The protective accompaniment entails four mayor tools that are combined in a flexible manner depending on the specific situation and context:
1. Physical presence: PBI often maintains long term presence in the field. PBI presence makes visible the international concerns for a person or a case and has an immediate protective effect. In practice PBI does:
- physical accompaniment: this means direct accompaniment to HRDs and organisation in risk situation by international volunteers to prevent attacks, harassments and other forms of repression.
- strategic presence: even if not by accompanying specific HRDs, PBI’s presence at demonstrations, public events, trails related to human rights issues in the respective projects countries can have immediate protective effects for HRDs. As PBI is well known by local authorities and linked with the international community via advocacy and communication work, its presence dissuades attacks and harassments. Therefore PBI observes key events related to human rights occurring in the countries and regions where PBI has field presence and accompany HRDs.
2. Collection and analysis of information: its primary objective is to gather information in order to make an analysis of the situation and mapping of actors that allow us to elaborate effective protection strategies that are adapted to the given context. The work also helps us to elaborate advocacy and communication strategies that strive at maximising protection and support for the local human rights defenders and their struggles. Our analysis benefits strongly from our permanent presence on the ground and the constant contact with local, national and international NGOs, national and international academics and experts as well as governmental actors from district to federal level.
3. Advocacy and communications work: with our advocacy on local, national and international level we seek to influence the social-political structure that amplifies or reduces defenders’ space for action with the objective to maximise support and protection for the HRDs and to minimise obstacles, threats and risk for them. PBI’s advocacy and communication work is thematic and based on the concrete cases we accompany. The following activities fall under our communication and advocacy work:
- Meetings and communication with Authorities (national and international). The meeting can have direct impact on public policy in favour of human rights defenders (especially if we hold meetings with representatives of the international community and with governmental authorities advocating the same issue on different levels simultaneously). Furthermore in the project countries these meetings can provide immediate protection (mainly when they focus on one concrete case and when they are done with authorities that can react immediately).
- Facilitation and observation of spaces for dialogue and/or coordination among key actors: The objective is to bring together several actors and facilitate or open spaces for dialogue and coordination to improve the protection of HRDs. With this, we try to create protection networks but also to participate in the strengthening of civil society and the social fabric.
- Creation and transfer of support networks for HRDs: our objectives are to maintain a support network to take concrete action in preventing attacks against defenders and react in case of attacks. We equally seek to transfer these contacts and networks to HRDs.
- To raise awareness and increase knowledge about the situation of human rights and its defenders in the countries we work in: we seek to promote information and to inform and raise awareness of the different actors we work with (NGOs, authorities, representative of international community). This occurs mainly through the elaboration of publications and the use of new media tools.
4. Capacity-building for defenders: PBI provides workshops and capacity building tools to empower HRDs in protection, security, network building and resilience. Our work provides the HRDs with tools and spaces to develop and manage their own (protection/security) strategies.