PBI Colombia Annual report, junio de 2018
ANNUAL REPORT 2017
Who are we?
Where do we work?
2017: the first year of the implementation of the Peace Agreement
Areas of work
Lobby and advocacy
Publication and distribution
PBI Colombia in four stories
"The strike will never give up!"
The Bajo Atrato region: a story of resistance
Support of the reconstruction of the social fabric in the "La finca Europa", Sucre
International verification mission on the implementation og the Peace agreement
Human and financial resources
Funding agencies of PBI Colombia
Who are we?
eace Brigades International is an international non-governmental organisation, recognised by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia. It is a non-partisan and independent organisation, and has been carrying out accompaniment and observation work in the country since 1994. Our mission is to protect spaces for human rights defenders, who suffer aggression because of their work promoting and defending human rights and social justice. PBI works solely at the request of Colombian organisations, and does not aim to take over from local initiatives, but instead aims to support them by using a comprehensive protection model, which includes: - Physical accompaniment and international observation in the field. - Political advocacy inside and outside of Colombia. - Public information and awareness-raising on the human rights situation. - Workshops on strengthening and rebuilding the social fabric in Colombia. PBI Colombiaâ€™s mandate is to prevent and protect with a differential and intersectional approach, paying special attention to the situation of vulnerable groups, including women defenders and small-scale farming, indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities that resist non-violently in their territories. To do this, PBI carries out differentiated analyses on the risks faced by these groups in order to develop specific protection mechanisms adapted to their needs.
Areas of Work On-the-ground PRESENCE of
international observers Dialogue with Colombian civilian and
military authorities, the diplomatic corps in Colombia, international organisms and different EU and North American government authorities
Producing and distributing in-
formation on the organisations PBI accompanies and their protection needs
and repairing the social fabric through self-protection workshops
Where do we work? Cesar
Norte de Santander Barrancabermeja Santander Boyacá Casanare
Chocó Bogotá Valle del Cauca Cauca
Regions where PBI accompanies
PBI offices 5
During 2017 PBI Colombia accompanied a total of 20 human rights and victims organisations. Two of these 20 organisations were new accompaniments for PBI: the Regional Indigenous Organisation in Valle del Cauca (Organización Regional Indígena del Valle del Cauca ORIVAC) and DiPaz, which is carrying out observation work on the implementation of the Peace Agreement in two regions of the country (Urabá and Norte del Cauca). At the same time, 2 rural communities and 3 individual human rights defenders were accompanied in territories affected by the Colombian conflict. This translates into 125 people, including 53 women.
It is important to note that our accompaniment also has a broader scope, which covers the indirect protection of about 230,000 people, given that the organisations, individuals and communities accompanied by PBI carry out activities that benefit other groups, which means that we are providing an umbrella accompaniment for these people. We also carried out a number of international observation activities, including missions to verify the implementation of the Peace Agreements between the Colombian Government and the former FARC guerrillas, as well as verification of the human rights situation in different regions of the country.
The PBI Field Teams carried out 222 accompaniments totalling 527 days, 46% of which were accompaniments for women. The teams also held 277 meetings and profile-raising visits with accompanied organisations.
The PBI Colombia psychosocial support team facilitated 29 workshops in which 456 people participated, with 51% women.
As part of our political accompaniment work we held 324 meetings with the international community in Colombia and in other countries, and with Colombian civil and military authorities, to share our concerns about human rights violations in Colombia and raise awareness of our work with the individuals, organisations and communities we accompany: • 116 meetings with international civil society organisations in Colombia, Europe and the USA, including coordination groups and advocacy networks. • 59 meetings with the Diplomatic Corps and multilateral organisations in Colombia. • 83 meetings with Colombian civil and military authorities. • 70 meetings with governmental and multilateral institutions in Europe and the USA. In 2017 we also organised and accompanied 5 speaking tours for human rights defenders, including three in Europe, one in Canada and one in Bogotá with the Diplomatic Corps. At the same time, PBI facilitated and participated in 4 international verification missions on the human rights situation in Colombia. The PBI Colombia psychosocial support team facilitated 29 workshops in which 456 people participated, with 51% women. Our profile-raising work was focused on gathering stories from the field and analysing the human rights situation on our website, pbicolombia.org, which received more than 110,000 visits, representing an increase of 40,000 in one year. The Smugmug platform, which hosts our photo stories and photos received 187,000 visits and the videos on our Youtube channel were visited 200,000 times. 10
2017: the first year of the implementation of the Peace Agreement D espite the signing of the Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in November 2016 and the efforts of the State and other entities to situate Colombia in a “post-conflict” context, the main outcome is that the situation of risk for human rights defenders, their organisations and communities, has stayed the same and in some cases has even worsened after the signing of the Agreement. The initial implementation of the peace agreement has been accompanied by an offensive against social leaders, small-scale farmers and human rights defenders throughout the country. According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, in 2017 the number of incidences of forced displacement increased by 36% compared to 2016, attacks against communities increased by 17% during the first half of 20171 and the Office in Colombia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported more than 100 violent deaths of leaders and members of social organisations2. Killings of women defenders also increased from three registered cases in 2016 to seven in 2017. It is worrying that several analyses have found that the vacuum left by the FARC-EP, strengthened by the complete absence of the State, has left new areas in dispute for the resurgence and expansion of all types of crime and illegal armed groups3. The Colombian Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office (Defensoría del Pueblo) highlights several risk scenarios in its Report 010-17 of March 30, 2017, which not only affect human rights defenders, but also the civilian population in general: the dissidents from the FARC-EP, the expansion of the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional - ELN) and the increase in military action against this group, as well as the expansion and strengthening of the neo-paramilitary group known as the Gaitanista Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia - AGC)4. The Ombudsman’s Office recognises that “illegal armed groups aim to take over areas of the territory where the FARC have withdrawn”5. According to the analysis of the OHCHR, 45% of the homicides that occurred in 2016 and 67% in 2017 were committed in areas abandoned by the FARC. In turn, the Ombudsman’s Office highlights several aspects related to the systematic nature of attacks against defenders and social leaders: 69% of the victims were involved in community organisation, 25% were indigenous leaders, and many were leaders from Neighbourhood Action Boards (Juntas de Acción Comunal) and leaders from the Marcha Patriótica and Congreso de los Pueblos political movements6. Even though progress has been made in the implementation of the Peace Agreement and the legislative
regulation of the protection measures contemplated therein7, the lack of real implementation and consultation with ethnic and small-scale farming communities in regional territories is worrying, as these sectors are experiencing a serious security crisis in their lands, with increasing reports of the presence of illegal armed groups, threats and persecutions. Another pattern that has intensified since the signing of the Peace Agreement is the increase in violations of human rights related to economic interests and the associated environmental impacts which endanger the livelihoods of ancestral communities. This issue has become the focus of work of many organisations accompanied by PBI, who thanks to our accompaniment have been able to continue working to protect natural resources and local communities whose livelihoods depend on these eco-systems. Meanwhile, since the beginning of 2018, the dialogue table between the National Liberation Army (EjĂŠrcito de LiberaciĂłn Nacional - ELN) and the Colombian government remains in crisis due to changes in the negotiating team, the non-resumption of the bilateral ceasefire that the parties had agreed for three months, which culminated on 9 January 2017, and the consequent escalation of guerrilla warfare against the civilian population, oil pipelines and the state security forces8. More than 50 peace and human rights platforms, civil society initiatives and personalities have called upon the delegations of the Government and the National Liberation Army to restart the negotiations and agree a new truce to advance the agreed agenda9.
