Chair: David Huband
- Chair welcomed all to the meeting
- Minutes of last Open meeting: Agreed
Sue Mills reported that she had ordered 380 packs of cards and that all had been sold. The charity card shop had made over £43,000. We will receive our cheque early in February.
Quiz and Dips
Thanks to all, but particularly David Yates, Roz and Debbie, for making this event such a success. It made a profit of £808.
Write for Rights
Numbers of letters sent haven’t been calculated yet. The Arts Centre was a good venue, but we really need a more central location. Joanna suggested that we discuss this earlier in the year to give time to research a more suitable venue. St Stephen’s church was suggested.
Palestinian Solidarity Campaign Dinner at Chapelfield Methodist Church
This was cancelled by the church and was moved to The Friends’ Meeting House. The PSC believes that it was cancelled by the venue due to pressure on the church from the Board of Deputies of British Jews. David H pointed out that the Co-op Bank has refused to allow the organisation to bank with them. And that a New Statesman story about the difficulties faced by a Palestinian journalist has been pulled – although the NS did give an explanation.
All this does suggest that pressure is being exerted to disrupt the activities of this Group.
If there is a link between these events, and the Bank and NS also acted in response to pressure, this would be seen by the Group as deeply regrettable.
Organised by the Friends, this is held outside St Peter Mancroft church on the first Saturday of the month, with a banner reading, “Both sides must stop this killing”.
The next vigil will be on Saturday 7th January between 12.00 and 1.00. All members are welcome.
Visit to Moorlands Primary School
David Huband visited this school to speak about the work of Amnesty, which was part of a much wider educational programme concerning refugees and asylum seekers. Members of Amnesty might be interested in the blog written by the children’s teacher (Jon Biddle).
Parliamentary Lobby of Richard Bacon
As part of Write for Rights, David F and Joanna had been invited to the Speaker’s House in the House of Commons. Richard Bacon did not attend, but there were 42 MPs from both houses who responded to 5 different cases.
Richard Ratcliffe spoke, as did Kate Allen from AIUK.
One of the cases was that of Nazanin Zhaghari-Ratcliffe, arrested at Tehran airport and now in poor health in prison. 34,000 postcards, calling for her release, have already been sent.
Children’s Action – URGENT ACTION
This concerns the arrest and trial of 15 year old Aser Mohamed in Egypt. He was arrested by National Security Agents on 12 January when he was 14. He was tortured to ‘confess’ to offences he did not commit while in 34 days of enforced disappearance and is accused of being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and attacking a hotel.
Members are asked to send appeals immediately – before January 17th 2017.
All details may be found on the Amnesty website.
Members should write to Amber Rudd MP, who in a reply to David Huband, implies that children don’t have a right to come to relatives in the UK. But they DO.
In fact ALL children who have close relatives in the UK can have access, but actually, that hasn’t been the case – Britain is only accepting children of families from Syria and Sudan.
David Ford will bring an action to next month’s meeting with a clemency plea to the new President (the old Prime Minister). A political prisoner who has spent 23 years in jail has just been released!
The meeting concluded with members ‘Writing for Rights’ before relocating to the Rumsey Wells!
Next Meeting – Wednesday 18th January 2017 at 7.30pm