Peace Brigades International

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Peace Brigades International (PBI) is a non-governmental organization founded in 1981 which "protects human rights and promotes nonviolent transformation of conflicts". It primarily does this by sending international volunteers to areas of conflict, who then provide protective, nonviolent accompaniment to human rights defenders threatened by political violence. PBI also facilitates other peace-building initiatives within conflict countries. They are a “nonpartisan” organisation that does not interfere with the affairs of those they accompany.

In 2011, they currently have field projects based in Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Nepal, as well as ongoing exploration work in Honduras, Indonesia and Kenya.

History[edit]

In 1983, the PBI's first team was sent to Nicaragua during the Contra war. They currently have projects in Colombia (since 1994), Guatemala (since 2003), Nepal (since 2005), and Mexico (since 1998). Past PBI project countries include Indonesia (1999–2010), Balkans (1994–2001), El Salvador (1987–1992), Guatemala (1983–1999, re-initiated in 2003), Sri Lanka (1989–1998), Haiti (1995–2000), and North America (1992–1999, in Canada and the USA).

Volunteers escorted Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú back to Guatemala on her return from exile.

Organization[edit]

PBI is a team-based organization that uses consensus decision making. It is non-hierarchical in structure. There are three different aspects to the overall PBI structure, which are the Country Groups, the Field Projects, and the International Level (which consists of the PBI General Assembly, the International Council (IC), and the International Operations Council (IOC)).

A meeting is held every three years, that is attended by members from across the organization, to analyze and modify the direction of each country's program.

Volunteers[edit]

PBI attracts volunteers from diverse backgrounds for its work in the field projects. Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States — among many other countries — have all been represented among PBI's volunteer pool. Potential volunteers must be strongly committed to nonviolence, and all applicants must attend in-depth training where they learn the philosophy of nonviolence, nonviolent strategies, and team dynamics. All volunteers must be fluent in Spanish for the Mexican, Guatemalan and Colombian programmes, and all volunteers for the Nepalese program must be fluent in English and have a basic understanding of Nepali. An applicant may not be a citizen of the country they desire to work in, and must be able to make a minimum commitment of one year.

Apart from getting involved in the field projects, there is also the possibility for individuals to be able to volunteer in PBI’s country groups.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Country groups[edit]

Field Projects[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Mahony, L. & Eguren, L.E., 1997. Unarmed Bodyguards: International Accompaniment for the Protection of Human Rights, West Hartford, Conn: Kumarian Press.
  • Moser-Puangsuwan, Y. & Weber, T., 2000. Nonviolent Intervention Across Borders, University of Hawaii Press.
  • Clark, H., 2009. People Power: Unarmed Resistance and Global Solidarity, Pluto Press.
  • Peace Brigades International: Annual Review 2011