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PBI is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) that was founded in 1981. PBI has more than 30 years of experience in international accompaniment and has maintained a permanent presence in Mexico since 1999. The organization is currently registered with the United Nations.
The mandate of PBI is to create space for peace and to protect human rights.
The central focus of PBI's work is that of international presence defined as one or more of the following: physical presence, physical accompaniment, public relations, networking, observing, reporting, and building international support networks.
Approved by the General Assembly in Ontario, Canada, June 1992, amended by the General Assembly, Mannenbach, Switzerland, November 2001.
How PBI works
PBI's work is based on non-violent philosophy and international human rights norms, with a strict respect for local laws and independent of political and religious institutions. PBI receives a variety of funding from public and private institutions from several countries.
PBI has had projects in El Salvador, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Canada, Haiti, Croatia and Serbia. Currently, PBI operates in Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Nepal and is currently carrying out exploratory missions in Honduras and Kenya.
The international structure of PBI is made up of an International Secretariat, which is composed of the International Council (IC), the International Operative Council (IOC), and the international office in London (United Kingdom). The General Assembly (GA) is the highest decision-making body in the organization and meets every three years with representation from PBI's Projects and the Country Groups.
Why does PBI work in Mexico?
During its more than 10 years of permanent presence in Mexico, PBI has witnessed the risks and insecurity for human rights defenders. In spite of the efforts by Mexican and international civil society organizations to provide visibility to this situation, there are still reports of threats, harassment, arbitrary use of the justice system, assassinations and disappearances, in an overall context of violence and a lack of recognition for the work of human rights defenders.
In 2010, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation for human rights defenders stated that in Latin America, including Mexico, there has been a considerable number of death threats to human rights defenders. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in its 2009 report (updated in 2010), “Defending human rights: between a commitment and a risk” registered cases of attacks, homicides and legal cases against human rights defenders in reprisal for their work – impunity reigns in more than 98% of these cases.
According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), between 2006 and 2010 at least 61 human rights defenders have been killed, and in the last ten years at least 66 journalists have been killed and 12 have been disappeared. The Special Rapporteurs from the UN and the IACHR presented a report in May 2011 to the UN Human Rights Council following their joint visit to Mexico in which they state, “freedom of expression in Mexico faces serious obstacles, and Mexico has become the most dangerous country to be a journalist in the Americas.”
At the request of national organizations, PBI continues to protect the space for at-risk human rights defenders so that they can continue their important work on behalf of justice and peace.
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