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…

HIGHLIGHTS

This month, we update you on developments in Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile and Ecuador.  Amnesty has issued a report, several statements and an Urgent Action in response to the human rights violations committed during the current National Strike and protests in Colombia.  We report further indiscriminate shootings by police in Brazil and continuing attacks on indigenous communities.  Amnesty has launched a new campaign calling on the Government of Peru to protect indigenous communities at risk from toxic metal contamination.  In Venezuela, thousands have fled to Colombia to escape intense clashes between the Venezuelan army and Colombian rebel groups, while there has also been an increase in repression of Human Rights Defenders.

COLOMBIA

Luisa Avila Henao (23), LGBTI rights defender, kidnapped,  tortured and killed in Buga, Colombia, 3 August 2020

Luisa Avila Henao (23), LGBTI rights defender, kidnapped,  tortured and killed in Buga, Colombia, 3 August 2020

As the National Strike moves into its second month, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights calls for an end to all forms of violence.  In only the last three days, 14 people have died, and 98 people have been injured, 54 of them by firearms during violence that erupted in Cali where demonstrations were taking place to commemorate a month of the strike.

On 29 May, President Duque ordered the militarisation of part of the country in response to ongoing anti-government protests and popular uprisings. This increased military control over seven departments.  The president also ordered the “maximum deployment of military assistance for the National Police” in Cali and 12 other cities.

Amnesty International’s Secretary General has written an open letter to President Duque, cataloguing human rights abuses committed by the security forces using excessive force against mainly peaceful demonstrators during the National Strike. Amnesty denounces the use of inflammatory language and stigmatising social protest from political leaders and public officials. Amnesty calls on the authorities to ‘Prosecute, and punish all those responsible for human rights violations, including members of the security forces and armed civilians’ groups in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts.’

Amnesty has issued an Urgent Action calling on President Duque to end the violent response of the security forces to protestors, who are calling for better social and economic measures.

Amnesty is calling on the United States to ‘immediately cease the direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of equipment used for repression such as small arms, shotguns, and related ammunition; less-lethal equipment, such as tear gas, riot control projectiles and launchers; armoured vehicles, dual-use surveillance technologies, training, and any other technical or financial assistance.’ This is in light of verified visual evidence that United States weapons and equipment are being misused to commit human rights violations against protesters in Colombia

Amnesty has issued a report, Colombia: Concerning reports of disappearances and sexual violence against protesters, including a video showing how the security forces used excessive force against protesters during the early stages of the National Strike.

In another statement, Amnesty has focussed on the violence against indigenous peoples. ‘The attacks by armed civilians, some in the presence of the police, against the Indigenous Minga (gathering) in Cali are a reflection of the ceaseless dynamics of violence in Colombia that have been accentuated during the social protests related to the National Strike.’ Several members of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) were injured.

According to The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 106,000 Colombians were forcibly displaced in 2020 despite spending most of last year in Covid-19 lockdown. The Colombian NGO Programa Somos Defensores reports that killings of human rights defenders increased from 124 in 2019 to 199 in 2020, an increase of 60%. We will be analysing who were the targets and who were the perpetrators and why in next month’s newsletter. [click to continue…]

Europe Newsletter May 2021

May 9, 2021

The great news  : We are a full Europe team again and you will be finding a  Newsletter full of Actions and information. As a team we have adopted 2 long term casefiles in addition to Eren Keskin in Turkey  : Frederic Vuillaume in France and the El Hiblu 3 in Malta. Groups who are […]

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South America Newsletter May 2021

May 6, 2021

Dear Friends, This month we bring you updates on human rights issues in Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Argentina, what the change in President for Peru could mean for human rights and which countries have not ratified the Escazú Agreement. Human rights abuses continue to mount in Venezuela and Colombia. Please sign the […]

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Group Newsletter May 2021

April 29, 2021

Welcome to the latest newsletter. Our usual newsletter schedule, like our meetings, has been somewhat disrupted of late. This issue flags up some pending dates and links to campaigns, talks and other events. The newsletter is being sent out as we hear the awful news that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been sentenced to another year in prison […]

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Group Newsletter April 2021

April 28, 2021

Welcome to the latest newsletter. Our usual newsletter schedule, like our meetings, has been somewhat disrupted of late. This issue flags up some pending dates and links to campaigns, talks and other events. The newsletter is being sent out as we hear the awful news that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been sentenced to another year in prison […]

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South America Newsletter April 2021

April 10, 2021

This month, we update you on developments in Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. Amnesty International has delivered a petition signed by over 1 million people to mark the third anniversary of the murder of Marielle Franco in Brazil and has urged the Venezuela government to address the widespread human rights violations […]

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Europe Newsletter March 2021

March 30, 2021

Welcome to the March edition of our newsletter. There is an Urgent Action on Turkey, a public Statement in support of the Saturday mothers in Turkey , an update on the “El Hiblu 3” campaign and a toolkit devised by the Roma support group to help those who are supporting Roma children and families to […]

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Latest Actions

March 13, 2021

At our meeting on Thursday 11th, we worked our way though a few actions – mainly online. Amnesty has improved this process considerably over recent months.  These have been taken from several different sources  – from local groups newsletters, AIUK emails and the action pages from Amnesty International “take action” sites around the world. Do […]

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Europe Update

March 6, 2021

We have some great news to celebrate! On 2 March the court declared the verdict in the trial against our 3 brave Women Human Rights defenders who were absurdly charged with”insulting religion” which in Poland can carry a prison sentence of 2 years. Despite the political pressures on judges by the Minister of Justice and […]

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South America Newsletter March 2021

March 6, 2021

This month, we update you on developments in Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Peru and Paraguay.  There are three live Urgent Actions – two for Colombia and one for Venezuela – and we shall shortly add the case of Gustavo Gatica (Chile) to our portfolio of long-term cases.  Amnesty has published the results of […]

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