Notes 1El Espectador: “La implementación de la paz no ha llegado”: director del Consejo Noruego de Refugiados, 22 November 2017 2According to our work in the field, the Office has verified during this year and until December 20, 2017, a total of 105 homicides against human rights defenders and leaders, including: 73 murders against leaders, 18 murders of members of social and political movements, and 14 victims during social mobilisations. In addition, the Office is verifying a further 11 cases. OHCHR: Press Release (in Spanish), 20 December 2017. 3 El Espectador: La amenaza del narcoparamilitarismo, 13 February 2017. 4 Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office (Defensoría del Pueblo): Informe de riesgo no. 010-17 A.I., 30 March 2017, available here: Verdad Abierta: Defensoría del Pueblo emite informe de riesgo sobre líderes sociales, 31 March 2017 5Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office (Defensoría del Pueblo): 156 líderes sociales y defensores de derechos humanos han sido asesinados en los últimos 14 meses: Defensoría, 31 March 2017 6Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office (Defensoría del Pueblo): Informe de riesgo no. 010-17 A.I., 30 March 2017 7 National Commission on Security Guarantees, Public Prosecutor’s Special Investigation Unit, Ombudsman’s Office Early Warning System, etc. 8 El Espectador: Santos suspende inicio del quinto ciclo de conversaciones con el ELN. 29 January 2018 9 El Espectador: Organizaciones sociales, en “proceso de paz permanente”, 1 February 2018
Areas of Work The biggest challenges faced by PBI Colombia in 2017, and by the human rights defence movement in Colombia in general, have been violence caused by high rates of impunity in the country1, the new dynamics of the armed groups after the demobilisation of the FARC-EP and the gaps in the implementation of the Peace Agreement between the FARC and the Colombian Government in terms of protection and security in the regional territories2. On the other hand, the negotiations between the ELN and the Colombian government which started in February 2017, have not translated into a consolidation of peace in the regional territories due to disputes over territorial control between paramilitary successor groups, other illegal actors and the state security forces. This has required extraordinary dedication to analyse this highly unstable situation. Thanks to PBI Colombia, accompanied organisations have been able to continue carrying out their work in the different regions affected by conflict and political violence and continue to document these violations of human rights. Our protection work has contributed to the fact that none of the organisations, individuals and communities directly accompanied by PBI in Colombia have had to abandon their work in defence of human rights due to their risk situation despite the worsening situation and despite facing serious security incidents. On the contrary, PBI has helped several organisations to increase and expand their activities, especially during the implementation of the Havana Peace Agreement. This is the case for organisations such as the ACVC, CREDHOS and CAHUCOPANA who have gained space for their work related to point 1 of the Agreement (comprehensive rural reform), point 2 (guarantees for political participation) and point 4 (substitution of illicit crops). Organisations such as CCAJAR and FNEB have increased their work within related to point 5 (Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition). Moreover, Franklin Castañeda, an accompanied defender from the FCSPP, was elected as a civil society representative in the National Commission on Security Guarantees (point 3.4.)3, a body responsible for creating a public policy to provide guarantees for the defence of human rights and the dismantling of paramilitary successor structures responsible for homicides and massacres against defenders, social movements and political movements.
1Contagio Radio: En Colombia hay una impunidad del 97% en violaciones de DDHH, 23 October 2017 2On 31 March 2017, the Ombudsman’s Office issued a Risk Report in the face of high-risk situations experienced by many Colombian social and human rights defence organisations, which led to an Early Warning being issued in February 2018. See, among others, Verdad Abierta: Defensoría del Pueblo emite informe de riesgo sobre líderes sociales, 31 March 2017; the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights also describes this situation in its 2017 annual report: Annual Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Colombia, 2 March 2018 3Hacemos Memoria: Erradicar el paramilitarismo, una labor de la Comisión Nacional de Garantías de Seguridad, 12 July 2017
Protective accompaniment With organizations and communities promoting human rights in Colombia
Despite the risk that this entails, local communities and organisations continue to report the actions of illegal armed groups1. This is the case, for example, of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, who, in addition to raising awareness of the presence of neoparamilitaries in their region through public communiqués, on May 17 gave testimony about the presence of these groups in a Public Hearing before the Second Commission of the National Congress, after calls for a debate on political control in light of attacks against human rights defenders2. With PBI’s accompaniment, the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz – CIJP), which accompanies and advises land claimants and displaced people who are returning to their lands in various regions of the country, has been able to carry out multiple verification missions to document human rights violations, such as incursions by neo-paramilitary groups in humanitarian zones. The inhabitants of these zones repeatedly tell us that international accompaniment is important in enabling them to stay in their territories and continue to claim rights over their land and territory.
Due to the increase in social conflicts caused by large-scale development projects, this issue has become the focus of the work of many accompanied organisations, who thanks to PBI’s accompaniment can continue working to protect natural resources and the communities that live from them. One highlight of this work was the Constitutional Court ruling at the end of 2017, in the case of the El Cerrejón3 coal mine in La Guajira, which ordered “the protection of the water, health and food security of communities that depend on Bruno Creek”, recognising at the same time that during the implementation of this mining activity there are “uncertainties about the environmental and social impacts of the project for the partial diversion of Bruno Creek”. Likewise, it ordered that a more thorough technical investigation be carried out into the environmental impacts of mining, taking into account a number of precise points related to the environmental impact. This represents important progress in the recognition of the reports made by the communities affected by this mining project in the department of La Guajira4, thanks to the legal process led by CCAJAR and accompanied by several international organisations, including PBI. In terms of work to guarantee social protest, we highlight our accompaniment to the Nomadesc Association (Asociación Nomadesc) during the Buenaventura Civic Strike, during which its members took on an important leadership role monitoring the mobilisations and negotiations with the Colombian Government5.
PBI celebrates the release of human rights defender David Ravelo6 on 20 June 2017, who has been accompanied by PBI for many years, after 7 years of imprisonment as a result of a legal process characterised by irregularities and lack of compliance with international standards on due process, as reported by a number of national and international organisations. David Ravelo’s case was accepted by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace. In the course of the 7 year incarceration, PBI Colombia accompanied him physically and politically, as well as the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo) and, specifically, his lawyer Reinaldo Villalba, who did outstanding legal work in this criminal process. We appreciate and recognise the international accompaniment as well as the support provided by several international institutions and organisations in this landmark case for the prosecution of a human rights defender, including, for example, the Delegation of the European Union’s visit to the Barrancabermeja prison in June 20177.
