David H welcomed everyone and updated us on Sue’s progress. We have sent her our good wishes and she hopes to be with us at the next meeting
Minutes of last meeting agreed
Matters arising: None
Good News – Atena Farghadani Iran Roz
Atena, an artist, began a twelve-year sentence for insulting the president and others, through her paintings. She has been released. She was acquitted of some charges, some charges were upheld for which she has already served eighteen months. A three year suspended sentence remains for insulting the Supreme Leader.
Monthly Action – Azerbaijan – Khadija Ismayilova Roz/Joanna
Khadija is an investigative journalist and outspoken critic of government, exposing corruption. She was detained in December 2014 and sentenced to seven and a half years in September 2015. Supposedly the trial was open but on several occasions observers were not allowed in the courtroom.
Actions include an online petition, a letter to President Aliyev asking for her immediate and unconditional release and birthday greetings for 27 May.
Action sheets with contact details were circulated.
Children’s Human Rights Network – Malawi Joanna
Thousands of people with Albinism live in fear of being abducted and killed. Body parts are sold for ritual purposes. A fifteen-year-old boy, a two-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy have all gone missing between February and April this year. Their remains have been found. At least fourteen people are known to have been killed since December 2014. Although some perpetrators have been arrested sentences have not been in line with the severity of the crime.
Action is to write to the Malawian authorities urging them to protect these children and to bring the perpetrators to justice through trials that meet international standards. There is also an online petition.
Uzbekistan – Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov – David F
Salidzhon is a human rights defender and journalist sentenced to ten years in 2008. He was charged with possessing illegal drugs. Supporters and family believe the charges were fabricated and Amnesty see him as a prisoner of conscience. David gave out background information to base our letters on and contact addresses. It is his birthday on 27 May and we can send non-religious cards to his wife.
Refugee Crisis – David H
The International Organisation of Migration reports the size of the refugee problem with the large number of people on the move. Amnesty is asking for co-ordination between organisations for maximum effect.
Locally, David H has written to the new leader of Norfolk County Council, Cliff Jordan reiterating the points made to George Nobbs. He expressed concern at the few number of refugees planned to come to Norfolk. The meeting signed the letter and a copy will go to the EDP.
NB Since the meeting, we have learned that Sanctuary Norfolk are planning to lobby the Policy and Resources Committee at County Hall at 9.30 on May 31st. This is where the decision will be ratified. AI are invited to join them, so please do so if you can.
Syrian ophthalmologist Anas Injarie will talk to the group in June.
Human Rights Act – David H
The Queen’s speech pledges to introduce a Bill of Rights.
Death Penalty Worldwide – David H
Chart circulated showing:
- Number of executions overall increased from 1016 in 2014 to 1634 in 2015 89% were in Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia
- In all other countries retaining the death penalty, numbers were fewer than in 2014
- 58 countries still have the death penalty but in 2015 there were executions in only 25 of them
- The total number of countries now abolitionist for all crimes is now 102 out of 198. 32 are abolitionist in practice
- Most executions in the Middle East and North Africa were for real or perceived threats to security and public safety
- Breakdown of executions in 2015
- Egypt 22 Somalia 25 Iraq 26 USA 28 Saudi Arabia 158 Pakistan 320 Iran 977 China Thousands
The trend since 1977 is towards abolition with 16 countries in 1977 to 102 in 2015. Another 32 haven’t implemented the death penalty even though they have not abolished it. Therefore 140 out of 190 have abolished it either in law or practice. Some countries don’t publish information i.e. Belarus, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, North Korea, Syria or Yemen. And against this downward trend overall numbers of executions increased in 2015.
AI is currently focusing on countries where:
- execution is illegal but still happens
- executions based on false confessions
- execution of juveniles
- execution of people with disabilities
- Street Collection – £218 collected Thanks to Nicky for organising the collection.10 collectors (fewer than last year) Committee will consider how to increase the number of collectors.
- Monthly UNA Lunchbox talk – ‘Born to be Free’ Mark Little Friends’ Meeting House Friday 20th May 1pm
- Amnestea – Saturday 28th May 3pm Martineau Hall (next to Octagon Chapel) David H will invite Clive Lewis MP and ask Carl to publicise event on group website. Action DH
- Diss Amnesty Group – Talk 20 June “Is Prostitution a Choice?” 7.30 United Reform Church Mere Street (opp Aldi). Suffolk police project developed following the deaths of five women in Ipswich working as prostitutes. Project combines prosecution of kerb crawlers, not the women, with support for the women to exit the work.Pru will find the name of a speaker who has information about the situation in Norwich.
- Sponsored Walk Saturday 25th June Reepham Detail will be circulated to membership Action David Y
- Pride Day ? date Information stall Forum
- Peace Camp 16 July 9 – 1 Information stall Forum
- Conscientious objectors’ exhibition – Local archive material – Friends Meeting House Norwich (until end of May)
- Early Day Motion to close Guantanamo – Clive Lewis MP unable to sign as he is on the front bench but assures colleagues who can, have.
- Regional conference on refugees in Cambridge Planning meting in May organised by regional rep Liesbeth.
- David F talked about Amnesty’s work to a women’s group at the United Reform Church in Jessop Road.
Next Meeting – Wednesday June 22nd 2016 at 7.30pm
Speaker Anas Injarie Syria