Presenter: Katherine Hughes-Fraitekh / Associate Director, Field Initiatives for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
Date: Thursday, June 11th, 2015
Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Description: At a time when human rights defenders, activists and broader civil resistance movements around the world are growing, but concurrently under increased attack, the tried and true methods of unarmed civilian protection, protective accompaniment and proactive presence provide methods for international civil society to assist. These nonviolent methods allow internationals to broaden the political space for civil resistance movements by deterring violence, providing empowerment and hope, and supporting cultural and institutional reforms. International presence as protection is not a new concept, but the modern concept of active, nonpartisan, physical accompaniment by internationals to protect civilians in conflict was pioneered by groups such as Peace Brigades International and Witness for Peace in the 1980s. The field has greatly expanded in the last 30 years.
Protective accompaniment, and the broader unarmed civilian protection, works with a wide array of groups, including those dealing with enforced disappearance, corruption, victim’s and indigenous rights, environmentalists, and gender justice. In doing their work, accompaniers can have similar strategic and tactical considerations to the nonviolent activists that they aim to protect, including engaging in cost/benefit analysis, dissuasion, deterrence, and mobilizing broad networks.
Methods of protective accompaniment have demonstrated impact, and have potential to grow and be utilized much more extensively in conflicts around the world. This interactive workshop will give detailed information, case studies and examples of how protective accompaniment works and in which situations it is the most/least effective. We will discuss what international and regional organizations/mechanisms can be used to support this strategy, issues of relevant international law, and how protective accompaniment locally can have major policy impacts at the regional and international levels. The workshop leader has extensive experience both practically and theoretically in the field.