“PBI´s accompaniment has been fundamental to the work of human rights defenders in Colombia, particularly to myself, David Ravelo Crespo, as a human rights defender in Barrancabermeja and in the Magdalena Medio region, the accompaniment has allowed our work to be protected in the whole region and has enabled us to attend many different spaces and has guaranteed our lives. During my time in prison PBI provided a permanent accompaniment which gained me respect from the prison authorities as every week of two weeks my friends from PBI visited which also helped guarantee my life whilst in prison. This solidarity helped me keep fighting for my freedom and for the truth in my case. Then after I was freed PBI has continued to accompany me with the new threats I have received and have shed light on the issue. But also throughout my time in prison, this accompaniment was very valuable because it shed light on the judicial issue, this criminal process that they put me through on a national and international level so that people in Europe, the United States and all over the world could hear about the persecution human rights defenders face, specifically the case of David Ravelo. My family and my friends, Colombian human rights organisations value PBI and hope it´s accompaniment can remain so that the crisis we are currently living through with the threats we face and the extermination that we are subjected to as defenders can be known. It is very important that PBI continues in Colombia.”
We would like to highlight the accompaniment we began in 2017 with the Regional Indigenous Organisation of Valle del Cauca (Organización Regional Indígena del Valle del Cauca - ORIVAC), which represents 70% of the department’s indigenous communities, located in the San Juan River basin, one of the areas most currently affected by the conflict. These communities are victims of the struggle between various armed groups for territorial control. Thanks to PBI, organisations like ORIVAC have been able to document these human rights violations in the most remote and threatened areas of the country.
In the course of 2017, PBI Colombia accompanied journalist Claudia Julieta Duque from time to time during various hearings and meetings with authorities. This year the case of Claudia Julieta Duque was ruled to be a crime against humanity due to the acts of psychological torture to which she was submitted by organs of the state.8
Finally, we would like to highlight our accompaniment to lawyer Daniel Prado , via the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz – CIJP). Daniel Prado represents victims of the alleged paramilitary group Los 12 Apóstoles who were active in the north of the Antioquia department, in the trial against Santiago Uribe, the brother of former President Álvaro Uribe, who is accused of being one of the promoters of this paramilitary group in the 1990s.9
1 Such as for example the CIJP who regularly publish reports and statements from the territories where they accompany communities, https://www.justiciaypazcolombia.com ; the Peace Community of San San José de Apartadó also regularly publish information on the attacks against them, http://www.cdpsanjose.org 2 Pacifista!: Tenemos el video completo del supuesto campamento paramilitar en Apartadó, 18 May 2017 3 The largest open-cast mining project in Latin America 4 Ccajar: Corte Constitucional ordena proteger el agua, la salud y la seguridad alimentaria de comunidades que dependen del arroyo Bruno, 21 December; Corte Constitucional, Comunicado n°58, 28-29 November 2017 5 This accompaniment is further explained later in this report; CIJP: Hechos violentos en el marco del paro cívico de Buenaventura deben parar, 31 May 2017 6 Front Line Defenders: Freedom for David Ravelo Crespo; Vanguardia.com: El líder social David Ravelo Crespo recobró su libertad, 21 June 2017 7 To see further information related to this case, visit PBI Colombia’s website: David Ravelo 8 El Universal: Caso de Claudia Julieta Duque fue declarado como crimen de lesa humanidad, 25 de octubre de 2017 9 Contagio Radio: Santiago Uribe iría a juicio por creación de paramilitares de los 12 Apóstoles, 18 August 2016; Contagio Radio: Amenazan de muerte a abogado defensor de víctimas de los 12 Apóstoles, 3 November 2017 25
Lobby and Advocacy Raising the profile of human rights defendersâ€™ work with Colombian State authorities and the international community
olitical accompaniment is a central axis of PBI’s work, carried out in different ways to make visible the risks and threats suffered by human rights organisations and defenders. Part of this political accompaniment work focuses on bilateral meetings and fluid communication with the civil and military authorities in Colombia and on the other hand this work is also focused on raising the profile of human rights violations and risk situations experienced in the territories where PBI Colombia carries out its accompaniment and international observation work. PBI develops working relationships with civilian and military authorities at the local, regional and national levels. One important result of this work in the year 2017 was the state response to PBI’s Action Alert in February related to the increased presence and control of the neoparamilitary AGC group, in the region of Urabá, placing the civilian population in serious risk. The Presidential Council for Human Rights summoned PBI to a meeting in Apartadó together with UNHCR, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Defence and the National Army to learn about PBI’s analysis on risks for defenders and communities in the area (in particular the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP) and the Humanitarian Zones in the Curbaradó, Jiguamiandó and Cacarica river basins.
Within Colombia itself, PBI holds regular bilateral meetings and maintains fluid dialogue with the diplomatic corps, on the human rights situation in Colombia, especially with the embassies from PBI volunteers’ home countries1, with the Delegation of the European Union and with the Office of the UN High Commissioner’s Representative for Human Rights in Colombia, who also endorses PBI’s the work in Colombia. PBI also organises meetings with donors. In these meetings, we exchange contextual analysis, and share concerns about risks for human rights defenders and protection strategies. Given that PBI aims to raise awareness on the situation of human rights violations in Colombia and threats received by accompanied human rights defenders, meetings are also organised with the press, foreign universities, and representatives from international organisations and NGOs that work on human rights issues in Colombia.
These meetings are held with the aim of strengthening support networks for accompanied organisations and individuals. For example, in May 2017, a meeting was organised with representatives from the Amnesty International Colombia team with the aim of establishing fluid and collaborative communication channels to raise awareness of the risks faced by communities living in the midst of the armed conflict. This international organisation published several Urgent Actions in the course of the year 2017 related to processes and organisations accompanied by PBI Colombia2. With the same objective of raising the profile of human rights organisations and defenders in Colombia, PBI organised two advocacy speaking tours for accompanied defenders in the city of Bogotá3, so that they could describe the situations they have experienced in their territories and new patterns in the armed conflict related to the presence and expansion of territorial control under new armed groups, and post-demobilisation neo-paramilitary groups4. One of these defenders was Gildardo Tuberquia, leader of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó, who came to Bogotá in August to hold a series of meetings with the Diplomatic Corps and OHCHR in order to explain the Peace Community’s difficult situation given the expansion of the AGC’s territorial control. On 6 October 2017, PBI organised a working breakfast on land issues, in relation to the implementation of point 1 of the Peace Agreement and the restitution of territories to smallscale farming communities. Three national representatives from collective processes were invited along with their accompaniers from Colombian NGOs (Argemiro Lara from the La Europa Farm with Erika Gómez from the CPDH, German Graciano from the Peace Community with Germán Romero of DH Colombia and Marco Velázquez from CAVIDA with Father Alberto from the CIJP) and more than ten embassies participated in this space for dialogue and information exchange5. This dialogue on these cases enabled closer relationships to be built between the Colombian organisations and the Diplomatic Corps which in turn facilitated the organisation of two larger events on 7 and 14 December with the participation of more than 50 people from the UN, embassies and international agencies, as part of PBI’s activation after the murders of Mario Castaño and Hernán Bedoya in the Bajo Atrato region6. Exceptionally, a public statement was issued to call attention to the increase in risks experienced by human rights defenders and to request that international community focus its attention on the protection of human rights defenders7. This statement has been widely distributed through 29
social networks and PBI’s Support Network (the English version of the publication on PBI’s blog space was viewed 451 times and the Spanish version 702 times)8. In order to strengthen and raise the profile of situations experienced in different regional territories, several field visits were made by representatives of the Diplomatic Corps during which they met with social leaders and human rights organisations who were able to share testimonies of troubling situations. With this same purpose in mind, PBI Colombia accompanied and coordinated several different international verification missions on the human rights situation in the territories. In November 2017 an international verification mission, coordinated by Mundubat, PBI Colombia and the International Human Rights Office - Action Colombia (OIDHACO), visited Bogotá, Tumaco, Buenaventura, Quibdó, communities in Urabá and also the Territorial Spaces for Training and Reincorporation in Lavira and La Variante9. The final mission report was presented in different countries and publicly launched in the European Parliament on 6 December 2017. After this presentation MEPs sent a letter to the President of Colombia requesting greater protection and guarantees for defenders. Likewise, both the Mission and the activities around it strengthened PBI’s relationships with other networks and INGOs (see Mundubat, ICIP, International Women’s League for Peace and Freedom, among others). PBI promoted some 4 letters from the Diplomatic Corps to the Colombian Government between July and December 2017 due to security risks for the Peace Community, leaders from the Bajo Atrato region and international accompaniment organisations. This political accompaniment work has made it possible to raise awareness of complex situations experienced in the territories during the implementation of the Peace Agreement, the lack of compliance with the Agreement in some circumstances, the presence of and control exercised by new illegal armed actors and the expansion of post-demobilisation groups threatening the security of the communities.
