South American Newsletter August 2015

This is the latest from AIUKs South America Team…

“Thanks to everyone who has written on behalf of the recent Brazil urgent actions and the individual cases of Laisa Sampaio, Alexandre Anderson and Jorge Nunes. Richard was at the Brazilian embassy last week and they have received hundreds of letters from British citizens that they have passed on to Brasilia.

This month we have more actions for you on the ban on abortion in Chile, a human rights defender in Ecuador, extrajudicial executions in the State of Rio de Janeiro and the forced eviction of indigenous families in Brazil.

Remember, we keep a running update on South America human rights on  facebook.


There have been some positive developments in the campaign to end the total ban on abortion in Chile.  September will be a key month for the debate in Congress, so please encourage your group members to sign if they haven’t already done so; and to spread the word more widely, especially through social media.  The link to the online petition is here.


Dozens of people have been injured, including police officers, amid clashes between the security forces and protestors in nationwide demonstrations in Ecuador. Amnesty has received reports of excessive use of force by police and the military during the attempted dispersal of protests, as well as clashes between protesters and security forces. Many protestors have been detained and there is a risk of more injuries and detentions.  We shall send you an Urgent Action shortly.

Earlier this month, we sent you an Urgent Action on behalf of Paulina Muñoz Samaniego, a human rights defender.  It is not too late to take action.  See here.


The 11-year-old girl who became pregnant after she was repeatedly raped, allegedly by her step father, has given birth via caesarean section.  She was denied the option of an abortion. Thankfully, both the girl and the baby appear to be in stable health condition.  Amnesty has again called for Paraguay to repeal its draconian anti-abortion law.  Read more here.


Amnesty has campaigned for decades against efforts to broaden the scope of military jurisdiction into areas that should properly be dealt with in the criminal courts. The reform of Article 221 of the Political Constitution, approved by Congress on 10 June, threatens to exacerbate the already high levels of impunity in cases of human rights violations in Colombia. The Constitutional Court has repeatedly rejected law reforms related to this, but the Colombian government persists in pushing for them. More information will soon be issued on Article 221. Meanwhile, we attach an Amnesty press release from June 2015 on this.

There will be a feature article on the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó in the September issue of Amnesty magazine.


Extrajudicial Executions in Rio de Janeiro: 1,272 people were killed by the police in the City of Rio de Janeiro (population 6.3 million) between 2010 and 2013. 79% were black. Only 1 of the 230 people killed by police officers in 2011 has led to a prosecution. In 9 out of 9 cases investigated by Amnesty, there are signs that the police committed extrajudicial executions. With these alarming facts, AI Brazil’s extensive report (sent to you 19 August) highlights the cycle of violence, impunity and fear that dominate the favelas – the poor suburbs – of the city. Military Police have killed people by firing on them from inside an armoured car or helicopter. Read You Killed my Son here.  

Indigenous community faces forced eviction: Fifteen families of the Apika’y Indigenous community in central-western Brazil will be forcibly evicted in early August if a judicial decision by a Federal Justice Court is carried out. Please take action by 7 September, sending copies to His Excellency Roberto Jaguaribe, Embassy of Brazil, 14-16 Cockspur Street, London SW1Y 5BL. You can read the urgent action here.

Lynchings are increasingly frequent in Brazil. The New York Times reports on how violence in the country with the most murders in the world (56,000 in 2013) has led to people taking the law into their own hands. You can read more here

Forced evictions in the Rio favela for 2016 Olympics trigger violent clashes.  The Guardian reports that, as in the run up to the World Cup least year, the Brazilian authorities  are evictingfavela residents from their homes ahead of the Rio Olympics. You can read more here

Richard Crosfield
Brazil Country Coordinator
South America Team
Amnesty International UK