This month we bring you news from Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Peru.

Highlights are:

  • Colombia: More from Amnesty on the need for police reform, opening with a song and dance video to remind us of the violence suffered by demonstrators during the General Strike.
  • Colombia: The government uses a mixture of negotiation and force to halt the ongoing violence in the country.
  • Venezuela: Please respond to the Urgent Action demanding medical care for three political prisoners who have been deprived of treatment for months.
  • Argentina: Please sign an Urgent Action demanding the release of a lesbian human rights activist charged with painting graffiti.
  • Argentina: In a second Urgent Action, Amnesty is demanding the withdrawal of a new pensions’ law which would deprive most pensioners of their pension.
  • Ecuador: In this Urgent Action, Amnesty is demanding that the Ecuadorian authorities protect nine girls and their families without demanding they first abandon their activism.
  • Brazil: More on police killings, this time in Sao Paulo, and how corrupt police are helping to despoil the Amazon.
  • Chile: Amnesty is calling for a full investigation of three senior officers of the Carabineros for their excessive use of force during the 2019 demonstrations.
  • Paraguay: In a new report, Paraguay’s Bill of Health, Amnesty has identified that severe and unequal gaps in access to Paraguay’s public health system.
  • Peru: The Peruvian government published a presidential decree classifying trans identities as mental health conditions.

COLOMBIA

José Hernan Tonorio Mestizo, indigenous youth leader, killed 4 July 2023, Cauca.

Amnesty International has issued a new report on grave abuses committed by the police during the National Strike of three years ago. This opens with musicians and dancers performing to remind us of the violent events where their leader lost an eye to a rubber bullet. Protesters were killed, others lost their eyes or were sexually abused. Many of these injustices remain unpunished. Some who reported the abuses have been threatened and had to flee the country. How is it possible that a police reform that ensures that these events never happen again is not part of today’s political agenda?’

Programa ‘Somos Defensores’ (We are the Defenders) lists the 168 social leaders and human rights defenders killed by ex-guerrillas, paramilitaries and criminal gangs in 2023, a 14% decline on 2022. However, the number of forced displacements doubled while there was also an increase in kidnappings and forced disappearances. Overall, there was no letting up in the violence in mainly rural areas previously occupied by FARC guerrillas, and now fought over by two FARC dissident groups, the ELN (National Liberation Army), Gaitanista paramilitaries and organised crime.

President Petro is persisting with peace initiatives and Colombia has signed the first point of a six-point deal with ELN guerrillas, following five cycles of negotiations over the last seven years. The agreement last June to set up a National Participation Committee with 80 meetings with 8,500 representatives of social organisations and communities enabled this first breakthrough.

Colombia has also announced peace talks with Iván Marquéz, former FARC leader who reneged on the Peace Accord and founded a new guerrilla group called the Segunda Marquetalia, a reference to the town of Marquetalia, where the FARC originally came from. Talks begin on 24 June in Venezuela. However, neither side has declared a ceasefire. Meanwhile, another ex-FARC group, known as EMC (Central High Command), attacked police stations and towns in several places in the Cauca region. The government sent in the Army with the President warning them that “the offensive against the EMC is total”.

The Guardian reports on the starvation of children of the Wayúu indigenous community in La Guajira. ‘Although their resource-rich environment includes assets such as coal and gas and stunning Caribbean beaches, the lack of food and water available in this arid region has left the Wayúu facing a humanitarian crisis.’ Investigators found that the inadequate supply of water is the result of corruption and the lack of trucks and deposits to supply over 1,000 communities and a population of one-third of a million.

Following a 10-day visit, UN experts urge the Government of Colombia to address systemic and institutional racism of people of African descent which they have endured for centuries. Testimonies detailed sexual and gender-based violence, rape as a weapon of war, macro-aggressions, kidnappings, femicides, brutal killings by armed groups and organised crime cartels, extortion, brutal dispossession of lands, forced recruitment of children in armed groups, enforced disappearances, enforced displacement, mutilation and utilisation of children for illegal activities. [click to continue…]

As part of our Right to Protest campaign Amnesty has scheduled an online event for  6pm 28th May. Register here: www.themovementhub.org

