marielle francoMarielle Franco was born and raised in a favela in Rio, Brazil. An elected councillor, she worked tirelessly to promote the rights of black women, LGBTI and young people.

Marielle inspired many people. She refused to stay silent about police killings and continued to speak out against injustice right up until hours before her brutal killing in March 2018. A car pulled up beside hers, and Marielle was shot four times in the head. Her driver Anderson Pedro Gomes was also killed.

People who defend human rights in Brazil, like Marielle, are often attacked or threatened. The authorities do not respond adequately – and most of these crimes go completely unpunished. Two ex military policemen are currently under arrest; unfortunately that can often lead to no further action. We need to maintain the spotlight on her case.

Marielle dedicated her life to speaking out for LGBTI, black and women’s rights in Brazil. She paid the ultimate price for defending human rights.

Demand a full, independent investigation into her murder by signing the AIUK petition to the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro. Click on the link below…

We hope you are doing well. This month, we update you on developments in Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile.

We have some good news to start 2021. Argentina legalised abortion. International pressure on the President and the Senators was crucial. Paraguayan authorities have opened an investigation into the attack on Bernarda Pesoa, leader of a Qom community, and they have provided her with protection. Bolivia’s civil registry has authorised for the first time a same-sex civil union following a two-year legal battle on what is the first step to future changes in marriage law.

 We ask you to sign Amnesty International’s petition to Colombia’s Congress to protect human rights defenders. Presently, 22 Army generals are being investigated for the extrajudicial killings of over 1,000 young men in Colombia. Amnesty International prepared a submission for the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of Paraguay in May 2021, outlining human rights violations of indigenous people. A report by the Office of Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has concluded that there are reasonable bases to believe that crimes against humanity have taken place in Venezuela.

 COVID-19 Impact on South America.

As vaccinations are taking place around the world, confirmed coronavirus cases are rising in South America, having a negative impact on these countries’ economies. The lack of safety measures, miscommunication from governments and the decision to avoid future lockdowns present a challenging scenario for the region, in addition to the unequal distribution and access of the vaccine. As of January 2020, Brazil reports nearly 8 million deaths from Covid-19, Argentina 44,273 deaths, Peru 38,049 deaths, Chile 16,974 deaths, Ecuador 14,165 and Colombia 45,431 deaths.

COLOMBIA

Gloria Isabel Ocampo, rural community leader killed by dissident FARC 7 January 2020

 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet condemned the heightened violence being carried out by non-state armed groups targeting peasants, indigenous and Afro-Colombian people, and called on State authorities to take concrete actions to effectively protect the population.

 So far in 2020, the UN Human Rights Office in Colombia has documented 66 massacres, in which 255 people have been killed. In addition, the Office has received information on the killing of 120 human rights defenders so far this year. The Nasa community has been one of the worse affected indigenous groups with 66 of its members in Northern Cauca department reported killed in 2020.

 Please sign Amnesty International’s petition to Colombia’s Congress to protect human rights defenders here.

 The Attorney General informed the International Criminal Court that 22 Colombian Army generals are being investigated for the extrajudicial killings of over 1,000 young men between 2004 and 2008. Known as ‘False Positives’, the Army kidnapped and killed innocent men, claiming that they were armed guerrillas. 544 soldiers from the Army’s First Division are in the process of being charged for such crimes.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that in December more than 900 indigenous people have been displaced in Bahia Solano, Chocó, following the assassination of the community leader. The 2016 peace agreement with the FARC ‘was a highly significant development and a prerequisite for achieving durable solutions for the country’s 5 million IDPs. However, obstacles remain including compensation, land and property restitution, and implementation of points agreed in the peace deal.’

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) found that the violence, intimidation, harassment and threats suffered by the Colombian Collective Lawyers Corporation (CAJAR) was linked to their activities in defence of human rights. And it ‘was encouraged by the State’s arbitrary intelligence work as well as stigmatizing pronouncements by high officials. This situation constitutes not only a serious breach of the duty to protect, but it was also actions that were openly contrary to that duty, with the necessary implications in attributing responsibility to the State for the acts of violence, threat and harassment against CAJAR.’

Human Rights Watch has submitted an opinion to the Constitutional Court in a case brought to decriminalise abortion in Colombia. ‘Access to abortion is legal in Colombia in cases of rape, incest, unwanted artificial insemination, severe fetal abnormality and to protect the person’s life or health. But even when they have a legal right to abortion, women face problems getting one.’ [click to continue…]

Group Newsletter January 2021

January 13, 2021

Welcome to the latest newsletter. We have not planned a meeting for January. Obviously we cannot currently meet at Moordown Community Centre. Whilst we have had some success with Zoom, it seems to work best when we have a specific purpose – such as letter writing (see Write 4 Rights below) or a speaker. But […]

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Europe Newsletter December 2020

January 4, 2021

This newsletter came from the Central and Eastern Europe A.I.U.K. coordinator Ulrike Schmidt, with a report on Belarus from Tess Linton.  But it also contains information on Western Europe – specifically France – from the Western Europe coordinator Anna Radzikowska:- “Dear Amnesty Activists and supporters Hard and uncertain times for all of us. Please stay […]

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Group Newsletter December 2020

December 5, 2020

Welcome to the latest newsletter. We are not having a meeting, as such, this month but more of a social gathering online to celebrate Write 4 Rights. This will be Thursday 10th December (world human rights day) at 8pm  Details below. Write for Rights Every year in December Amnesty International has encouraged and helped groups send greetings […]

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South America Newsletter December 2020

December 2, 2020

This month, we update you on developments in Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia and on the rising prevalence of police abuse in the region. We ask you to participate in Amnesty’s social media campaign to support the legalisation of abortion in Argentina; to sign a petition to protect Colombian Human Rights Defenders; and […]

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Group Newsletter November 2020

November 9, 2020

Welcome to the latest newsletter. The next meeting  is on Thursday 8th October 8.00pm – on ZOOM.  Obviously our plans to return to Moordown Community Centre are even further away. . Do join us if you can. There will be campaign updates and a discussion on future plans. In particular is there is anything we can do re Write […]

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South America Newsletter November 2020

November 8, 2020

We are pleased to welcome Carla Torres to our team as Country Coordinator for Argentina and Chile. This month, we update you on developments in Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina. We have new Amnesty reports on human rights defenders in Colombia and police violence in Chile, an update on illegal […]

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Europe Newsletter November 2020

November 1, 2020

This newsletter came from the Central and Eastern Europe A.I.U.K. coordinator Ulrike Schmidt, with a report on Belarus from Tess Linton.  But it also contains information on Western Europe – specifically France – from the Western Europe coordinator Anna Radzikowska:- “Over the last few months we have admired the courage of women leading the protests […]

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Video Meeting October 2020

October 9, 2020

Issues Discussed 8th October 2020 We discussed at length the forthcoming talk on Syria, 21st October,  by Revd Dr Andrew Ashdown:- https://amnestyat50.co.uk/syrian-conflict-the-human-impact The big issue is to how to promote locally and whether to invite other AI groups. Please can everyone let their personal contacts know and share within any groups they are involved with […]

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Group Newsletter October 2020

October 5, 2020

Welcome to the latest newsletter. The next meeting  is on Thursday 8th October 8.00pm – on ZOOM.  Obviously our plans to return to Moordown Community Centre have been put on hold. Do join us if you can. There will be campaign updates and a discussion on future plans. In particular we will review plans for our Syria talk […]

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