1st Edition

State Violence, Torture, and Political Prisoners On the Role Played by Amnesty International in Brazil During the Dictatorship (1964–1985)

By Renata Meirelles Copyright 2020
    152 Pages
    by Routledge

    152 Pages
    by Routledge

    State Violence, Torture, and Political Prisoners discusses the activities of Amnesty International during the period of Brazil’s dictatorship (1964–1985). During the dictatorship, Amnesty assisted political prisoners who were submitted to torture and helped to publicise charges of torture against agents of the military regime’s repressive apparatus. Through a specific examination of Amnesty’s work with Brazilian political prisoners, this book explores how Amnesty adapted its organisational principles – such as non-violence and the focus on individual cases – during this time.

    In 1967 Amnesty experienced a severe internal crisis which prompted the organisation to make structural changes. These changes enabled it to expand its activities beyond Europe to Latin America, including Brazil. This book examines one of Amnesty International’s first major campaigns against torture and the impact this had on the organisation’s development of a new agenda. Bringing a critical and historical perspective on Amnesty’s work, the book contributes to the debate on the role of human rights organisations in addressing human rights abuses worldwide. It makes a significant contribution to international research on state crime, human rights, and torture.

    List of figures

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    List of abbreviations


    1 Amnesty International in the 1960s: the origins and history of the Cold War Organisation

    2 The Brazilian dictatorship and state violence

    3 Amnesty’s work regarding the Brazilian dictatorship




    Renata Meirelles is an historian and researcher from Brazil. Since March 2018, she has taught Theory of History at Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF). She has a PhD in history (2016) and a master’s degree in history (2008). During her PhD, she developed part of her research abroad at King’s College London and L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Her research focusses on human rights, international relations, and civil society resistance to state violence.