Chair: David Huband
11 people at meeting
Chair welcomed all to the meeting
Minutes of last meeting agreed
Norwich City of Sanctuary
What is Amnesty’s role locally? We await information from David F when he has been to the AIUK ‘I welcome’ workshop.
David H has received a reply from Chloe Smith MP and Joanna a reply from Richard Bacon MP, both letters read out. Both state that the Minister of Defence monitors incidents of alleged international humanitarian law to form an overall view on the approach and attitude of Saudi Arabia. This informs the risk assessment. Government is clear that given this guidance the level has not been reached where those criteria has been breached.
Sixty men remain in Guantanamo. Twenty approved for release to be transferred when arrangements made. Twelve of the twenty are from Yemen.
Both Shaker Aamer and Mozaam Begg have been in the news. Shaker urged Obama to close Guantanamo, Mozaam talked about his experiences in detention centres here and abroad. We’ll discuss Guantanamo further. ACTION DH
Imprisoned forty-three years on death row in Louisiana was released in April.
Unaccompanied refugee children do not have automatic right for family to join them. Letters to two Norwich MPs signed, asking them to raise the issue of child family reunion and to join the Write for Rights event in the House of Commons in December.
Children’s Human Rights Network
Syria: Disappearance of family with six children
Template letter to Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari in US circulated. It urges him to reveal what has happened to the family, grant immediate access to their family and lawyer, protect them from torture and give them medical attention they may need.
Accommodation of unaccompanied minors in Norfolk
Chair reported on information from recent regional conference. Fifty per cent of unaccompanied minors are given asylum. If refused they may be given temporary leave to stay until they reach seventeen and half, then they are then forced to leave.
Eastern region is poorly served by asylum lawyers. Only two firms of solicitors give legal aid. Many arrive in Kent and social services are overwhelmed dealing with scores each week.
Grants to authorities taking in minors currently are, under sixteen £116 per day, over Sixteen £90 per day.
Legislation requiring local authorities to take minors states they must take up to 0.07% of total child population. In Cambridge that is a maximum of 92 children. Norfolk has taken 7 but by government calculation should be 117.
The Dublin regulation states children with family in the UK can be reunited.
Dubs amendment states UK should take its share of unaccompanied minors.
Eligibility for at least 187 children currently in Calais has been established by the Red Cross. In first 9 months of 2016 140 children were brought to the UK under the Dublin rules, 80 of them from France. Home office will send a second group of staff to France in the coming weeks to help identify and select children to be brought to the UK under the Dubs amendment. Originally intended that 3000 children would be settled in the UK but Amber Rudd says 300 would be a good result. Official estimates say there are between 600 – 900 unaccompanied children in Calais. There may be as many as 88,000 child refugees adrift in Europe.
Chair has written to the leader of Norfolk County Council, Cliff Jordan, urging him to offer placement of a few children coming to the UK under the Dubs amendment. He has also written to his county councillor, Mike Sands, asking if there has been any discussion within the council on these matters. David F’s understanding is that there was a vote on 18th October. Outcome not known.
Amnesty has been working on behalf of two men and a female journalist. The men were released and the woman died in custody in 2006. Amnesty is asking for a public enquiry into her death as strong evidence of torture. Copies of a letter were circulated asking the president to investigate her death.
Petition against racial hatred
Chair presented this at the last council meeting with the Mayor and Sherriff. It had 200 signatures from Pride event. It was well received, accepted readily and racial hatred condemned with a motion from the council to support this condemnation.
Monthly Peace Vigil for Syria
Organised by Quakers, first Saturday of each month outside St Peter Mancroft Church 12- 1, next date 5th November. David H will ask database for volunteers. Two members at the meeting hope to be there in November but won’t take Amnesty banner.
- ‘From Syria with love’ Barber Shop 124 Magdalen St. October 20 – 22
- Exhibition of paintings and drawings by children in Lebanon refugee camp.
- Write for Rights – Arts Centre St Benedict 26th November time tbc probably 10 – 3.30.
Advertise to database and next meeting. ACTION DY/DH
- Quiz and Dips – Ticket price discussed £8.50 decided, 7pm for 7.30
- Moorlands Primary School Gt Yarmouth – Talk David H
- Freedom from Torture – Quiz and Chips – 22 October 7.15 for 7.30 Trinity Church Norwich
- Great Yarmouth College – Talk 18 November David F
- Street collection – 14th October 2017 We’ll discuss how to get more collectors, in the new year, including contacting senior schools with Amnesty groups like Jane Austen School, CNS.
AOB Christmas card sales began on Monday at 9 Royal Arcade
Next Meeting – Wednesday 19th November 2016 at 7.30pm
Speakers: Nick Caistor Amanda Hopkinson ‘Sorrows of Mexico’