Chair: David Huband
Chair welcomed all to the meeting.
Minutes of last Open Meeting agreed
Matters arising from last Open Meeting
- No-one had received a response from any of the MEPs who were e-mailed concerning 100 people who were killed 10 years ago during a peaceful demonstration in Andijan, Uzbekistan and the lack of action by the EU
- David Huband contacted local lawyer Olo Ogunnowo about asylum seekers, but he was unable to attend this meeting
- David Huband has not contacted either UEA or the Law School
Joanna reported on last month’s case of the 10 year old Paraguayan girl who is now 30 weeks pregnant. Her mother has been released from prison and can see her daughter. The case remains very complex and there is to be no action for the moment.
Monthly Action: Gaza
The Israeli bombardment of Gaza was a year ago. AI’s research shows a failure by Israeli armed forces to take account of civilians in their bombing targets. Palestine is unable to go to the International Criminal Court because it is not recognised by at the UN as a country. Members are asked to write to the Foreign Secretary calling on the UK to recognise Palestine as a member of the ICC.
Roz introduced the case of Atena Farghadani, a 29 year old Iranian artist who has been imprisoned for 12 years for insulting members of parliament through paintings after a trial that lasted half an hour. There is an on-line petition to sign.
The petition to make abortion legal in Ireland is still open.
Some good news. Mozambique has taken steps to outlaw rape in marriage.
At this point of the meeting, members went outside for a group photograph with the ‘Free Shaker Aamer’ banner. David Huband will convert this into postcards to be sent to Shaker Aamer in August.
Jim reported that President Obama has appointed high level officials to close Guantanamo Bay. Clifford Sloane has finished his term and a new so-called ‘closer’, a lawyer, has just been appointed. Jim read to the group the text of a letter he and David Huband had written, drawing this official’s attention to the plight of Shaker Aamer. All members signed the letter.
An open letter to President Obama concerning Shaker Aamer has been signed by 90 MPs, including Clive Lewis. Jill will write to Chloe Smith to ask if she was aware of this.
David Ford will speak to the country co-ordinator for advice as to how to proceed with the case (calling for an independent enquiry into the death of Ogulsapar Muradova).
David Ford distributed letters to President Karimov, (copies to the Ambassador) reminding him of the case of Salidzhon Abdhurakhmanov, a journalist imprisoned for carrying out human rights work.
There have been no responses from Clive Lewis (MP Norwich South) to letters about the practical and financial difficulties faced by asylum seekers.
David Huband gave a thoughtful and very interesting short paper on ‘Gaza – one year on’ which complemented the monthly action and led to a lively discussion.
The International Secretariat has emphasised the need for increased fund-raising. David H was concerned that AIUK would have to raise more, but David Ford replied that this was not necessarily so since it had been budgeted for.
- The ‘Stop Torture’ vigil was very successful
- There is a ‘Campaign Against the Arms Trade’ workshop on Saturday July 18th at the Friends’ Meeting House. Contact email@example.com
- Pride Day
This is on July 25th. No-one knows whether we have a stall. Roz will find out and let us know. We will e-mail for volunteers
- UEA/AI meetings
David Huband, Faisal, Philip and Laurie met to discuss the co-ordination of activities between UEA Amnesty and the Group
David Huband has visited St Ivo’s and Litcham Schools – where he spoke about Syrian refugees and asylum seekers. He would welcome suggestions for other ideas which
- There will be a Constitutional consultation for Groups between September and November
- AI needs two new Country Co-ordinators: one for Turkey and one for the Former USSR in SE Asia
- Fund Raising
Kim Renshaw has sent a cheque for £100 as the proceeds from a concert in Aylsham
Next Meeting – Wednesday August 19th 2015 at 7.30pm