Chair: David Huband
Chair welcomed all to the meeting
Minutes of last meeting agreed
Chair introduced Gideon who spoke briefly about the difficulties facing Members of Amnesty in Israel, but explained that there has been a change for the better and there are now 5 times the numbers of members compared with 10/15 years ago.
Letter from Apple about lithium mining.
David H reported that Apple had sent a response which did not mention lithium but assured him that all their materials were ethically sourced. A second letter to Apple, pointing out that the lithium issue had not been addressed resulted in an identical reply.
It was agreed to leave this at present.
Joanna highlighted the case of Matsumoto Kenji in Japan, who was sentenced to death in 1993. There are many disturbing aspects to this case, including the fact that Matsumoto Kenji has an intellectual disability and a delusional disorder. Execution of those with mental illness is prohibited by international law. Members are asked to write to the Japanese Minister of Justice and the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, with copies to the Japanese Ambassador in the UK. (Details can be found on the Amnesty website).
Refugees: Norwich, City of Sanctuary
We are signing up to this initiative.
The Group is about to sign up to “I welcome” – an International AI Campaign which was launched recently. David Ford is going to attend an induction meeting in London. The Regional Conference in Cambridge is to focus on this issue.
Uzbekistan: President Karimov – a valediction
David Ford gave a very interesting summary of Karimov’s life, times and possible successors. He suggested that when the next President is elected or appointed, we should undertake a large scale letter writing campaign on behalf of Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov in anticipation of a mass amnesty.
Joanna introduced the case of Aser Mohamed in Egypt – aged 14. He was arrested by National Security officers and kept for 34 days during which time he was tortured. He is accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood based on ‘confessions’ which he claimed were made under torture. Egyptian law prohibits pre-trial detention for children under 15. Members are asked to write to the Public prosecutor and Interior minister. (Please see the Amnesty website for details).
Short Paper: What is happening in Yemen now?
David Huband gave a very interesting ‘Short Paper’ covering a brief history of the developments leading to the current crisis. The UN estimates a death toll 10,000+ including c. 3,800 civilians. Stephen Twigg, Chair of the International Development Committee, reports that Yemen is a serious humanitarian crisis with 82% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance. David highlighted British involvement, both in military co-operation and arms sales to Saudi Arabia. (2.8 bn. worth of arms in 6 months) and explained how and why the Parliamentary Committee on arms exports control are divided.
There is an online consultation paper on rules: This needs responses by October 3rd to: www.amnesty.org.uk/consultation-proposed-rules-amnesty-international-uk-section
September 9th. ‘Breaking away, not breaking apart’ meeting and follow up meeting at City Hall on 13th September.
September 17th. ‘Refugees Welcome’ march, London. (20,000 marchers)
First Saturday monthly. Peace One Day vigil. St Peter Mancroft 12-12.30
September 22nd. David Huband visited Litcham School to give a talk on refugees and collective action.
September 27th. City Council meeting (Petition presentation)
October 3rd. Public Law lecture on Violence against Women. Hostry
October 6th. ‘Towards a fairer economy: conversation’ Friends’ Meeting House at 7.30
October 8th. Regional Conference, Cambridge. Amnesty.org.uk/Cambridge (How to help Refugees).
October 10th. Committee meeting
November 19th. Quiz and Dips
Next Meeting – Wednesday 19th October 2016 at 7.30pm