At the international level, PBI Colombia has maintained regular communication and meetings with our Support Network, PBI National Groups, international human rights organisations and European parliamentarians, representatives of the Permanent Missions of the States before the EU and Ministries of Foreign Affairs, and also with the US Congress and different US institutions and international organisations working on Latin America in Washington DC, among others. As part of this work, one of the ways in which PBI contributes to expanding and strengthening the support network of the organisations and communities it accompanies is by organising speaking tours for defenders. Three international speaking tours have been organised in several European countries, with Berenice Celeita, director of NOMADESC together with Marcos Ramirez from Guatemala; with Olga Silva from the organisation Humanidad Vigente and Franklin Castañeda, civil society representative in the National Commission on Protection Guarantees and member of the Political Prisoners’ Solidarity Committee (Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos), an organisation accompanied by PBI. These tours led to 3 questions in the European Parliament and contributed to a debate in January 2018 in the European Parliament plenary session on Support for the Peace Process in Colombia with a statement by the High Representative of the EU. As a result of this advocacy work with the EU, PBI has also contributed to numerous questions in the European Parliament on Colombia: of the 19 that were presented, the majority are directly related to PBI’s work and strategic priorities this year (peacebuilding, human rights defenders, human rights violations related to economic interests) and many of these questions have been presented by members of PBI’s support network and/or directly linked to cases of individuals and organisations accompanied by PBI.
Notes 1For example, PBI Colombia: Brigadista Austriaca se reúne con consejero de la Embajada de Austria, 1 July 2017 2Amnesty International: Colombia: Spike in attacks against Peace Community shows conflict still alive, 21 March 2017 ; Amnesty International: Colombia: Killings of land claimant leaders, 11 December 2017 (see: https://www.amnesty.org/es/countries/americas/colombia) 3PBI Colombia: Neo-paramilitary threats against the Peace Community Continue, 8 August 2017 ; PBI Colombia: Defenders head home satisfied after a marathon of meetings about neo-paramilitaries, 4 August 2017 4Such as the Gaitanist Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia - AGC) 5PBI Colombia: PBI reúne a representantes del Cuerpo Diplomático y Líderes de Tierra, 6 October 2017 6This will be developed further later in this report 7PBI Colombia: PBI llama la atención sobre el incremento de riesgo para personas defensoras de Drechos Humanos, 13 December 2017 8This was distributed to 342 people from the Support Network in Spanish and 288 in English 9PBI Colombia: Contexto de la misión internacionales de verificación, 3 November 2017 32
PBI has also carried out advocacy work with the United Nations in conjunction with other PBI projects and with international organizations, including presenting two oral statements during the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council at the presentation of the annual report of the Office in Colombia of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), thereby contributing to raising awareness of the risks for human rights defenders.
Publication and distribution
To make visible the serious and continuing threats and attacks suffered by human rights defenders in Colombia
he publication Land, culture and conflict was PBI’s biggest piece of communications work in 2017. The 168-page newsletter was the result of a collective effort and was printed in two languages, illustrating the way in which territory is the centre of the social conflict in Colombia.
ikewise, two other publications were produced to raise awareness of the problem of access to land in Colombia: a themed newsletter focusing on the settlement of Cacarica, located in the Bajo Atrato region, entitled “Cacarica river basin once more in the midst of conflict and violence and Women of Cacarica”; and a report produced in collaboration with OIDHACO on the “Serious increase in murders of human rights defenders in Colombia”.
n addition, in 2017, 88 articles were written on our public blog, 3 publications were produced with restricted distribution for our support network and 3 Action Alerts were written related to the increase in threats against human rights defenders. Additionally, and in response to the murders of land claimants of Bajo Atrato, PBI Colombia produced a Public Statement highlighting the serious humanitarian crisis and the current lack of protection for communities in regional territories. Throughout the year, the Spanish version of PBI Colombiaâ€™s website was visited 79,726 times and its English version 31,942 times.
BI Colombia works to strengthen security measures, mental health practices and advocacy strategies through its area entitled Support for the Reconstruction of the Social Fabric (Apoyo a la Reconstrucción del Tejido Social - ARTS). In this work PBI shares knowledge on issues of protection, digital security and psychosocial issues, by facilitating collective workshops. In 2017, PBI reached 456 people by facilitating 29 workshops that took place mainly in regions that have less support from state institutions and non-governmental agencies, such as the southwest of the country, the Magdalena Medio region and Urabá. In 2017, this work focused on providing workshops to groups with participants from different organisations and collectives to strengthen not only their security and coping strategies, but also to contribute to the strengthening of their networking capacities. In this regard, we would like to highlight our participation in the “Escuelas de la Memoria” initiative promoted by CCAJAR, MOVICE and CPDH, which bring together groups of victims to work collectively on different processes to build memory, in light of the Truth Commissions established in the Peace Agreement. This approach to strengthening networks is not limited to the national level. PBI also encourages the creation of these synergies at the regional level. One example of this work in 2017 was our support for the participation of Colombian organisations in the Regional Meeting of Defenders of the Land, Territory and Environment (Encuentro Regional de Defensoras y Defensores de la Tierra, Territorio y Medioambiente) held in Mexico. In addition, PBI organised two meetings of women defenders. The first of these gatherings offered women defenders from different organisations the opportunity to exchange protection and self-care practices with a differential approach. In the second meeting, organisations that work for the rights of women discussed issues related to human trafficking for sexual purposes and the right to make decisions about their own bodies. PBI also accompanied the first Meeting of Women from the Small-Scale Farming Reserve Zone in the Magdalena Medio region.
