Chair: David Huband
Chair welcomed all to the meeting
Minutes of last meeting agreed
Apologies: David Ford, Philip Wilson, Faizal nor Izham, Jim Massey, Debbie Campbell.
Joanna spoke about the Campaign to persuade the British Government to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia and its coalition which is fighting in the Yemen. Members signed a petition to the UK Government, pointing out that it had been in breach of UK and International law and condemning the use of cluster ammunition.
A letter to the local media about Yemen was signed by the Chair.
This case has now been suspended.
Jim sent news that plans to close Guantanamo are expected to go to Congress next week – though it is unlikely that the House will agree to these plans. It is expected that 30 prisoners should be released by midsummer.
Joanna distributed letters addressed to the Prosecutor General of Tehran, protesting against the use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders in Iran (i.e. Individuals convicted of crimes committed when they were under the age of 18) and calling for a halt to executions and the commutation of the death sentences.
Joanna explained that we will always have £1 stamps and envelopes available for members to use – payment voluntary.
David Huband referred to an AI briefing calling for an impartial, judge-led enquiry into UK compliance with torture. AI says that the Parliamentary ISC Committee, chaired by Dominic Grieve MP, is not up to the job. It is Ministers who decide what the members of the Committee see. There is a petition to sign on the AI website.
El Salvador and the Zika virus
Sue Mills explained that this was not a campaign but a development that we should be aware of. Doctors (in private practice) in El Salvador have noticed an increase in miscarriages in otherwise healthy women. These appear to be linked to the rash, fever and conjunctivitis which are symptoms of the Zika virus. Given the draconian abortion law in El Salvador, Human Rights activists fear that this could lead to a surge in criminal prosecutions of women for deliberate abortion or homicide.
David Huband gave a short paper on The Human Rights Act, incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights. He explained how the Human Rights Act works, making it clear that Parliamentary Sovereignty is upheld as Parliament alone can decide whether or not to repeal or amend legislation.
A discussion followed and all agreed that the talk had been both interesting and informative.
David Huband reported on the past year’s activities:
It is important to remember that the central aim of AI is to campaign, mainly by writing letters on behalf of those who suffer injustice and secondarily to raise funds to maintain this excellent work which is invaluable to us and respected world-wide, in the field.
We have campaigned regularly for…
- The Monthly Action (Joanna Kinnaird)
- The release of Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov in Uzbekistan (David Ford)
- The release of Shaker Aamer and the closure of Guantanamo (Jim Massey, David Ford & David Huband)
- Women’s issues (Roz Cadwallader)
- Children and Young People (Joanna Kinnaird)
The My Body, My Rights Campaign ends, as does the Stop Torture Campaign. However, we will continue to campaign for a Judge-led enquiry into allegations of British involvement in torture.
We will also take part in the Campaign for the Human Rights Act and a new Campaign on behalf of Human Rights workers throughout the World.
- We’ve written letters and signed petitions
- We have attended and participated in public events.
- The Election Hustings in April
- The Peace Camp (David Yates)
- Pride Day (David Yates)
- PGCE Event at UEA (David Ford & Sue Mills)
- Given talks to schools (David Huband)
- We have staged our own events
- Stop Torture Demonstration on Hay Hill (David Bissonet)
- Stall on Hay Hill (David Huband)
- Write for Rights (David Yates)
- We organised a very successful Regional Conference in March in the Methodist Church on Chapelfield Road.
These help us to keep a reasonably high profile in the City
- Street Collection (Nicky Leach)
- Christmas Cards (Sue Mills)
- Octagon Chapel Amnesty Service (Lynn Holt)
- Poetry Evening at the Arts Centre (David Huband)
Treasurer’s Report for 2016
David Ford sent his detailed Treasurer’s Report which was presented to the meeting and approved.
|Opening balance at 1.1 2015||£1196.25|
|Cash in hand||£41.42|
|Closing bank balance at 31.12.2015||£549.79|
|Cash in hand||£49.91|
|Closing balance at 29.01.2016||£1466.55|
The Group’s Annual financial Report to AIUK will be sent before 28.02 2016 as requested.
DF will report to the next Committee meeting with the up-to-date balance so that it can decide on an amount to be sent to AIUK.
David Huband thanked the Committee for their hard work. All Committee members agreed to re-election.
One of our aims is to widen our membership and encourage younger members to participate in meetings and to serve on the Committee. To this end we plan to try to reach a wider public by…
- Putting up posters to advertise meetings/events.
- Using Twitter (David Yates)
- Publicity linking a membership drive with the Human Rights Act campaign, when the Government publishes its White Paper on the Bill of Rights.
- Quiz and Dips to be held at St. Thomas’ Church Hall, Earlham Road. Provisional date: Sat. 7th. May
- Thetford AI – Day of Action on Human Traffickers in Thetford. Provisional dates 23rd/30thMay. Contact email@example.com for details.
- Street Collection -to be held on 7th May. (Same day as Quiz – more details later).
- Amnestea – to be arranged by Lynn Holt. Details later.
- Sponsored Walk – Saturday 25th June. Details later – book the date!
Next Meeting – Wednesday 16th March 2016 at 7.30pm