For several years, a small coalition of groups - including Peace Brigades International - had been planning to host Jani Silva, perhaps the most threatened woman in Colombia’s Amazon rainforest.

Jani has been an outspoken environmental defender for years, challenging the expansion of oil operations and other threats to the Amazon Pearl, a biodiverse rainforest region along the Colombia-Ecuador border. She has received innumerable death threats of different varieties, and seen several of her fellow defenders killed for their activism as recently as late 2023.

Given the threats, Jani is unable to live in her home within the Amazon Pearl. But she remains based in a regional town, and regularly returns to her territory for gatherings, youth capacity building workshops and other community events with the protective accompaniment of Peace Brigades International.

As a complement to the on-the-ground accompaniment, PBI traveled with Jani to Washington, DC in early April for a series of Congressional meetings. This kind of direct relationship building in the halls of power can provide an additional layer of protection for local activists - their new friends can raise concerns at strategic moments to send a message to the would-be assailants.

An immediate outcome of the trip was a public statement of support by Representative Jim McGovern, a stalwart champion for human rights and one of Congress's closest follower of the situation in Colombia. See a screenshot of his social media post below.


Jani was also interviewed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for an upcoming video that will promote the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act. Her appearance there will further amplify her profile as an internationally-respected activist.

Jani’s case is just one among many. Every day PBI is engaged in this type of work, though often not so high-profile. To continue, we need your support. Donate today to help us reach our fundraising goal!

Written by Andrew Miller

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