In Memory of Frances

MACQUEEN, Frances (Chico) Mary
April 2, 1947-November 26, 2011

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Frances MacQueen in Santa
Ana, El Salvador this past weekend. An early leader in the humanrights movement in Vancouver, she served as the former chair of Amnesty International BC and a founder and Executive Director of the Vancouver Association for the Survivors of Torture (VAST) for twenty years.

Frances first came to Canada from England in the 70s, after having travelled widely and been involved in some of the more salient political movements of the day.  Bringing her convictions for human rights and social justice to Vancouver, her refugee advocacy and support work saw her working to support countless individuals from almost every conceivable corner of the globe.

After leaving VAST in 2007, and successfully combating lung cancer, she was led south to El Salvador, where she established a new organization (ASST) dedicated to combating impunity and demanding redress for survivors of political violence.  Her death was sudden and comes as a shock to us all.

Frances will be remembered as a strong and hopeful person.  Some will recall her
as a fighter, others as a mother and nurturer and still others as a shrewd political thinker.  Ultimately, however she was a survivor, and she did that by pushing her own humanity, by fighting, by believing in goodness and by striving to push beyond what was acceptable to the “status quo”.

Should she be reading this, she would welcome positive thoughts, feelings and prayers. We would like to thank her for all that she sacrificed, all she fought for and against (even when it challenged us and her) as well as all that she loved, provided for, nurtured and created.

The Future we can create if we recall her in our hearts, minds and souls would be a hopeful world and we should remind ourselves of that hope in our time of grief.

Her family would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love and encouragement.  The story above remains incomplete, as there would be too much to place here in words.  Instead we encourage you to remember that each of you are a part of that story and we encourage you to leave your memories, remarks and thoughts below.

 In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Asociación Salvadoreña Sobrevivientes de la Tortura (ASST). 

A memorial for Frances will be held in the New Year (2012). 

For information about making a donation to ASST, attending the memorial or to pass on private thoughts to Frances’ family, please contact

Para leer los sentimientos dus sus companeros en America Latina:

Thoughts in Farsi from Shahrvand newspaper: