Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

Stories to inspire

The people, the faces, the stories – 50 years of defending rights

Luis Felipe Degregori, Peru

Filmmaker and activist Luis Felipe Degregori from Peru.

© Luis Felipe Degregori

Being a member of Amnesty International gives me support, a sense of belonging and makes me proud to be an activist.

Luis Felipe Degregori

  Degregori  Peru

Luis Felipe Degregori, aged 56, is a filmmaker who makes documentaries about some of Peru’s most marginalized people. He tells us what activism means to him.

  • Filmmaker promotes rights of people living with HIV/AIDS
  • "Activism is a source of strength"

I was motivated to become an activist when I made a documentary – Peces de Ciudad (Beached) – about young migrants who travel from the mountains in Peru to the capital city, Lima, and live on the periphery of the city in precarious housing.

I lived with these young people for almost a year and was surprised to discover that the most difficult aspect of their lives was not the extreme poverty, but the discrimination they suffered because of their Andean roots, their distinct accent, the colour of their skin and their lack of education.

Beyond the margins

After this, I worked on other projects promoting equal rights for vulnerable groups, such as films on preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Dealing with discrimination and sexual diversity led me to produce a documentary about one of the most excluded groups in all of Latin America: transgender women. The film, called Translatina, represents various transgender communities throughout the continent and gives them the opportunity to campaign and plead for their rights.

In parallel, I have also been making documentaries about the civil war in Peru that took place between 1980 and 2000.

Facing the challenge

Being an activist makes me feel useful: I know that what I am doing is making an impact. It has made me stronger and more confident about presenting my ideas, and has also given me a feeling of spiritual peace: I am more at one with myself.

Also, the more you do for others, the more strength and motivation you have to act more. Activism revitalizes you.

The big challenge is the reality of Peru itself. To be an activist means going against embedded social traditions fuelled by the Church or by the state. Peru is a country with a huge disparity of wealth, where people's legal rights have become diluted. This creates confrontation and discrimination between citizens.

The strength to carry on

Seeing such injustice and inequality, though, gives me strength to continue during the most difficult times. Being a member of Amnesty International gives me support, a sense of belonging and makes me proud to be an activist. I feel as though I have a home base, that I am not alone. It gives me a context. It also makes me proud because Amnesty International is prestigious and because I know what it has achieved in the last 50 years.

For over 50 years we have been fighting for freedom of expression. The world has changed, but violence and imprisonment are still used to silence people who defend human rights and criticize the powerful. By calling on millions of activists and supporters worldwide, we can jam the fax machines of governments and send them a message they can’t ignore. Speak out against repression – deliver a message directly into the hands of those in power.
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