This year we also increased our efforts to strengthen digital capacity for the safe and responsible handling of information for organisations that defend human rights. PBI held a digital security workshop for the finalists in the DIAKONIA national human rights award, who are threatened because of the work they do. The objective of this workshop was to practice using digital security tools that can be shared within the finalistsâ€™ organisations. The success of the PBI workshops can be seen not only in requests for the continuity of these processes, but also in the way that the participating organisations are sharing these skills with groups they accompany. One example of this are the results of work carried out with the Social Pastoral of Buenaventura, who are applying safety protocols and measures with young people living in situations of risk. Another example of this information sharing can be seen in the example of the community of La Europa, in Sucre, who have served as a bridge for PBI to initiate workshops with neighbouring communities because they believe that strengthening neighbouring communities on issues of protection and psychosocial accompaniment promotes networking among communities.
PBI Colombia in four stories
"The Strike will never give up!" Acompaniment to Nomadesc within the context of the Civic Strike in the port city of Buenaventura.This phrase was the motto of the population who mobilized to reinvindicate basic rights (from Spanish: "¡El pueblo no se rinde carajo!") Buenaventura (a city in the Colombian Pacific) is the location for the second most
important port on the Latin American continent, a strategic point for international import and export, where around 50% of Colombia’s foreign trade circulates. Several projects are underway to convert Buenaventura into a port city dedicated to attracting foreign investment that to date has reached 600 million dollars2.
In the “Bajamar neighbourhoods” located on the seafront, the municipal government has proposed the construction of a large-scale tourist complex, the expansion of the Buenaventura Container Terminal and the construction of a Centre for Economic Activities. These projects go against the ancestral way of life of the local inhabitants, as the implementation of these large-scale development projects implies the relocation of their communities. The lack of adequate compensation in political, economic and social terms would be a risk for the subsistence of these communities. The situation is much more serious if we also take into account the fact that Buenaventura is affected by endemic poverty, where a large part of its population arrived in the city displaced from other areas due to the armed conflict, and where corruption has reigned for many years, causing serious problems for the people of Buenaventura3. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in 2016, 11,363 people from 3,068 families were displaced, while during the first quarter of 2017, 913 families with a total of 3,549 people were displaced; and one of the most critical areas identified for 4 this displacement is the rural area of Buenaventura . On the other hand, it is important to remember that the city’s relationship to the armed conflict intensified with the arrival of different illegal armed actors, competing for control of several routes along the mountainous areas of the north of the Cauca department connecting Colombia directly to Mexico5. The interests stemming from the city’s geostrategic location have led to one of the most serious humanitarian tragedies in the country today, with communities displaced, threatened and in a state of confinement. As a result of this lack of protection, on 16 May 2017, the inhabitants of Buenaventura decided to mobilise by calling a strike and going out into the streets to demand that the government comply with agreements made on different occasions and guarantee their fundamental rights, especially on issues such as health, education, employment and security. Special attention should also be paid to the lack of a water system for potable water and the lack of second or third level hospital care for half a million people, with poverty rates that exceed 80%6.
After twenty-two days on strike, during which a state of social emergency was declared, on 6 June, the leaders from Buenaventura and the Government reached an agreement for the approval of approximately 1.5 billion pesos to be distributed between improving services for housing, health, employment and productivity, water and sanitation, education, energy and justice7. The Government also committed to provide 100% coverage of drinking water and basic sanitation to the population living in one particular area. However, months after the end of the strike, in spite of progress made in the thematic working groups that were installed during the days of the strike, subsequent irregularities led the citizen groups to mobilise once again. In addition, the lack of security guarantees for those who had and continue to play a leadership role within the Buenaventura Civic Strike Committee continues to be a cause for concern, as shown by the murder of TemĂstocles Machado, an emblematic figure in the Buenaventura social movement, leader and executive member of the civic strike8. The contribution of PBIâ€™s accompaniment to the Civic Strike in Buenaventura: During the first few days, the mobilisation was held within a peaceful and non-violent context; however, it was not long before the first security incidents began to take place9. According to the Ombudsmanâ€™s Office, during the twenty-two days that the mobilisation lasted, 519 complaints were received related to human rights violations and disproportionate use of force by the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD), as people exercised their right to peaceful protest. 45
PBI received a request from the Association for Research and Social Action (Asociación para la Investigación y la Acción Social – NOMADESC), the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz - CIJP) and the Political Prisoners’ Solidarity Committee Foundation (Fundación Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos - FSCPP), to accompany them in their work with the Buenaventura community mobilising within the legitimate exercise of their right to social protest during the civic strike. PBI therefore maintained a permanent and rotating physical presence during the days of the strike and developed a fluid dialogue with the state security forces both in the field, and externally monitoring the situation by opening a channel of communication with the national authorities (Presidential Council, Ministry of the Interior) and the diplomatic corps and by participating in a press conference with the NGO CINEP. PBI also coordinated with other of accompaniment organisations active in the field (FellowshipofReconciliation, Project for International Accompaniment and Solidarity, Red de Hermandades, WitnessforPeace), holding a series of meetings to develop a joint advocacy strategy. PBI also informed its national groups and support network in Europe about the situation in Buenaventura. At the same time, PBI was present as an international observer, at the request of social organisations, at the “roundtable on human rights, guarantees and protection” that was installed on 4 June, independently of the eight thematic roundtables that had been established during the negotiations.The objective was to create a protection mechanism against the human rights violations that were taking place during the civic strike, especially abuses by the state security forces. This roundtable included the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) as guarantor and facilitator. The participants in the roundtable were the Ministry of the Interior, the Presidential Council for Human Rights, the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office, the Procurator’s Office, the Office of the Public Prosecutor, the Local Human Rights Officer (Personería), UNHCR, the Jesuit Refugee Service, Medical Forensics, Family Welfare and representatives from the Civic Strike Committee. CIJP and NOMADESC actively participated as members of the Civic Strike Committee. The result of this roundtable was the creation of a mechanism for the protection and prevention of human rights violations, with four main components: - access to justice - protection for social leaders - health care - specific care and protection for children and young people.
On 13 June, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published a statement expressing its concerns about possible cases of reprisals and stigmatisation against the leaders of the strike and human rights defenders supporting the social organisations’ requests and accompanying the civic strike. In addition to providing physical and political accompaniment to these organisations during their work in the Buenaventura civic strike, PBI’s comprehensive accompaniment model (physical, advocacy, visibility and psychosocial/self-protection), also enabled the organisation to offer some psychosocial supportand protection workshops with some of the social organisations that PBI accompanied during this strike. PBI also nominated human rights defender Enrique Chimonja Coy from the CIJP for the Diakonia Prize, and he won the “Defender of the Year” category for his work in Buenaventura. As part of this award, the defender carried out an advocacy tour of the United States during the month of February 2018 to raise awareness of the situation in Buenaventura and to follow up on the effective implementation of the commitments made during the civic strike.