We are also organising a vigil outside the Embassy of Greece for 14th June 6pm comemorating the over 600 people who died when a small fishing boat packed with 750 refugees sank off the coast of Greece. Please find attached the report by Amnesty International . Please join us at the vigil if you can. Finally the Amnesty annual report is out : Amnesty Annual Report 2024

France

by Jovana Bosnjak

Ensure Muslim women and girls can play sports

 APRIL THE 6TH, 19:30 WATFORD

In April we joined Watford Local Amnesty Group in their Human Rights Iftar to talk about the issues that professional athletes who wear the hijab in France are facing. This was in support of the ’’Basket pour toutes’’ campaign, a grass root organisation formed by hijabi basketball players and allies in France, and in support of their Open Public Letter to FFBB and FIBA with a clear call to overturn the hijab ban in French basketball.

General Sports Regulations in Basketball in France, are rules which prohibits the wearing of “any equipment with a religious or political connotation” at all levels and for all categories. Since then, groups in France such as Basket pour Toutes (Basketball for All), formed by Muslim women players, coaches, and allies, have been relentlessly campaigning to overturn the discriminatory ban.

https://basketpourtoutes.org/.

Amnesty International has called on the French Basketball Federation and the French Ministry of Sport, Olympic and Paralympic Games to ensure that rules regarding the wearing of sports head coverings in competitions comply with international human rights law and do not discriminate against and violate the rights of Muslim women players who wear headgear in France.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur21/7282/2023/en/.

Right to protest in Europe. State of play, solidarity and resistance

Events with Amnesty partners, 28th of May

To raise awareness and continue demanding the protection of our rights to protest in Europe, we invite you to a webinar hosted by Amnesty International, Global Climate Legal Defense and The Movement Hub :

https://www.instagram.com/p/C6vQ1C5MzkD/; Register here: www.themovementhub.org

[click to continue…]

South America Newsletter May 2024

May 10, 2024

This month we bring you news from Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, an Urgent Action on Ecuador and summaries of Amnesty’s annual reports on all the countries that we cover.   Highlights are: Colombia – A short Amnesty film showing the devastating impact of a “less than lethal” weapon on Leidy Cadena in the April 2021 […]

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Group Newsletter May 2024

April 30, 2024

Welcome to the latest newsletter. Our next meeting  is on Thursday 2nd May 2024, 7.30pm – 9.00pm at Moordown Community Centre. We will catch up on campaigns, letter writing, and discuss new ideas about campaigning. Leidy Cadena shares her powerful personal story of what a rubber bullet did to her          Content Warning: contains scenes of injury […]

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Iftar in Ensbury Park

April 11, 2024

We co-hosted and helped organise an Iftar at Ensbury Park Community Centre on 5th April. The driving force behind it was Sister Tama, Islamic Faith Adviser at Bournemouth University. It was also supported by Grounded Community, BCP Council and BCP Shout-Out. It was third time lucky! We originally planned an event for the 21st March […]

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South America Newsletter April 2024

April 4, 2024

This month we bring you news from Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela,  Argentina and Bolivia. Highlights are: Colombia – A petition demanding that the Colombian authorities protect human rights defenders. Brazil – 2 politicians and an ex-police chief have been arrested over the murder of Marielle Franco Venezuela – Presidential Elections have been brought forward to 28 July, with leading […]

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Europe Newsletter March 2024

March 21, 2024

First some good news : Our Europe team has four country coordinators again : Lucja Jastrzebska has joined us and she will be taking over the work on Central Europe, while Ulrike will focus on the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean. Welcome Lucja! She will cover the Baltic republics, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. […]

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South America Newsletter March 2024

March 4, 2024

This month we bring you news from Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Highlights are: Venezuela  – An Urgent Action calling on the government to release human rights defender Rocio San Miguel. Venezuela – Another Urgent Action calling on the authorities to stop withholding medical care from detainees. Venezuela/Argentina – Amnesty International’s submission with the […]

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Group Newsletter February 2024

February 23, 2024

Our next meeting  is on Thursday 7th March 2024, 7.30pm – 9.00pm at Moordown Community Centre. We will catch up on campaigns, letter writing, and discuss new ideas about campaigning. We will also plan our involvement in next months Iftar, as explained below… Iftar in Bournemouth In conjunction with Feed our Community we will be hosting an Iftar […]

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South America Newsletter February 2024

February 5, 2024

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 […]

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