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…

Issues discussed 10th September:-

Moordown Community Centre (MCC)

MCC have been in contact with plans to reopen next week on 14th September.  Groups will be required to complete a risk assessment – DR has been in contact and MCC and they are devising their own to complete. However, the announcement this week of a maximum of 6 people per gathering has now made us returning next month unrealistic. We will hold a Zoom meeting instead on 8th October.

We did discuss other ways forward, such as adopting the model used by the New Forest group of having a small planning committee (that could be more flexible where it meets) and having bigger meetings with a speaker (which could now more easily be arranged to be over video platforms like Zoom), or “open forums”. The issue of whether, when MCC does reopen fully, we can still have people we don’t know turn up without  “booking in” was also discussed. But with so much uncertainty all ideas remain on the table.

Quiz Night

Sadly this is now unrealistic with current restrictions. Online charity quizzes are popular and can be investigated further. But with no desperate need for funds this wasn’t seen as a priority.

Write 4 Rights

With recent changes in restrictions its hard to predict how amenable the library will be to hosting an event. New practical issues were flagged up – disinfecting pens, maintaining distancing, etc – which will present new challenges if we need to implement. But how necessary would such steps would be?  Organisations vary enormously in how they apply COVID precautions. We will just have to be flexible and adaptable. But we remain hopeful of holding some sort of W4R event.

Speaker on Syria

JW from the New Forest Group had recommended booking the Revd Dr. Andrew Ashdown. She attended a Zoom talk of his on Syria and found it very informative (and well presented).  Whilst the talk will highlight the dire situation and flag up some Human Rights abuses, he is not an “Amnesty specific” speaker. We agreed to try and facilitate this on an evening in mid October or November.

Update

Andrew is agreeable to do this. He sent this information:

“The Syrian conflict: the human impact.”

Revd Dr. Andrew Ashdown has made multiple visits to Syria since 2014, (and visited the country several times before the way) and has travelled extensively in Syria as a guest of local Church communities.  He has visited communities close to the frontlines and most affected by the war, including many internally displaced, and refugees in Lebanon and Iraq.  Last year, he was awarded a PhD for his thesis on Christian-Muslim relations in Syria both before and during the war and the importance of the Eastern Christian paradigm in that dynamic.  His work will be published in a book by Routledge in November for global distribution.  As well as continuing a priestly ministry, Dr. Ashdown is Manager of Good Governance and Advocacy Development for an International Charity.

In this illustrated talk, Andrew will describe the complex, diverse religious and social landscape of the country, some of the realities on the ground during the war, and the human impact of the conflict.  There will be time for Questions and Discussion.

Local Groups Newsletter

DR has received this from AIUK and subsequently forwarded it to those at the meeting. He flagged up two items:-

Marielle Franco mosaic. This was done by the Southampton group by taking photographs walking around the city. The resulting mosaic is now in the Sea City Museum!

Auction of Promises. This was done by the Croydon group as a fundraiser. They put together “offers” by group members, circulated asking for bids, and raised 500 pounds.

DR will seek more information about both of these.

Update:

This is the Croydon groups list of promises

Auction of Promises, Skills and Experiences

1. A £25 Uber voucher
2. A succulent plant in a beautiful glazed pot from Prick, London delivered within the Croydon area
3. 2 tickets and 2 drinks for a Folk and Blues Night at Ruskin House once it re-opens.
4. A picnic by the sea to include transport for up to 2 people from Croydon and a short walk on a date to be arranged.
5. An Irish soda bread loaf, a lemon drizzle cake, a Fair Trade banana loaf and a jar of Fair Trade marmalade delivered within the Croydon area.
6. For those who love walking- a guided trail walk (any distance) on local footpaths-discover some hidden local gems.
7. A £50 Amazon voucher
8. Collection and disposal of rubbish to the municipal skip-one journey. Rubbish must be sorted into plastic, wood, metal etc and be in suitable bags where possible. Items must be able to fit into a small, family car. Paint and toxic or harmful waste will be rejected.
9. Language conversation practice in French or Kiswahili (holiday conversation standard only).
10. £20 Marks and Spencer voucher
11. A number of old National Theatre programmes- 1996-2018-delivered within the Croydon area.
12. A place on a virtual workshop. Details attached. 10 places available.
13. For those who love running a guided trail run (any distance) on local footpaths-discover some hidden local gems.
14. For those new to running an offer to run with you at your local parkrun-or help you to a new personal best. Perhaps you are new to running and want company for a bit of confidence. The person making the offer is not a coach or expert but she is happy to
offer tips or will try to answer questions from her experiences of running between 5-50 miles.
15. Eight scones, jam and clotted cream delivered within the Croydon area
16. A £50 Amazon Voucher
17. Guided tour of Cambridge colleges (free entry to colleges).