Notes 1 This was the rallying cry of the Civic Strike in the city of Buenaventura, which took place in May-June 2017 2 Semana:La metástasis de Buenaventura, 27 May 2017 3 Centro Nacional de Memoria Histórica:Buenaventura: un puerto sin comunidad, 2015 , Semana:El círculo vicioso de la corrupción en Buenaventura, 23 April 2018 4 El Tiempo: Van más de 3.500 desplazados en el Pacífico en lo corrido del año, 8 March 2017 5 El Espectador:El Pacífico colombiano y el cartel de Sinaloa, 10 February 2018 6 El Colombiano: Declarar emergencia, el pedido de Buenaventura para salir del paro, 22 May 2017 7El Espectador:Así se llegó al acuerdo para levantar el paro en Buenaventura, 6 June 2018 8Semana: Asesinan a uno de los líderes del paro cívico en Buenaventura, 27 January 2018 9NOMADESC, Comisión de veeduría derechos humanos paro cívico para vivir con dignidad y en paz en el territorio: Boletín 02; 03; 04; 05; Acción urgente; May-June 2017
The Bajo Atrato region: a story of resistance Accompaniment to the Inter-Church Comission of Justice & Peace to different collective territories where the Humanitarian and Biodiversity Zones remains as a protection and prevention mecanism for the civil population and environnement
PBI has been accompanying the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz – CIJP) in the Bajo Atrato region1 since the end of the 1990s. As a geostrategic zone with many interests, the communities have suffered armed conflict intensely and on a daily basis. Today, in the context of the reconfiguration of the armed conflict, they are claiming back their lands. At the end of 2017, tragedy hit the communities once again when two of their leaders were murdered: Mario Castaño and Hernán Bedoya. PBI accompanied the families during these difficult times and alerted its international support network by publishing an exceptional public statement expressing concerns about the situation of high risk and violence that exists for communities in the Bajo Atrato region. Mario Castaño was a land claimant leader from the Community Council of La LargaTumaradó, in the Bajo Atrato region. For more than 15 years he had reported that businessmen were grabbing land and had benefited from paramilitary operations carried out in conjunction with the state security forces in the mid 1990s2. In more recent times he had also reported the presence of the self-proclaimed Gaitanista Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia - AGC) in La Larga Tumaradó. On 26 November, while on his farm, Mario was killed by armed men in the presence of his family, including several children. One week earlier, he had participated in a national meeting to initiate a prior consultation process related to collective reparation for the community situated in collective territory. He also played an active role in the land restitution claim that was filed five days after his death3. There are around 5,000 people belonging to 49 communities settled in the river basins of the La Larga and Tumaradó rivers awaiting the return of their properties through this demand for collective restitution4. 48
Mario had been granted protection measures by the National Protection Unit, consisting of two armed escorts and an armoured car, but this protection scheme was shared with a leader from another community, and so he only benefited from this protection half of the time5. Mario Castaño was one of the main representatives in processes to reclaim disputed lands in Curbaradó and La Larga Tumaradó. He also promoted the installation of the Árbol del Pan Biodiversity Zone in Tumaradó. He was accompanied by the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP) which is in turn accompanied by PBI in the Bajo Atrato region. On 8 December, two weeks after the murder of Mario Castaño, Hernán Bedoya, a land claims leader from the Community Council of Pedeguita y Mancilla, was also murdered. This murder was also allegedly perpetrated by the AGC and occurred the same day that a large number of leaders from communities in the Bajo Atrato region were participating in the commemoration of Operation “Black September”, which was a joint military-paramilitary operation perpetrated in the region of Urabá twenty years ago, in which 143 people were murdered6. Hernán was the owner of the Mi Tierra Biodiversity Zone, located in the collective territory of Pedeguita y Mancilla, had opposed the implementation of agro-industrial projects by the company Agromar S.A.7. It should be noted that several executives from the Agromar company have been accused of and/or face trials for drug trafficking and links with paramilitaries8. During that year, the Mi Tierra Biodiversity Zone had faced multiple interventions from agro-industrial projects for the export of bananas and oil palm, to which Hernán Bedoya had expressed his opposition in different local and national scenarios due to the environmental impacts and social consequences of these projects. Since 2015, Hernán Bedoya had received threats from the AGC, which worsened last year. However, despite making repeated complaints, only one bulletproof vest and a cell phone were granted to him as protection measures by the National Protection Unit, which was not very useful in a rural area without cell phone coverage9. Mario Castaño and Hernán Bedoya were community leaders who faced powerful enemies, due to their work defending their territory. Mario was a spokesman for a community that requested the cancellation of a mining title owned by the multinational company Anglo Gold Ashanti. For his part, Hernán opposed the implementation of large-scale agro-industrial development projects10. As part of PBI’s physical accompaniment to the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, PBI volunteers visited the Biodiversity Zones belonging to Mario Castaño and Hernán Bedoya on several occasions. And as part of this work, with great sadness, we also accompanied their burials11. These tragic deaths have reinforced our commitment and our physical accompaniment work with communities in the Bajo Atrato region12. We are currently the only international non-governmental organisation with a constant presence in the region.
After the murders of Mario Castaño and Hernán Bedoya, PBI Colombia carried out advocacy work by activating its support network. Among other activities, PBI released an Action Alert13 on 30 November, after the murder of Mario and, for the first time in several years, we released a public communiqué14 on 12 December after the murder of Hernán. We also held advocacy meetings with the Ministries of Defence and the Interior, and we participated in two meetings with the diplomatic corps organised by the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission in December. Twenty-five leaders from Bajo Atrato communities threatened by neo-paramilitaries participated in the second meeting, as well as representatives of the embassies of France, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Finland, Holland, Canada, the EU delegation and OHCHR. In this meeting, the Bajo Atrato leaders highlighted the responsibility of businessmen from the banana, palm and livestock industries and their links with the neo-paramilitary groups responsible for these murders. In these meetings the leaders made a series of requests which they later presented in meetings with government institutions. The Bajo Atrato leaders also participated in meetings with the Ministries of Defence and the Interior15 and the Procurator General’s Office in Bogotá16. It should be noted that the Procurator endorsed many of the requests made by the threatened leaders. In these meetings the government reached some agreements with the communities, which are being fulfilled and include an increase in protection measures granted by the National Protection Unit to the threatened leaders and an increase in the presence of the state security forces in the Bajo Atrato region. Thanks to the advocacy efforts by the leaders from the communities, with the support of the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission and other organisations, the Public Prosecutor and the Director of the Unit for the Dismantling of Criminal Organisations visited Apartadó and Belen de Bajirá on 21 December, where they met with the threatened leaders and announced that a mobile group from the Unit for the Dismantling of Criminal Organisations, which is part of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, will remain in the area to identify and investigate the members of the illegal armed groups responsible for the murders of land claimants in the Bajo Atrato region.17 Notes
Picture: Ozman Bedoya, elder son of Hernan Bedoya, holding the portrait of his father in an act of homage in the place where he was murdered in Playa Roja, Curvaradó Left picture: Liliana Isabel Flores, the widow of Mario Castaño, holding the portrait of her husband together with three of their daughters, in the farm where Mario castaño was muredered
1 Above all the Curvaradó, Jiguamiandó and Cacarica river basins; in the last few years this extended to the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones in the Pedeguita y Mancilla and La Larga y Tumaradó river basins. 2CIJP: Asesinan al líder Mario Castaño Bravo, integrante de Conpaz en Chocó, 26 November 2017 3 Ibid 4 El Espectador: Por fin se radicó la demanda de restitución de la Larga Tumaradó, 6 December 2017 5 IPC: Denuncia pública por asesinato del líder reclamante Mario Castaño Bravo, 29 November 2017 6 PBI Colombia: ¿Por qué matan a los líderes antes de Navidad?, 19 December 2017 7CIJP: Asesinado líder Hernán Bedoya, 8 December 2017 8 Contagio Radio: Empresa Agromar provoca desastre ambiental en Chocó, 20 June 2017 9CIJP: Asesinado líder Hernán Bedoya, 8 December 2017 10PBI Colombia: ¿Por qué matan a los líderes antes de Navidad?, 19 December 2017 11 PBI Colombia: Hoy sepultaron al líder de tierras, Mario Castaño, 29 November 2017 12 PBI Colombia: Con unos disparos le quitaron la vida a Mario Castaño, 5 December 2017 13 Distributed to our Support Network – not public 14 Ibid 15 Ministry of the Interior (Ministerio del Interior): “Tenemos que lograr que ningún líder sea amenazado y asesinado”: Guillermo Rivera, 18 December 2017 16 Procurator General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la Nación): Procurador alerta sobre eventual desplazamiento por amenazas a líderes y territorios en el Chocó, 14 December 2017 17Public Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalía General de la Nación), Arrancan investigaciones de la Unidad de Desmantelamiento de Organizaciones Criminales de la Fiscalía General de la Nación, 21 December 2017 51
Support for the reconstruction of the social fabric in the La Europa Farm, Sucre Support for the reconstruction of the social fabric i PBI Colombia offers comprehensive accompaniment to communities and organisations, that is to say, in addition to its political advocacy work and physical presence in the field, PBI works with groups on aspects related to security analysis and management, and facilitates group reflections on the emotional impact of human rights work, in order to develop strategies for self-protection and collective protection with a psychosocial view of self-care and mutual care. This is the case of the La Europa Farm, a collective process accompanied by all four of PBI’s working areas. PBI uses a differential focus to include different groups within the community such as young people, women and the community’s organising committee. This type of accompaniment has led to the community working as a bridge to extend PBI’s accompaniment to other communities, with the
understanding that this not only expands PBI’s work, but also weaves relationships between these communities because they consider that if neighbouring processes also work on these issues, it will strengthen the work between the communities and their protection.
