This month we bring you news that:

  • Colombia – The Colombian NGO Indepaz found that 187 social leaders and human rights defenders were killed in 2023, about the same number as in 2022 and 2021. There is still time to sign Amnesty International’s petition demanding that the Colombian Government improves its protection of human rights defenders, in particular members of the NGO CREDHOS.
  • Brazil – Amnesty International has reiterated its demand that the killers of the human rights defender and politician Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes be brought to trial, almost six years after the assassination.
  • Peru – The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples has warned that changes to Peru’s Forestry and Wildlife Law could legalise and encourage the dispossession of Indigenous Peoples from their lands
  • Chile – Amnesty International’s report “Eyes on Chile” and several campaigns since the repressive response to the 2019 protests – including the current Urgent Action – have called for an end to impunity for those who were in charge
  • Argentina – We have a new Urgent Action: Pierina Nochetti, a lesbian human rights activist, is facing criminal charges of “aggravated damage”.
  • Venezuela – We have published a new Urgent Action calling for the removal of a bill which will potentially criminalize Venezuelan NGOs.

COLOMBIA

Alejandro Forero Valderrama, Community Leader and Citizen Ombudsman, killed by criminal gang 13 June 2023 in Tulua, Valle del Cauca Department.

The Colombian NGO Indepaz found that 187 social leaders and human rights defenders were killed in 2023, about the same number as in 2022 and 2021.  44 former FARC guerrillas were killed in 2023, a slight reduction from the prior two years. A further 55 people were killed by landmines and 167,000 people were forcibly displaced in the year. In broad terms, violence continues at a high level despite the Government’s efforts to negotiate ceasefires with armed opposition groups. A more detailed analysis will be published by Programa Somos Defensores later in the year.

There is still time to sign Amnesty International’s petition demanding that the Colombian Government improves its protection of human rights defenders, in particular members of the NGO CREDHOS.

Justice for Colombia carries an update on the peace talks with the ELN and EMC guerrillas. Negotiations with the ELN (National Liberation Army) are into their sixth cycle of talks in Havana. Negotiators will focus on a ceasefire extension, an end to hostage-taking and enhancing the participation of civil society groups. Meanwhile, the EMC (FARC members who refused to abide by the 2016 Peace Accord) have agreed a six-month ceasefire extension to 15 July.

The BBC reports that the Colombian Government has approved regulations that encourage indigenous and Afro-descendant communities to produce energy from renewable sources and sell the power to the national grid. Over 70% of the country’s energy is supplied by hydroelectric dams, which can harm the environment and local communities. President Petro says that he wants to diversify Colombia’s energy mix.

The body of Eimer Emilio Gómez David, former member of the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó (PCSJA), was found 12 December. He had been tortured and killed, presumably by former paramilitaries who still operate in the region. The PCSJA reports that former paramilitaries continue to occupy their territory and threaten their members while soldiers from the 16th Brigade stand idly by. The Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently wrote to AIUK’s Mayfair and Soho Group to say that he had given orders to the Brigade to hunt down these former paramilitaries. [click to continue…]

The latest update from the AIUK Europe Country Coordinators Team; we wish you a happy 2024 and lots of energy: we will need it. There is a lot to do.

On 14th December Amnesty International released the report into the causes of the shipwreck at Pylos, where hundreds of people died. It makes very disturbing reading. Please see the full report below.

We have more shocking news : the El Hiblu 3, three young boys who translated between 100 refugees and the captain of the El Hiblu, negotiating the rescue of the refugees on board, are now charged with crimes that could lead, if prosecuted to life-long prison sentences. Amnesty International is campaigning for the charges to be dropped. Please sign and share the petition!

Demand justice for the El Hiblu 3 – Amnesty International

Greece

 

On 14 June 2023, of a boat with 750 people from Syria, Pakistan and Egypt capsized off Pylos, Greece. Only 104 survived and only 82 bodies were recovered. Survivors said that the Hellenic Coast Guard towed their boat, causing it to capsize, and was slow to activate rescue operations. Investigations have made little progress, while survivors’ testimony points to potential procedural shortcomings. Over 500 are missing and presumed dead.

