to our group website.  Hopefully you will find any information you want about our group, but more importantly it will inspire you to take action. The best way to keep in touch with us is via our email newsletter. This generally goes out once a month. This is changing in format as we develop the blog and  the newsletter will link to relevant actions or events, rather than being too detailed itself. The group meets every month except August at Moordown Community Centre. This is on the second Thursday, 7.30 to 9.00.  This is a sort of business/planning meeting with some letter writing. If there is a speaker or any particular change to the format it will be flagged up in the newsletter. We have a Facebook page – please go and like us! Its another excellent way of keeping in touch and joining in with actions and campaigns.

SUMMARY

Lots to report this month, but first we give a warm welcome to a new member of our team: Joe Smith, our new Brazil Coordinator, who has produced the Brazil section of this newsletter.  You will be hearing from Joe himself shortly.  In this newsletter, we report among other things on the continuing deterioration in Venezuela, the disturbing rise in murders of human rights defenders in Colombia and proposals that would seriously reduce human rights protections in Brazil.  There is good news from Chile and Paraguay, advance notice of a new campaign on Peru and a disappearance in Argentina.  You are invited to join the Lambeth Group’s annual Embassy crawl which will include a stop at the Chilean Embassy

COLOMBIA

15 of the 51 HR Defenders killed in Colombia between Jan and June 2017

15 of the 51 HR Defenders killed in Colombia between Jan and June 2017

Many thanks to everyone who wrote to the Colombian authorities about Amnesty’s concerns in Chocó department. We have already received two responses from the Office of the President in reply to your letters. Violence, forced displacements, sowing of anti-personnel mines and recruitment of child soldiers is a continuing concern. Amnesty has a mission there now. The UK embassy in Bogotá sent one of its staff to the Chocó and he has reported back his concerns to the FCO. We have also requested a response from the authorities in Bogotá via their London embassy. For a recent Public Statement by Amnesty on the situation, please download it here.

Huber Ballesteros, the leader of Colombia’s Field-Workers Union, will be visiting us at Amnesty UK’s London office on 6 September. We sent out invitations to you all last week. Huber’s trial was considered to be unfair by Amnesty and he was held in preventative detention for three years, before being finally released. Three months after his release, he received a death threat. Thanks to all of you who wrote on his behalf.

The Colombian NGO Somos Defensores (We are Defenders) report that the number of HR defenders who have been killed in the January-June period of 2017 (51 people) was a sharp increase on the same period in 2016 (35). This increase is entirely due to the activity of paramilitary groups and ‘unknowns’. The full report is in Spanish and may be downloaded here.

Front Line Defenders report that a large paramilitary group threatened five human rights defenders in the region of Barrancabermeja, known as the Oil Capital of Colombia. All five are well-known for their work on the peace process. On 17 August, the daughter of Maria Leonilda Ravelo Grimaldo, one of these HR defenders, was threatened by gunmen while walking her dog.  For the full report please click here.

The Colombian NGO Fundación Paz y Reconciliación (Peace and Reconciliation Foundation) has published an extensive report on the ongoing fighting in Tumaco, Nariño Department between 11 different armed groups. This is a struggle for control of the port and the surrounding coca growing region. The number of murders has increased by two-thirds in the first 6 months of 2017. Former FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia)  rebels have joined new armed groups, while members of the ELN (National Liberation Army) belong to others and paramilitaries and gangs from outside the region have now entered it. The local authorities are overwhelmed and the central authorities have not been able to stem the violence. For the full report in Spanish, with map, please click here The violence here, as in Chocó, and the increased killings of HR defenders illustrate the fragility of the peace agreement. [click to continue…]

Group Newsletter August 2017

September 3, 2017

Welcome to the latest newsletter. The next meeting  is on Thursday 14th September 2017, 7.30pm  at Moordown Community Centre. This newsletter is a bit earlier than usual, to publicise… Alexander Dakers is a long time Amnesty International supporter; his exhibitions have always encouraged donations to Amnesty.  He was one of the exhibitors at our own Art Exhibition in […]

Read the full article →

South America Newsletter August 2017

August 6, 2017

SUMMARY In this month’s newsletter (from the South American Team of Graham Minter and Richard Crosfield), we have good news from Chile on the decriminalisation of abortion, urgent actions on Venezuela and Colombia, and details of Amnesty’s short campaign on the crisis in Venezuela, where more than 100 people have been killed since April. In […]

Read the full article →

Group Newsletter 9th July 2017

July 9, 2017

Hello Welcome our the latest newsletter. The next meeting  is on Thursday 13th July 2017, 7.30 at Moordown Community Centre. We will have an update/letter on Cuba, photo action on Japan, letter to USA re Guantanamo prisoner, working on our Case Files and have continued planning and review of events. We don’t have any events planned over the next […]

Read the full article →

South America Newsletter July 2017

July 8, 2017

SUMMARY In this month’s newsletter (from the South American Team of Graham Minter and Richard Crosfield), we report on the recent visit to the UK of Esperanza Huayama, a leading campaigner for justice for the thousands of indigenous women submitted to forced sterilisation in Peru in the 1990s.   We report further on the crisis in […]

Read the full article →

BourneFree 2017

July 8, 2017

Last weekend we had a hugely successful return to Bournemouth’s LGBTI Pride event, BourneFree.  As in previous years we were in the Gardens with our stall from about 8.00am until 4.30pm. We also took part in the parade through Bournemouth. As you can see from the photo, our stall was a bit better than previous […]

Read the full article →

Feeding the Darkness

June 29, 2017

The Journeyman Theatre performed their critically acclaimed play “Feeding the Darkness” at the Friends Meeting House,  Boscombe, on June 25th.  The day was chosen as the following day was the United Nations, International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.  It was a powerful 65 minute performance by the duo. It was the result of extensive […]

Read the full article →

Group Newsletter June 5th 2017

June 5, 2017

Hello Welcome our the latest newsletter. The next meeting  is on Thursday 8th June 2017, 7.30 at Moordown Community Centre. We will be working on our Case Files and have continued planning, particularly about the forthcoming events listed below. The Journeyman Theatre are performing their critically acclaimed play “Feeding the Darkness” at the Friends Meeting House, 16 Warncliffe Road, Boscombe, […]

Read the full article →

South America Newsletter June 2017

June 4, 2017

The latest newsletter from the South America Team at AIUK – Richard Crosfield (Colombia), Graham Minter (Rest of South America) – we expect to have a new Brazil Coordinator onboard shortly:- “This month we report on the critical situation in Venezuela, the wide range of human rights concerns and an update on the peace process […]

Read the full article →