See our 2020 Annual Review for information about last year's activities as we celebrate our 40th anniversary.

40 years ago, in 1981, a group of international activists came together to create a movement for peace, solidarity and non-violent action.

While our core mission remains the same, we have adapted our tactics to ensure defenders are protected despite the rapidly changing global context and ever-evolving risks and threats they face. 40 years on, PBI remains convinced of the vital role HRDs play in strengthening democracy, upholding the rule of law, and protecting our shared environment. Together, through their protection, we can create a more peaceful and just world.

‘We are forming an organisation with the capacity to mobilise and provide trained volunteers in areas of high tension, to avert violent outbreaks...We are convinced that this commitment of mind, heart, and dedicated will can make a significant difference in human affairs’

– Excerpt from founding meeting of PBI, 13th August to 4th September 1981


In 2021 we take stock of our achievements, and more importantly those of the brave individuals and organisations we have stood beside during their struggle to defend human rights over the past 40 years. The world has changed drastically, and many positive steps have been taken towards the progressive fulfilment of human rights. However, continued attacks and threats against HRDs, as well as increased digital attacks, criminalization and the persecution of environmental defenders, and subsequent demand for PBI’s presence in different parts of the world, indicates that there is still a long way to go.


In this Annual Report we look back over the past 40 years, acknowledging our roots and appreciating our role in the international peace movement. We remember with huge gratitude all of those who have passed through PBI in different capacities, and recognise the contribution of so many volunteers and staff members to our movement. 2020 was a year in which international solidarity became commonplace as global interconnections were felt more strongly than ever. In the face of a devastating global pandemic, inequalities have been exacerbated and individuals and communities around the globe have risen to meet new human rights challenges. HRD’s fundamental role as advocates for vulnerable groups, leaders of social movements and opponents of repression have become more necessary than ever.

Despite their key roles, many HRDs experienced heightened situations of risk. In this struggle to uphold the fundamental tenets of social justice, PBI remains at the forefront, supporting those with steadfast faith in the ability to build better, safer and more peaceful societies.