From last October 8th to 11th, the IM-Defensoras and members of the national networks attended a regional gathering in Colombia to assess a psycho-social focus with a gender-based perspective in the work of protecting rights defenders.
The gathering was made possible thanks to the joint effort of the International Peace Brigades (IPB) and the Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras); it brought together around 45 defenders from 20 diverse organizations in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Colombia.
For four days, the participants reflected on the challenges and opportunities offered by a psycho-social, self-care, collective-care, and healing focus in the construction of comprehensive protection strategies for women defenders at risk. At the same time, we exchanged techniques aimed at strengthening our psychological, energetic, emotional, bodily, and spiritual integrity, while ensuring the sustainability of our work in defending rights.
What’s more, we took advantage of the fact that many of the participants also belong to different national groups that make up IM-Defensoras to reflect on holistic, inclusive strategies for working together, and on the need to carry the proposals and all that we learned back to our own local realities.
At different points during the gathering we remembered and honored defender comrades who were killed as a result of their work. We agreed that they continue to motivate and lend force to our struggles and movements. We also reached a consensus on continuing to demand justice for these crimes so that impunity will not prevail.