Our bloggers


The 30th International Council Meeting of Amnesty International is going online! We have a team of delegate bloggers reporting daily from the event on the key human rights sessions. They cover a range of countries, languages, ages, time with Amnesty International and activism experiences.

Come back daily to hear them report on Amnesty International’s successes, challenges and future. You can will be able to follow some of our bloggers on Twitter for live updates of the event as it unfolds. You can join is the conversation by adding comments to this blog and through the Twitter hashtag #amnestyICM.

Who’s blogging?


Raffaele Piccolo from Adelaide, Australia, is a studying law and international studies at the University of Adelaide. He is the current President of the Adelaide University Union, providing students will ongoing representation and advocacy. Raffaele’s studies brought him into contact with Amnesty International in 2005 and his involvement has blossomed from there. He is an activist on campus, Branch Committee member, Youth Advisory Group member and in Raffaele’s words “an avid social commentator (in my own mind)”. This is Raffaele’s first time at the ICM.


Pieter Stockmans from Leuven, Belgium, is a Policy Officer at Flemish Refugee Action, an NGO defending refugee rights in Belgium, and freelance journalist. He joined the movement 7 years ago as a member of Amnesty International Belgium (Flemish) Israel/Palestine specialization team, of which he is now the coordinator. Pieter is also a member of the policy committee of the Amnesty International Belgium Flemish section, which is an advisory committee to the board. This is Pieter’s second ICM, his first being in 2007 in Morelos, Mexico.

Burkina Faso

Justin Yarga is a young Burkinabe with a degree in public law from the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and assistant editor of the online news portal www.burkina24.com. Whilst studying Justin became a human rights activist, spending the majority of his spare time volunteering for Amnesty International Burkina Faso, which he joined in 2007. He’s currently working as our youth network coordinator in Burkina and is also responsible for communications for the Centre for Information and Training on Human Rights in Africa (CIFDHA). This is Justin’s s first time at the ICM.


María Belén Saavedra from Santiago, Chile, has been an activist with Amnesty International since 2009, currently volunteering as the coordinator of the gender diversity team in Chile. María has worked with law students as an Assistant Researcher for the women’s chapter of the Report on Human Rights, by the Diego Portales University in 2010 and 2011. This is María’s first time at the ICM.

Cote D’Ivore

Armande Achi from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, is a jurist by profession. She has been an Amnesty International activist for 9 years, at first as a youth coordinator and currently as a board member of Amnesty International in Côte d’Ivoire. Armande’s activism focuses on maternal mortality via lobbying governments and raising awareness of the issue with the general public. This is Armande’s first ICM.


Benjamin Titze is a physics PhD student from Heidelberg, Germany. He joined Amnesty International in 2002 after graduating from high school and has since been a passionate defender of freedom of expression and an outspoken opponent of the death penalty. Benjamin is a co-founder and former leader of the Amnesty International university groups network in Germany and has organized actions about human rights violations in Belarus. He currently serves as Vice-Chair of Amnesty International Germany. This is Benjamin’s second ICM, his first being in Antalya, Turkey, in 2009.


Ciarán Ó Cearbhaill from Maynooth, Ireland, is a chemistry PhD student. Ciarán joined Amnesty International’s Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories group in Ireland in 2006 and has been an active member on many human rights issues ever since. He served as chair of the Youth Committee from 2009-2011 and was elected to the Executive Commitee of Amnesty International Ireland in 2010. He is perhaps most famous for his ‘Bingo Granny’ persona as part of Amnesty Ireland’s Bingo tent at the Electric Picnic music festival. This is Ciarán’s first time at the ICM.


Koldo Casla, from the Basque Country, Spain, is a human rights activist and researcher. He works at the Ombudsman’s office of the Basque Country as Human Rights Commissioner. He joined Amnesty International in 2001, when he was a teenager. He has campaigned and lobbied for human rights at local and national levels, and has attended the ICM in 2007 and 2009. This is Koldo’s third ICM where he is attending at the rapporteur of the working group on human rights strategy.


Catherine Bevilacqua, a student at the University of Essex, has been an activist for almost 11 years, starting out at an Amnesty International local group in the UK when she was 14 years old. Catherine has been working on strengthening youth activism within the UK movement ever since. She has interned with the Amnesty International United Nations office in Geneva, assisted Amnesty International research on migrant rights, and supported a recent field mission to Nepal in September 2010.

Lucy Barnett from York, UK, is a MA student in Cultures of Empire, Resistance and Postcoloniality, currently completing a dissertation on Burmese literature. Lucy has been a student activist with Amnesty International for three years and is currently on the International Issues sub-committee of the UK Board. Lucy is passionate about literature and human rights and blogs on this issue regularly. This is Lucy’s first ICM.


Mariah Ortiz from Seattle, Washington, USA works in international education. Mariah joined Amnesty International in 2007 and has been an active campaigner ever since for our Demand Dignity campaign and the Seattle Amnesty International Organizing Cities Activist Network. In 2010 Mariah worked for the Kenya Human Rights Commission. She serves on the board of the One Equal Heart Foundation, a human rights organization working with indigenous people in Chiapas, Mexico. This is Mariah’s first time at the ICM.

Helen Jack resides in Connecticut, USA, where she is entering her senior year at Yale University majoring in biology and international studies. Helen has been a member of Amnesty International USA for seven years and is currently volunteering as the Legislative Coordinator for the state of New Hampshire, acting as the liaison between Amnesty International and members of Congress, and training activists on legislative lobbying. She is on the Northeast Regional Planning Group and a member of an Amnesty student chapter. This is Helen’s first time at the ICM.


Widney Brown, Senior Director of International Law and Policy, Amnesty International, International Secretariat

Widney Brown is responsible for overseeing development of law and policy. She participates in legal standard-setting negotiations at regional and international level and designs the strategic framework for Amnesty International’s global campaigns. She is also responsible for overseeing Amnesty International’s work on global thematic issues. Widney has extensive experience documenting human rights violations across the world and has contributed written work to numerous publications.

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