanship and international character. During the training process we have been very well looked after and welcomed by the team in Bogota, and each one of us is moving on to our field teams full of strength and energy».

Welcome to PBI Colombia!

 

In defence of water and life: the Pajaral marshes

The marshes are bodies of water that are essential to the ecosystem, bodies of water which give life to extraordinary flora and fauna. These natural phenomena also attract economic interests that threaten to damage them, even to make them disappear, as is the case with the rivers and marshes of Magdalena Medio. In this region, full of water and environmental defenders, extractive activities, agribusiness and extensive cattle ranching are advancing, devastating in their path territories inhabited by ancestral communities, in the case of Sur de Bolívar especially Afro-Colombian peoples, peasants and artisanal fishermen.

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Protecting the body, mind, and heart

We are all in a continuous dialogue with our surroundings, everything that happens around us generates a response in our thoughts, emotions, and sensations. These are like speakers, indicating if we require warmth, are thirsty, or need to place limits in the face of something uncomfortable. Sensations and emotions are our first source of input to make ourselves feel well. Humans are far from machines that can do anything, we are vulnerable beings. This means that we are bodies that become ill, can learn, wake up with energy, and go to bed tired, we laugh, fall in love, get hungry or cold, we need hugs and to be listened to, we die. This vulnerability is not synonymous with weakness. On the contrary, it makes us into living beings that are connected to the ecosystem and with knowledge of our lives and the capacity to decide what we needed.

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“A Common Commitment to Accompany”

We offer a warm welcome to our seven new field brigadistas who collectively reflected on their arrival

The people saying hi in this photo are: Mari Carmen (Spain) who accompanies from the field team in Bogotá, whereas Ana (Mexico), Brenda (Spain), and Carlos (Nicaragua) will accompany from Barrancabermeja, and Leticia (Brazil), Louise (France), and Adrià (Spain) from Apartadó.

“As new volunteers, we have finished the selection process and initial training to join our field teams. Even though this means that the group that arrived together had to divide up, we have stayed in contact, talking about our different integration experiences, the diversity of perspectives we have, and how we are building relationships with the people we accompany and our teammates. The group has shown a common interest in and commitment to accompanying and learning from the people, organizations, and communities that defend human rights and have been accompanied by PBI over the last 28 years”.

Welcome!

PBI Colombia

 

Care Is Protecting Life: A gathering of women defenders

Between 24 and 27 February, PBI Colombia held a Gathering of Women Defenders in La Vega. Women leaders and defenders participated from throughout the Colombian territory.

The women are active in peaceful resistance with the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó (Antioquía)they are leaders from the Peasant Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC), the Humanitarian Action Corporation for Coexistence and Peace in Northeast Antioquia (CAHUCOPANA), the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS), and the Social Corporation for Community Advisory and Training Services (COSPACC), all of which are emblematic organizations that work for the rights of the peasantry and communities affected by the armed conflict in the Magdalena Medio, Northeast of Antioquia, and Casanare. They are women involved in the struggle and relatives of victims of forced disappearance from Buenaventura, with the Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE), and from Bogotá the Nydia Erika Bautista Foundation (FNEB). As well as women human rights lawyers from Bucaramanga, Bogotá, and Medellín—from the Luis Carlos Pérez Lawyers’ Collective (CCALCP), Dh Colombia, and the Corporation for Judicial Freedom (CJL), Ties of Dignity (Lazos con Dignidad) and the Feminist Scheme for the Protection of Human Rights (Esquema Feminista de Protección de Derechos Humanos)—which defend victims of state crimes and police violence and they accompany initatives that propose peace from the regions. All of them, diverse women, came together in that diversity and united their struggles and protection tools in a collective, transformative effort that called collective memory into the present.

Continue reading Care Is Protecting Life: A gathering of women defenders