International Verification mission on the implementation of the Peace Agreement Between October and November 2017, the Mundubat Foundation, PBI Colombia and PBI Spain organised a Verification Mission on the Implementation of the Peace Agreements one year after they were signed. The aim of the mission, comprised of international experts, was to make the current situation of said implementation visible, especially in the territories, paying specific attention to points 2, 3 and 5 of the Agreement from a gender perspective. PBI Colombia organised the mission jointly with the aforementioned organisations and also took part in the Mission, in the role of international observer. Visits and meetings were held with communities and their national accompaniers from the CIJP in the Bajo Atrato as well as with communities and organisations in the cities of Tumaco (Nariño), Buenaventura (Valle del Cauca) and Quibdó (Chocó). Meetings were also held with organisations and NGO coordination groups in Bogotá, with Colombian civil and military authorities, both locally and nationally, and with Ministries, the Ombudsman’s Office, the Presidential Council and the state security forces in Bogotá. Meetings were also held with several representatives of the Diplomatic Corps in a round table facilitated by the EU Delegation, with international organisations (including UNHCHR, UNHCR and the UN Verification Mission), members of the mechanisms that emerged after the Peace Agreement (such as the National Commission on Security Guarantees, the Search Unit for Missing Persons) and members of the Colombian Congress. We also highlight the visits to two demobilisation zones where we met with former members of the FARC-EP. A mission report “En los territorios la Paz no se siente, la esperanza se mantiene”1, which was launched in the European Parliament on 6 December last year, and
subsequently in several European countries. PBI Colombia also organised an event2 with the support of PBI Belgium, for civil society in Brussels and another in Barcelona with the support of PBI Catalonia, the Taula Catalana, the ICIP and PCN. For these events PBI and Mundubat invited Franklin CastaĂąeda, member of the Political Prisonersâ€™ Solidarity Committee and civil society representative in the National Commission on Guarantees, and Marcia MejĂa, an Eperara Siapidara indigenous leader and spokesperson from CONPAZ. Thanks to the support of PBI National Groups this tour continued in Norway and Spain. The conclusions of the Mission highlighted a lack of progress in the implementation of the points from the Agreement, particularly in relation to security guarantees for those who defend human rights and lead work to develop policies related to the implementation of the Agreement, a worsening in the security situation for several of the communities visited, an increase in the presence of illegal armed groups in the regions and the lack of presence of civil authorities in the most remote rural areas (for example the Bajo Atrato region) where communities have reported attacks against them perpetrated by different actors, as described in the Mission Report. The Mission also concluded that the gender focus was not being correctly implemented; of the more than 100 measures envisaged in the Agreement, very few had been effectively implemented at the time of the Verification Mission. The results of this awareness raising action have included different parliamentary questions, resolutions, various public events and information distribution. The Mission also contributed to a debate in January 2018 in the European Parliament plenary session on Support for the Peace Process in Colombia with a statement by the High Representative of the EU. The presentation and dissemination of the report has continued into 2018. Notes 1 PBI Colombia: En los territorios, la Paz no se siente, la esperanza se mantiene, 3 de noviembre 2017 2 https://www.facebook.com/events/615274412196710/
“For me it has been very beneficial to be able to count on the accompaniment of a great human rights defending organisation that is the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission, and through them, PBI – an international organisation. It has been a huge support and has meant I was able to return to my municipality Mapiripán, Meta. I have been able to visit my farm, work with the indigenous and rural communities and shed light what is happening in the municipality with the various violations of the company Poligrow. Without your help, as a human rights defender and land claimant, also spokesman for Conpaz, all of this wouldn´t have been possible. Especially with the high levels of risk involved in the conflict in the municipality. Above all I am grateful to you that I have been able to return with my wife and son. God bless you.” William Aljure, victim of paramilitary violence and land claimant Meta August 2017 55
Human and financial resources report
he objective of the Training and Human Resources Area is to provide the PBI Colombia Project with a global team of accompaniment volunteers trained in the procedures and principles of the Project, capable of developing the responsibilities necessary in order to protect the work spaces of human rights defenders. In this sense, the training and human resources management work is based on implementing and leading all phases of the candidate training process with the aim of achieving the best possible preparation and selecting them according to the criteria established in the Project. This includes monitoring and moderating the training processes of the volunteers, including during their time within the project, monitoring the volunteers to ensure their well-being, and ensuring that they follow the procedures established in the project regarding the policies of resources humans. During 2017 we have structurally reorganized the Field Teams (reducing the Field Teams at a functional level from 3 to 2, but maintaining the three operational centers of Barrancabermeja, Apartadรณ and Bogotรก). The reduction of the size of our organization in terms of field volunteers (from the 24 with which we started 2017 to the 18 with which we are operating at the beginning of 2018) meant the suspension of an intake of new volunteers which was scheduled for February - March. However, in order to relieve volunteers who were concluding their period during this time, we did two entries with their corresponding Initial Formation processes in the second semester of the year: 3 new volunteers entered in September (2 women and 1 man, of Scottish, Italian and French nationalities), and 7 in December (2 men and 5 women, of Spanish, French, Swiss, French and Argentinian nationalities). In 2017 a Training-Selection Process Retreat was held during the month of October, culminating a selection process that began at the beginning of the year and that is divided into several stages: (reception of applications, interviews, self-training notebooks). During each Retreat, which lasts a week, we work through participatory and interactive methods covering the following topics: history and analysis of the current Colombian situation; mandate, principles and core work strategies of PBI Colombia, fear and stress management, constructive conflict resolution, group dynamics and consensus; and gender and diversity as well as practical issues before arriving in Colombia. In this Retreat, 18 candidates from Spain, France, Switzerland, Guatemala, Germany and Holland participated, of which 14 people (12 women and 2 men) were selected.