On 14th December Amnesty International released the report into the causes and circumstances of this tragedy. It makes shocking reading.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch interviewed 21 survivors, 5 relatives of 5 people still missing, and representatives of the Hellenic Coast Guard, the Greek police, nongovernmental organizations, United Nations and international agencies and organizations.

They found that in the 15 hours between receiving the first alert that the Adriana was in their search-and-rescue region, and when it capsized, Greek authorities failed to mobilize appropriate resources for a rescue. The authorities were clearly aware of indicators of distress, such as overcrowding and insufficient food and water, on the Adriana, and, survivors said, knew about corpses on board and requests for rescue.

Survivors’ testimonies also challenge the authorities’ claim that people on the Adriana did not want to be rescued, which in any event would not have relieved the Hellenic Coast Guard of its obligation to take all measures necessary to ensure safety at sea. Survivors consistently said that they pleaded repeatedly for rescue, including to the Coast Guard itself.

Survivors said that a Coast Guard patrol boat attached a rope to the Adriana and pulled, causing the boat to capsize. They also alleged that, after the boat capsized, the Coast Guard boat was slow to activate rescue operations, failed to maximize the number of people rescued, and engaged in dangerous manoeuvres.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2023/12/greece-6-months-on-no-justice-for-pylos-shipwreck/

This is the full report:- Greece: 6 months on No Justice for Pylos Shipwreck  Please also see the video with the account of a survivor below:-

[click to continue…]

South America Newsletter January 2024

January 8, 2024

This month we bring you news that: Regional – there is a new report by several NGOs on how armed criminal gangs have expanded their presence in the Amazon, threatening indigenous inhabitants. Peru – Amnesty has a petition calling for the perpetrators of the killings during last year’s protests to be prosecuted. Colombia – Amnesty […]

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Write for Rights Events 2023

December 15, 2023

Thanks to everyone who supported us for two events at Bournemouth Library and, for the first time, at The Social Canteen in Boscombe. One of our group also got her church involved – the Parish of Four Saints. Many thanks to the library staff for their help in facilitating the events, ensuring everything was in […]

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Write for Rights 2023

December 5, 2023

Write for Rights (W4R) is Amnesty International’s annual campaign, sending greetings cards to prisoners of conscience, their families and other human rights defenders around the world. In 2022, more than 5 million messages of support and appeal letters were sent during the W4R campaign. They made a big difference to the people and communities confronting […]

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South America Newsletter December 2023

December 5, 2023

This month we bring you news that: Regional – Amnesty has a new report focused on human rights defenders in the Americas, the world’s deadliest region for those defending land, territory and the environment. Colombia – Amnesty has a new report on the lack of a safe space to defend human rights in Colombia, calling […]

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Europe Newsletter November 2023

November 28, 2023

The latest update from the AIUK Europe Country Coordinators Team:- Introduction As the year 2023 nears its closure we can report some positive developments from Türkiye and Poland but there are still many Human Rights Challenges! Please find an Urgent Action for Türkiye. There are also leaflets for the 2 demonstrations we are organising: For […]

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Group Newsletter end November 2023

November 27, 2023

Welcome to the latest newsletter. Please note we won’t be meeting at Moordown In December, as we are gathering for two Write 4 Rights (W4R) events instead (see below). Our next meeting at Moordown Community Centre  is on Thursday 4th January 2024, 7.30pm – 9.00pm. Write for Rights 2023: Justyna Wydrzyńska W4R 2023 It’s great to announce that Bournemouth library […]

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Quiz Night Autumn 2023

November 12, 2023

Many thanks to everyone who came to our Quiz Night, We had a great evening and raised over £250. Special thanks to the Brunswick again for giving us a great venue, for free. Also David Rogers for setting the questions and Sally Hawksworth for being the hostess. If you missed you can download copies below. […]

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South America Newsletter November 2023

November 9, 2023

This month we bring you news that: Colombia – Colombia’s Defence Minister has apologised to the families whose sons were wrongly killed by the military. Venezuela – The Supreme Court has suspended the results of October’s opposition primary election. Brazil – Amnesty’s Write for Rights 2023 campaign features Ana Maria Santos Cruz, who is fighting […]

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