20th August 2014 Meeting Minutes
Chair: David Huband
Chair welcomed all to the meeting
Apologies: Tom Reed, Steph Reed, Debbie Campbell, Roz Cadwallader.
Minutes of last open meeting agreed.
- As there was no Monthly Action, Joanna Kinnaird reported on the case of Ali Aarrass in Morocco. Mr Arrass was forcibly returned to Morocco from Spain on 14th December 2010. For the first 12 days he was held incommunicado and tortured. In November 2011 he was convicted of the illegal use of weapons and links with a terrorist group. He was convicted solely on a ‘confession’ extracted under torture. Joanna circulated a card for members to sign and information sheet with details of further possible actions. To find out more about this case: www.amnesty.org.uk/stoptorture
No action this month.
The anniversary of Salidzhon Abdurackhmanov’s sentencing is on September 1st. David Ford circulated letters to President Islam Karimov (copied to the Ambassador in London) asking for his immediate and unconditional release.
- Shaker Aamer
David Huband reported that there was no further news but highlighted the case of another Guantanamo prisoner (Abu Wa’el Dhiab), on hunger strike and enduring force-feeding. Court documents from the Washington DC District Court have been filed asking why, despite being in a wheelchair, he is being manhandled to and from the force-feeding facility. The response was that such questions are ‘burdensome’ to the Guantanamo administration. There was a wide-ranging but ultimately inconclusive discussion speculating on reasons why prisoners like Shaker Aamer are still in Guatanamo despite being cleared for release. It was agreed that we must continue to campaign for his release and Jim Massey said that he would try to find out more about the Periodic Release Board. David Huband circulated cards for members to mail to Mr Aamer.
David Huband referred to a UNA letter written by Jeremy Greenstock for any members who might want to write. David Ford spoke of a GB owned ship, RFA Argus. There is a petition to Philip Hammond (which has all-party support to send it off-shore to receive casualties and act as a hospital ship. See www.change.org/hospitalship2gaza
- David Huband has received a response from AIUK concerning UK Groups’ responses to the Strategic Goals Consultation (see minutes for May meeting). Many of the ideas coincided with the feelings of our Group. There was a wide-spread feeling that campaigns are now too vague (e.g. Poverty)and should concentrate on Amnesty’s core values – such as Freedom of expression, the Abolition of the death penalty, LGBTI Rights, Economic policies where these endanger livelihoods (e.g. mining, de-forestation etc.) And that, as well as focused campaigns, Amnesty should adopt ‘Country campaigns’ where crises develop.There was no mention of ‘Children and Young People. Joanna pointed out that whenever she raises this, staff at AIUK say “We do campaign for children”. David Ford said that a motion to campaign for children and young people has been passed at an AGM – but ignored by the IS. Joanna will write to AIUK in response to this report.
Human Rights Education
- AIUK now links HR Education to specific campaigns, such as ‘Stop Torture’ and ‘My Body, My Rights’. David Huband asked for ideas which would help engage young people when he gives a talk about Amnesty. Several members came up with ideas.
- Appleyard’s Gig
This is to be held at 7.30 on Thursday 25th September at Appleyard’s Café on Exchange Street. Details to be on our web-site.
- David Yates said that the Stall at Pride went very well. The case of a gay activist from Belorus was highlighted. Letters were signed, cards were circulated.
Speakers for autumn
- Lynn Holt will ask Kate Adie to speak for International Women’s Day in March.
Sue Mackey will try to find a speaker about Medical Aid for Palestinians.
- David Huband referred the meeting to the campaign against the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) being run by 38 Degrees.
Next Meeting – Wednesday 17th September at 7.30pm