Chair welcomed all to the meeting.
Apologies: David Bissonnet Debbie Campbell
Minutes of last Open Meeting agreed.
Matters arising will be dealt with under campaigns
No action for June so Joanna presented action from AIUK website for Paraguay. This involves a pregnant ten year old girl who has not been provided with the possibility of terminating the pregnancy or adequate medical treatment to manage the pregnancy.
Roz highlighted an online petition to decriminalize abortion in Ireland. At present it is permitted only if there is an imminent risk of death. Health care workers are penalised if they assist and information and advice is heavily censored in clinics. It remains legal to travel to the UK for termination and ten women a day do so.
Uzbekistan – David F
In Andijan ten years ago 100 people were killed in a peaceful demonstration. The EU ordered an investigation and instigated sanctions, they are now backing away from those sanctions. Action is to call on the EU to tighten up on sanctions. David asked us to hand write/type letters to MEPs in East Anglia and to mention we are Amnesty members. He handed out draft letters and made sure all MEPs are covered.
Shaker Aamer – David H/Jim
David showed TV interview with Andrew Mitchell MP about delegation of four MPs to US Senators to urge release of Shaker. They were told it was an issue of UK security, even though other prisoners have been released to other countries with poorer security systems than ours. Andrew Mitchell expressed incomprehension at the US treatment of an ally and deplored the situation of Shaker describing it as a thorn in the side of US/UK relations. Shaker has been cleared for release by two presidents.
Lyn Holt lit a candle at the Octagon Chapel and explained Shaker’s plight to the members.
Local MP Keith Simpson may be a member of the committee of foreign affairs and might be a contact for campaigning.
AI asks us to maintain action and there is a letter on the AIUK website for individuals to use.
The Human Rights Act
David H outlined AIUK campaign focus and a lively discussion followed about our views on the most effective way of campaigning.
Refugee Week 15th – 21st June
David H circulated a draft letter to send to MPs urging that asylum seekers’ rights are reviewed in the new parliament. Slight changes to the draft were suggested for clarification of message.
Local lawyers are not involved in initial asylum applications they are dealt with in Solihull. Only on appeal are individuals free to choose their own lawyer.
We might campaign to persuade local lawyers to take on immigration cases:
- UEA Law School to have ongoing training
- Law Society
- Ask local lawyer Olu Ogunnowo to speak to group to guide us in local campaigning
AIUK Resolutions to International Council Meeting include one to raise the profile of children’s human rights and another to raise more funds.
- Stop torture vigil Saturday 27 June 12 – 1
Notification has been sent to UNA, Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Quaker Friends, Freedom from Torture, membership and put on group website.
- The Look of Silence film on show at Cinema City
- Sponsored Walk (September) under discussion with the committee
- Pride Camp Saturday 25th July Forum
- Moses Akatugba, from Nigeria, has been given a total pardon. He had been sentenced to death for stealing mobile phones. He has thanked all Amnesty supporters who worked on his behalf.
- Philippines -The senate has opened an enquiry into widespread abuse.
Next Meeting – Wednesday 15th July 2015 at 7.30pm