Numbers of Brigadistas en 2017 and where they came from
Field Volunteer in the Colombia Project
Upon arriving at the project, the new volunteers carry out two weeks of intensive orientation in Bogotรก to locate themselves, to get to know the work areas and their responsibilities, and familiarise themselves with the security protocols and with the Project. When they arrive at their future work teams, they go through an initial training phase with the aim of integrating within the team and their new environment, getting to know the work areas, organizations and the people they accompany, as well as deepening and broadening their analytical skills, essential in terms of future dialogues with authorities and actions in the field. During their time in the Project, all the members of PBI Colombia also receive ongoing training workshops with different themes (for example: current political situation, analysis, security and crisis management, political debates, teambuilding, emotional accompaniment, talks by human rights defenders, etc.) in order to strengthen and enhance the internal capabilities of the Project. These training spaces are carried out both by people from the field teams, by members of other areas of the Project, and by external experts. During 2017, whilst meeting the challenge represented by the reduction of the size of the COP in terms of structure and human resources, the project has managed to preserve a high lelvel of impact in terms of the protection of human rights defenders in Colombia. The reorganization of our structure and internal processes that we have begun to carry out in 2017 has required skilled implementation of one of our fundamental principles, decisionmaking through consensus and has resulted in better optimization of our resources, a path which we want to continue to follow in 2018. The other fundamental challenge that we will continue to face is the search for mechanisms to ensure stability and minimize turnover of the people who make up the project, in particular in terms of members of the Support Team. Equally, in this respect, we hope to continue consolidating what we have achieved in recent years in regards to Field Volunteers in terms of the increased stability, continuity and length of time in the project.
eace Brigades International (PBI), is a non-governmental organization recognized by the UN, which maintains a permanent team of international observer-accompaniers in Colombia since 1994. Given that its headquarters are located abroad, that its income comes 100% from an international sources, and since there is no specific accounting standard for this type of organization, the registry of its economic operations has been assimilated to that of nonprofit organizations in general. The accounting standards of PBI Colombia comply with the guidelines of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in Colombia; its operations comply with the regulations contained in Law 1314 and its regulatory decrees 2420 and 2496 of 2015 - IFRS for SMEs. The accounts of the Project have been audited by the firm Abako’s S.A.
Exchange Difference The financial statements of PBI’s Colombia Project are valued in Pesos (currency in which economic, financial and equity operations in Colombia are recorded), at the end of each accounting period, and are presented in Dollars (currency in which the income and expenses realized in the USA are recorded), and in Euros (for income and expenses made in the Eurozone). Income and expenses are accounted for in the currency in which they are made. In the monetization of the income of the account “Donations Receivable” and when recording the accounts receivable or advances and the justifications in currencies different from the Peso and in different months, the use of the account “Difference in exchange” is generated. These records are made in the result accounts. The figures and results presented below correspond to the 2017 period and reflect the financial situation of the Colombia Project of Peace Brigades International (PBI). In this sense, the resources transferred by international agencies for the development of objectives within Colombia are accounted as income, and the expenses derived from the activities corresponding to the institutional mandate as expenses. At present, there are no investments or accounts that generate interest that can be taken as income from a national source, which would require income tax. For its part, the organization recognizes as expenses those that are generated in relation to causation and income association, which are always regulated by the general budget. 60
Financial Statements at the Closing of the Annual Accounts At the end of 2017, December 31, the accounts show a deficit for the year amounting to € 4,660. Total (operational) revenues reached € 704,842 and expenses amounted to € 745,844. Due to bank yields and a favorable foreign exchange differential, non-operating income was obtained in addition to € 29,875, which represents a total of € 734,717.
How we spend
Source of funding
Incomes from foundations, unions, churches, etc.. 37,41%
Governementales Incomes 58,59% Multilaterales Incomes 3,83%
National Groups and individual donations 0,17%
Governmental Incomes 150.000 €
24.954 € 4.296 € Germany
Ingresos Fundaciones, Sindicatos, Iglesias, etc. 76.147 €
51.000 € 37.990 €
17.740 € 2.696 €
PBI Colombia is thankful to its funding agencies : Agencia Catalana de Cooperación y Desarrollo (ACCD) I Agencia Extremeña de Cooperación Internacional para el desarrollo I Agencia Vasca de Cooperación para el Desarrollo I Ayuntamiento de Barcelona I Ayuntamiento de Donostia I Ayuntamiento de Pamplona I Barreau de Paris I Brot für die Welt – Bread for The World I Christian Aid / Charity I Christian Aid / Irish Aid I Ferster Foundation I Gobierno de Navarra I ICCO – Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation I Iglesia Valdense y L'Otto I Mensen met een Missie I Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores de Noruega 15/11292, COL - 15/0007 I Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores de Holanda I Misereor I Open Society Foundations I Oxfam Intermón I Protect Defenders / The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) I Protestant Church St. Gallen – Tablat I Peace Civil Service – Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development I UNIFOR Canada I Ville de Geneve DGVS | Individual donationes I PBI Alemania I PBI Canadá I PBI Cataluña I PBI Spanish State I PBI France (Non Violence XXI) I PBI Nafarroa I PBI Norwaa I PBI Switzerland I PBI UK
Annual Report 2017
PBI Colombia, june 2018
Redaction and edition
Diagramación y diseño
1908 - 3489
© PBI Colombia
All rights reserved
The opinions and positions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of Peace Brigades International or its funding agencies.
Peace Brigades International (PBI) is a non-governmental organisation recognised by the United Nations, which has maintained a team of international observers/accompaniers in Colombia on an ongoing basis since 1994. PBI’s mission is to protect the working environment of human rights defenders, who face repression due to their non-violent human rights activities. PBI Colombia teams remain in the field, at the request of local organisations, accompanying persons and organisations under threat. This fieldwork is complemented by significant dialogue and advocacy with civilian and military authorities, as well as with NGOs, the Church, multilateral bodies, and the diplomatic corp, in order to promote human rights and disseminate information on the human rights situation in Colombia.
If you believe PBI’s presence helps protect persons who carry out human rights work, you may do the following:
Support us economically on a personal or institutional basis.
Join the nearest PBI country group and support the international network from your place of residence.
Apply to become a volunteer with one of the PBI projects.
Project PBI Colombia Washington, DC (USA) email@example.com
Delegation of PBI in Colombia Bogotá, Colombia Tel. (+57) 1287 0403 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Project PBI Colombia, European union Tel. (+34) 634 256 337 coordinacion.europa@ pbicolombia.net