[versión en español abajo]
IN RESPONSE TO THE CRIMINALIZATION OF PEACE BRIGADES INTERNATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ACCOMPANIMENT
In the last few months, individuals and government officials have made public statements, to national and international audiences, which stigmatize and criminalize the work of human rights defenders who accompany communities and organizations working to promote the defense of human rights at the local level.
The use of defamation and criminalization is an attempt to isolate human rights defenders who, in their local context, confront power dynamics that not only exclude citizen participation, but that are based on discrimination, and are intolerant and violent. These interests seek to co-opt public opinion in order to open the doors to commercial practices which, in large part, turn their back on the rights of indigenous peoples, rights which are enshrined in International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169.
The “Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,” or the “Declaration on Defenders,” recognizes not only the rights and responsibilities of human rights defenders, but also the obligation of the State to protect defenders as they carry out their work, including activities in opposition to the policies or arbitrary actions of the State. Continue reading