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 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 Brazil, we report on police killings and their encouragement by government figures, including President Bolsonaro. An International Donors Conference has pledged financial support for Venezuelan refugees and migrants.  In Venezuela itself, 46 prisoners were killed in an outbreak of violence in a prison. On World Environment Day (5 June), watch out for a new series of stories and videos about Women Human Rights Defenders in Peru battling against toxic contamination. There is concern about the serious situation faced by communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon whose food and water sources have been affected by a recent oil spill. There are Urgent Actions on Colombia, Venezuela and Peru. We say a sad farewell to our Brazil Coordinator, David Palmer.


Amnesty has launched a new campaign aimed at persuading authorities across the Americas to avoid resorting to repressive and overreaching measures that unduly restrict human rights in the name of “protecting” people from COVID-19. Amnesty’s Crisis Evidence Lab and regional experts have verified almost 60 incidents in the region that point to governments using arbitrary, punitive and repressive tactics. We have written to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, urging them (a) to use their influence to persuade these countries to stop the repression and (b) to support them so that they can ensure that the most vulnerable populations have access to basic services.

Amnesty has also released a report on the dire state of the rights of health workers in the Americas. The report urges countries in the region to prioritise and protect health workers’ rights during and beyond the pandemic.


Amnesty International has issued a new Urgent Action on behalf of the indigenous community ASEINPOME in central Colombia. They occupy an area which is under exploration for oil and have seen armed men lurking on their land. The community has received intimidating and extortion calls and has faced racist accusations. These situations were reported to the National Police, but to date no investigation has been started and the security forces have not been present in the locality. The Office of the Prosecutor has been informed of the complaints, however since July 2019 the community has not received any further information from the Prosecutor and their requests have not been answered.

Several organisations have written to the US State Department about the revelations that Colombian Army intelligence units compiled detailed dossiers on the personal lives and activities of at least 130 reporters, human rights defenders, politicians, judges, union leaders, and possible military whistle-blowers. In the recent past, the surveillance is far worse than a massive invasion of privacy.  The targeting of political opposition, judicial personnel, human rights defenders, and journalists leads to threats, attacks, and killings. The organisations ask for an independent international enquiry, protection by the Colombian authorities for those under surveillance, purging of the relevant files and that the Colombian government reveal publicly the full extent of illegal intelligence operations.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that 382 people in three different locations were forcibly displaced in the last 2 weeks of April, as violence in rural areas continues through the national quarantine for Covid-19.

Colombia reports 25,366 cases and 822 deaths from Covid-19. Although this is a small proportion for its population of 46 million, the number of cases is growing exponentially and has not been contained by the early establishment of quarantine measures. 5.4 million people became unemployed in April as a result  of the lockdown, which has been relaxed, except for the elderly who must remain in quarantine until at least 30 August. [click to continue…]

Europe Newsletter May 2020

May 24, 2020

As you can see from the last three posts, we have been somewhat focussed on Europe during the lockdown. This has led to some of us attending Ulrike Schmidt‘s talk from the Hammersmith group (via Zoom) on the 13th May, then our own Zoom meeting on the 20th. So we thought it useful to start […]

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Group Newsletter May 2020 UPDATE

May 18, 2020

Last September we had an excellent talk from Ulrike Schmidt – Shrinking Spaces in Europe. We delighted to announce Ulrike is giving a Zoom talk to Hammersmith & Fulham AI Group, “Human rights in Hungary, Poland and Central Europe” It’s open to everyone on Wednesday 13th May at 7.30pm. The only problem is, it clashes with […]

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Group Newsletter May 2020

May 7, 2020

The next meeting  is on Wednesday 13th May 2020, 8pm, – on ZOOM.  After a bit of experimentation we have decided to try and hold a virtual “meeting” – more of a discussion. More details below, but please reply if you would like an invite. Human Rights in Europe after COVID-19 At the start of the pandemic Amnesty […]

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Europe at a Crossroads

May 6, 2020

Last year we had a talk by Ulrike Schmidt “Shrinking Spaces for Human Rights in Europe“. She gave us an excellent overview on human rights infringements in Europe, with some actions we could take. Our group has continued to follow developments in Europe, particularly human rights infringements that don’t make the headlines. Amnesty International published […]

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South America Newsletter May 2020

May 5, 2020

This month’s newsletter includes good news regarding the release on bail of a Venezuelan journalist, an urgent action for Colombia,  two regarding Venezuela  and a petition regarding the response to Covid-19. The Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on human rights is discussed in relation to several countries. In Colombia, the killings of human rights defenders […]

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Group Newsletter April 2020

April 6, 2020

Welcome to the latest newsletter. The next meeting isn’t happening! As you would expect, for the first time since the group founded in 1986 we won’t be having a meeting in April. Unfortunately Amnesty’s work cannot be suspended. Worldwide there are concerns about measures being introduced quickly, and with limited scrutiny, becoming permanent. And vulnerable, […]

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South America Newsletter April 2020

April 1, 2020

This month we cover the impact of Covid-19 on human rights in the region as well as more general human rights news. Amnesty has issued the human rights responsibilities for state response to Covid-19 for the Americas. This includes a paper which sets out four things governments should do and four things they should not. […]

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Group Newsletter March 2020

March 8, 2020

Welcome to the latest newsletter. Happy International Women’s Day. Sadly, all over the world, activists are being imprisoned, tortured and even killed just because they’re women. More on this below. Our next meeting  is on Thursday 12th March, 7.30pm  at Moordown Community Centre. On the agenda  –  Review of campaigns and letter writing. Its also our AGM – […]

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