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…

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 to take action on the two South America cases featured in this year’s Write for Rights Campaign – Gustavo Gatica (Chile) and Jani Silva (Colombia) – as well as the updated Urgent Action regarding protection of the family of killed Peruvian Human Rights Defender, Roberto Carlos Pacheco.  We record our meeting with the Chilean Ambassador to discuss Amnesty’s report on the repression of the October 2019 protests.  Amnesty has called on the Peruvian authorities to place respect for human rights at the heart of their response to the political and social crisis there, while AI Brazil has called on Brazilian society to intensify its ‘anti-racial struggle’.


Police abuse, resulting in hundreds of serious injuries and many unlawful killings, has been a feature of many of our recent newsletters.  In an article in the New York Times, Human Rights Watch offer comment on this, highlighting Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Bolivia, and attributing the problem to pervasive impunity, lack of oversight and an institutional culture that permits and, at times, encourages abuse. It calls on governments urgently to enact reforms in three areas: protocols and equipment for crowd-control; authority to detain protesters and the treatment of detainees; and accountability for abuses.


Jonh Fredy Alvarez Quinaya, President of ASTRACAL, killed 11 January 2020

Jonh Fredy Alvarez Quinaya, President of ASTRACAL, killed 11 January 2020

We ask you to take action to protect Colombian human right rights defenders by signing a petition demanding that Congress establish a commission to verify and guarantee their protection. Although there are numerous laws and institutions that are supposed to protect HRDs and their communities, killings and threats continue to multiply. Congress should demand accountability via a commission of experts.

One of the cases in this year’s Write for Rights campaign features Jani Silva, a Colombian  environmental defender who, despite threats to her life, continues to fight for the conservation of the Amazon ecosystem and for the rights of hundreds of campesinos.  You can sign an online petition here and take the actions set out in the Write for Rights booklet available here.

The killings of 95 human rights defenders (HRDs) in the first half of 2020 were 68% higher than for the same period of 2019, according to the NGO Programa Somos Defensores (‘We Are Defenders Programme’; the report is in Spanish).  A further 13 HRDs were forcibly disappeared, compared to none in 2019.  Of the 95 HRDs killed between January and June 2020, ten were women and eighty-five were men.


HRDs by category killed Jan to June 2020 Number
Community leaders      45
Rural peasant community leaders      19
Indigenous community leaders      17
Afro-descendant community leaders        3
Environmental leaders        3
Youth leaders        2
LGBTI leader        1
Academic leader        1

In 36 cases the perpetrators have been identified.  Of those that were identified:


Presumed responsible for killing HRDs Jan to June 2020
Paramilitaries          39%
Dissident FARC guerrillas          33%
Armed Forces          17%
ELN guerrillas          11%

The report highlights the increase in killings by dissident FARC guerrillas, who have increased their range in Colombia, and by the armed forces, whose efforts to make the countryside more secure for rural communities ‘could have had the opposite effect and that it is not effective in preventing and protecting these communities’.

A new report from Human Rights Watch points to the intentional killing of detainees during a riot at Bogotá’s Modelo prison in March.  24 prisoners died and 107 people were injured, including 76 detainees and 31 prison guards.  Autopsies by forensic scientists found that “most of the gunshot wounds described in the autopsy reports are consistent with having been produced with the objective of killing”.

Good news! The Senate has passed a law that extends the right of victims of the civil war to reclaim their land for a further 10 years, to 2031. Originally, the law did not permit claims beyond 2021.

The Colombian authorities report that the number of people infected by Covid-19 has fallen to under half the rate prevailing in mid-August. The government has said that it will vaccinate everyone who wants to be vaccinated free of charge.  How this will be implemented, particularly in rural areas lacking healthcare facilities, is a problem. [click to continue…]

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:- 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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Syrian Conflict: the Human Impact

October 4, 2020

Talk by Revd Dr. Andrew Ashdown Wednesday 21st October 7.30pm Jane Waller from the New Forest Group 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 […]

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South America Newsletter October 2020

October 3, 2020

This month, we update you on developments in Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Argentina,  Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay.  We alert you to three recent or upcoming Amnesty reports: on the use of repressive, mandatory quarantines under COVID-19 in three countries in the Americas; on the lack of protection for Human Rights Defenders in Colombia; and […]

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Zoom Meeting September 2020

September 12, 2020

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 […]

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