From Southampton Group:-

Thanks for getting in touch.   The collage of Marielle was something we had tried with an earlier case.  That was very well received.  When the lockdown was imposed, one of our group suggested we try this idea with a current case.  We took photos every day and sent them to our technical wizard to build into a mosaic.  He tried out three photos and, once we stepped up our efforts to send even more pictures the result was much improved.  I thought Richard Crossfield had sent all three mosaics to all the group working on Marielle’s case.  Just to make sure you get the right information, I’m going to forward your email to Giampaolo, our Chair and technical wizard. He will be able to give you details of the programme he used and can forward the final mosaics to you.
A further update from their chair

I am glad that you were intrigued by our mosaic. Over the lockdown period members of the Southampton group have taken photos or collected old photos and used them to create three mosaics of Marielle Franco, using standard Amnesty photos of her. I have attached a reduced version of one of the mosaics so that you can see what I mean. The mosaics look fine only when printed on a large scale. At a distance the tesserae blend in and you can see the original photo. Close by it is possible to distinguish the individual tesserae (depending on the size of the printed version they are between 5 and 10 mm wide) and see the constituent photo.

The mosaic has not yet been printed out. We have deposited the image files of the mosaics with the Southampton Sea City museum and we hope that they will display it as part of an exhibition on Southampton in the times of Covid, possibly next year. Once life becomes more normal we plan to print one or more mosaics and approach local art venues and the central library to ask them whether they would like to display them. The central library has always been very receptive and we hope that they will be happy to show at least one.

If there are any venues in your group’s area which may be interested in displaying the mosaic at some more “normal” time we could coordinate approaching them and providing them with the mosaics.

Southampton Groups Mosaic

Campaigns

The latest newsletter from the South America team is on the blog; LP has forwarded the Eastern European newsletter; LF has received a huge amount of information relating to China and will forward. There hasn’t been a recent update on the Marielle Franco case file.

We did reflect that one of the consequences of not meeting up is we haven’t been writing letters, which has been a regular feature of our work. We will all try to rectify this individually.

Finances

As a consequence of not paying out postage or room hire, and no imminent commitments with cost implications, there are no concerns. We also received a donation of stamps earlier this year which would cover any W4R event if we can hold them.

Next meeting

Will be on October 8th pm on Zoom. DR will “host” again as we agreed to pay for a Zoom update to facilitate the speaker (although we will investigate other platforms). This can be cancelled after one month and will only cost 12 pounds. DR stressed he doesn’t want to take over as chair and we should revert to rotating the hosting if online meetings have to persist.

Please use the contact link if you want more information about issues above. Better still sign up for our newsletter to get regular updates.

Groups Newsletter September 2020

September 7, 2020

Welcome to the latest newsletter. The next meeting  is on Thursday 10th September, 8.00pm – on ZOOM.  Moordown Community Centre is about to reopen (see below) – one subject for discussion on Thursday is how we continue to meet and communicate.  Do join us if you can. There will be campaign updates and a discussion on future plans. Please reply […]

Read the full article →

South America Newsletter September 2020

September 5, 2020

This month we report on human rights abuses related to measures taken by the authorities to combat Covid-19 in Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina. In Venezuela and Argentina the systematic human rights abuses by the security forces have been exposed during the pandemic. In Colombia, the killing, forced disappearances and threats to social leaders […]

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South America Newsletter August 2020

August 12, 2020

ELN Guerrillas in Chocó, Colombia Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action on behalf of the Human Rights Defender Jani Silva, who has received death threats from an armed group called “La Mafia”.  They oppose the voluntary crops substitution programme that Jani Silva is promoting in the Putumayo region of Colombia.  According to NGOs, “La […]

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Group Newsletter July 2020

July 11, 2020

Welcome to the latest newsletter. The next meeting  is on Thursday 16th July 2020, 8.00pm, – on ZOOM.  Our initial Zoom meetings have been quite successful, so we will persevere with this platform whilst other options remain closed. A reminder it’s more of a discussion than a “meeting”, so do join us if you can. There will be […]

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South America Newsletter July 2020

July 1, 2020

This month we have a good news item from Colombia and an Urgent Action on Venezuela. The Colombia section explores the data on killings of human rights defenders (HRDs) plus the latest forced evictions and news on anti-personnel mines. We follow the fate of Venezuelan immigrants in Peru, the excessive use of force by the […]

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Group Newsletter June 2020

June 18, 2020

Welcome to the latest newsletter. The next meeting  is on Thursday 18th June 2020, 8.00pm, – on ZOOM.  After the inaugural Zoom meeting last month proved a success, we will give it a go again this week. Its more of a discussion than a meeting. There will be updates on Europe and Refugee week – more details below, […]

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Central & Eastern Europe Newsletter June 2020

June 16, 2020

The situation for Human Rights worldwide is not improving, but campaigning pays a vital role in protecting and improving human rights. Please continue the great and vital work you are doing ! There are a number of very urgent Actions in this Newsletter. Please take action and distribute as far and wide as you can. […]

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South America Newsletter June 2020

June 3, 2020

This month, we inform you of two new regional campaigns aimed at addressing the impact of COVID-19 on human rights in the Americas. We also report specific COVID-19-related developments and concerns in individual countries.  In Colombia, there are reports of further forcible displacements and the targeting of Human Rights Defenders by the security forces.  In […]

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