May 2014 News Update – South America Region

As a local group we are signed up to the South America Region Network. Their coordinators focus specifically on the countries featured below and send us actions when they turn up.

In this update we focus on Brazil as we build up to the FIFA World Cup. We bring great news about an indigenous community in Paraguay. We report on the Colombian presidential elections, including letters sent to the 5 presidential candidates. We report on the continuing crisis in Venezuela. We remind you of the launch of the Stop Torture campaign on 14th May at the Human Rights Action Centre.


This week sees the launch of the online yellow card action on Brazil to coincide with the FIFA World Cup. The UK petition is now live.

The aim is to raise over 10,000 UK signatures with your help. We also supply an off-line petition where you can ask members of the public to sign. The lead up to the World Cup has prompted widespread protests and demonstrations in Brazil. By asking members of the public to sign the petition we send a message to the Brazilian government that protest is not a crime.

Please look out for Eric Cantona’s new documentary ‘Looking for Rio’. The UK premiere of former Manchester United legend Eric Cantona’s compelling new documentary about the passion and fury surrounding football in Rio de Janeiro will take place at Amnesty’s first ever football film festival, Sidelines, from Friday 6 – Sunday 8 June at Hackney Picturehouse, London just before the start of the World Cup in Brazil.

We are opening a new Brazil case file: Alexandre Anderson de Souza is the president of a fishermen’s association in the state of Rio de Janeiro. We hope to recruit several groups to work on it. If so, please contact Richard Crosfield.


Groups working on the case file of the Yakye Axa and Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous Communities received the wonderful news that the Paraguayan Senate passed the expropriation bill recently. Please see the AI press release in this link:

There is a link to a YouTube video (in Spanish) made by Amnesty Paraguay which shows the reaction of the Sawhoyamaxa to the recent vote in the Senate:
Provided the bill becomes law, it will allow the Sawhoyamaxa full rights over their land. Please contact Graham Minter if your group is interested in undertaking further work on this case file. Here is Graham’s blog:


Protests against the Maduro government continue in Venezuela, where human rights are at risk and people are in danger. Please sign the petition at:

We consider that this book review is a good analysis of the crisis in Venezuela. You may be interested to read it:

We draw your attention to the case of Geraldín Moreno, a 23-year-old female student who died on 22nd of February after a rubber bullet struck her in the eye during a protest on the 19th. We will be asking you to campaign on the issue.


This week Ian McGarr is sending an open letter to all 5 presidential candidates in the Colombian elections insisting that human rights must be at the heart of their electoral campaigning and their eventual presidency. We intend to follow up with further campaigning as we approached the elections on 25th of May.

Berenice Celeyta, president of NOMADESC, came to the UK at the invitation of War On Want recently. Amnesty International representatives accompanied them to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Berenice explained graphically the human rights crisis in the Pacific port zone of Buenaventura, southern Colombia. Her organisation tracks the existence of torture houses and the secret “cemeteries” where bodies are buried.

Three human rights defenders have been threatened by paramilitaries in the port city of Buenaventura, following the creation of the Humanitarian Zone of Puente Nayero, a civilian initiative to protect the mainly Afro-descendant community. We provide the Urgent Action and a draft letter to send.