Human rights defenders do their work in unpredictable and often dangerous situations and conditions around the world. Unarmed accompaniment provides a powerful witness to those who may wish to harm defenders, letting them know their actions will be known.
Many organizations and people around the world have been involved in the amazing gift of providing unarmed protection to human rights defenders. This is not a new tactic - it probably dates back before written history - for bravery and sacrifice are as much a part of our human make-up as violence and self-gain. But we also know that tactics shift and change with the demands of the times. What has this tactic meant to us in OUR time?
Philippe Duhamel, in his inter-Tactica blog shares about his friend, Barbara, in "Heros and the courage to be there"
When my friend Barbara left in 1985, the whole accompaniment thing was barely starting. A small-scale intrepid outfit on a shoestring. She joined Peace Brigades International, to protect families of the disappeared in Guatemala.
David Grant, from the Nonviolence Peaceforce, shared with New Tactics that there are many organizations involved [over 80 organizations around the world in the Nonviolent Peaceforce Network] in providing unarmed accompaniment. Let's share where we have come in our time. One question Philippe posed in his blog: "How is accompaniment different in the various countries where projects are now underway?"