PBI is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides accompaniment and international observation to threatened social organizations that request it. The presence of international volunteers, backed up by an international support network and the dissemination of information, helps to deter violence.
PBI maintained a team of volunteers in Guatemala from 1983 to 1999. During these years, PBI provided accompaniment to human rights organizations, trade unions, indigenous and peasant organizations, refugees and church personnel. In 1999, after an evaluation process, the project was closed, as the country had improved conditions for human rights organizations. However, PBI remained attentive to developments through a Follow-up Committee.
In mid 2000 they began to receive accompaniment requests. An exploratory trip to Guatemala was carried out, which found setbacks and, in some cases, the shrinking of civil society space for human rights defenders to carry out their work. In April 2002, PBI decided to reopen the project to carry out international observation and accompaniment work in coordination with other international accompaniment NGOs. In April 2003, the new office of PBI Guatemala was opened.
Contribute to improving the situation of Human Rights in Guatemala and to the social and political processes that promote democratic and participatory strengthening in the country and in the region, through an international presence supporting the continuation and opening of the political and social space of human rights defenders and organizations or other social expressions that face repression due to their work defending human rights.
PBI is committed to giving the highest priority to human life and its defence. It respects the basic human rights, democratic values and freedoms of all people.
PBI believes that prolonged peace and durable solutions to conflicts between and within nations cannot be achieved by violent methods and therefore reject any type of violence of any origin. PBI aims to support the processes of building a society at peace by promoting cooperation between groups that work in a democratic way and strive to find political solutions to conflicts through non-violent means. Within the principle of nonviolence, PBI Guatemala explicitly rejects gender violence and racism.
PBI acts independently and in a non-partisan manner. According to the Vedchhi Declaration, non-partisanship implies:
Dealing with all parties without preconceived prejudices
Report as objectively as possible
Refrain from making judgments
Express our concerns to those responsible without accusing anyone
Non-partisanship does not mean neutrality or passivity in the face of injustice or the violation of human rights, personal dignity and individual freedom. On the contrary, PBI is totally committed to these values and fights against violence - physical or structural - as a means of establishing lasting peace.
Therefore, the work of PBI requires that its members do not get involved in the work of the groups or the people they accompany; That they try their utmost to remain non-judgemental, despite their possible emotional identification with oppressed persons or victims; That are not involved in the official policies of the host country; That they share the security and protection tools they have at their disposal with those who request them, either as information or in the form of workshops and training programs, without imposing themselves or intervening with their own opinions.
PBI respects the autonomy and right to self-determination of all peoples, and believes that the accompaniment it provides is a small contribution in the construction of peace. For this reason, it avoids interfering or imposing its way of thinking and acting. It offers its international presence as protection and completely avoids interference with local politics, while respecting the sovereignty of the national government. The objective of the principle of non-interference is to allow, from a supportive perspective, the empowerment of individuals, organizations and groups who are fighting peacefully for the respect of their human rights.
Consistent with the principle of non-interference, PBI does not offer its support if there is previously no request or request from the persons, organizations or groups concerned.
5. International solidarity
PBI is a global organization. It represents the concerns of the international community over conflicts and crises affecting all people, and aims to contribute to the peace that would benefit them. PBI invites all people, whatever their culture, language, religion, beliefs and geographic location to get involved in Peace Brigades.