Chair: David Ford
Chair welcomed all to the meeting.
Apologies: David Huband
Minutes of last Open Meeting agreed.
From Open Meeting:
- Sue Mackey was to give a contact for Refugee Week next month.
From Committee Meeting:
- David F hasn’t yet contacted Sarah Teather, who has a connection with refugees.
- Several members attended the election hustings at the Friends’ Meeting House before the election. Neither the Conservative nor the Labour candidates attended. David Bissonet had not been able to access their written answers to the questions.
- The committee has decided to organise a sponsored walk in the late summer.
- Any offers of help to David Yates, please.
Monthly Action: Dissent in the Gulf States.
Joanna reported the case of Mahdi Abu Dheeb. Amnesty believes him to be a prisoner of conscience and that the allegations of torture should be investigated. Members are asked to send solidarity messages to Mahdi on a postcard of your location to his home address.
Kingdom of Bahrain.
Greetings from (location). We stand in solidarity with you, Mahdi Abu Dheeb. We have
called on the government to release you immediately and unconditionally and will continue
to do so until you are free. (Postage up to 10g. is £1.)
Dr Mohammed Al Roken
A Human rights lawyer in the United Arab Emirates who has been jailed for speaking out against human rights abuses. A petition was passed round for signatures.
Human Rights Act
This will be a major campaign – to get the message across to the public.
There is a good FAQs section on the Amnesty website.
There is also an on-line petition on the AI website.
We need to send a letter to the local press. The Committee will discuss this and bring the draft
to the June meeting.
And we need to contact our MPs.
Jim explained that the Washington Post had suggested that Shaker Aamer might be released
very soon, but the Miami Herald has reported that this is just rumour – coming from the
Principal’s Committee. (A sub-committee of the Security Council presided over by the President).
Jim and David Huband had written a letter to Susan Rice which was read out and then signed by
Joanna has often criticised Amnesty for not doing enough for children but she reported that the
head of the network now has a new team. They intend to flag up their concerns and proposals
at the International Council Meeting in July.
The group has been working on the case of Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov for 18 months. Amnesty
Has just published its report on Uzbekistan which will be kept in our locker at the Charing Cross
Centre for anyone to borrow.
A very interesting discussion on conditions in Uzbekistan followed.
Joanna and David Ford reported on their attendance at the AI AGM last month.
- There were lots of resolutions on governance.
- A proposal to support the issue of pro-choice for abortion – carried. This will be taken to the International Council Meeting.
- Proposals for future campaigns included:
- Against Rendition and Torture – carried
- Against wrongful detention of people (victims of torture, trafficking etc.) – carried.
- To campaign against anti-Semitism – narrowly defeated.
David reported on proposals for global campaigns. The following themes were discussed, voted on and ranked in this order:
- Protection of Civilians in conflict.
- Stopping exploitation of migrant workers.
- Defending the space for Human Rights defenders.
- Freedom on-line for all failed to get any votes.
This raised £333.16 – £100 more than last year. Thanks to Nicky Leach for organising it and to all collectors.
This will be held in the Forum on 6th June.
Stop Torture demonstration:
Proposed for 27th June. Details to follow.
We will have a stall at the Forum 25th July.
- Tom and Steph are leaving for Germany. Thanks for everything they have done and good wishes from all.
- David Bissonet has talked about the annual Write for Rights Campaign with the Writer’s centre (now at Dragon Hall) and will pursue this further.
- There is an Amnesty fund-raising Garden Party at the Quaker Meeting House in Chelmsford on 6th June. All welcome.
Next Meeting – Wednesday 17th June 2015 at 7.30pm