15th October 2014 Meeting Minutes

Chair: David Huband

Minutes of last meeting Agreed

Chair welcomed new faces including Dee Robinson from New Routes. New Routes is an integration project working primarily with refugees and asylum seekers in the Norwich area. It wants to recruit mentors to befriend and support individuals. Training is given in mentoring skills. Potential mentors need to be able to commit to a minimum of six months.
The next training sessions are Sunday 2nd November and Sunday 9th November 10 – 4.
Further details with Dee Robinson projects@newroutes.org.uk or 07799661009 Dee left information leaflets about the project and the New Routes organisation.

News

  • Malala Yousafzai, child education activist and Kailash Satyarthi, Indian child rights campaigner have jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Arms Trade Treaty – Has been ratified by 50 states so is global law.
  • Emily Ford – Raised over £375 for Amnesty by running a half marathon through the royal parks. Chair thanked her. Heather Ford passed on Emily’s thanks to the group for supporting her.

Women’s group

  • El Salvador – Total ban on abortions. Women who miscarry are often treated as criminals. There is an online action urging decriminalisation www.amnesty.org
  • Urgent Action – British Iranian woman is on hunger strike in Iran protesting at her detention and lack of access to a lawyer. She is accused of spreading propaganda. Amnesty is asking for her unconditional release. She has been detained solely for the peaceful exercise of freedom of expression. Further information on action www.amnesty.org
  • Urgent Action – Afghanistan -10 year old girl who was raped is at risk of an honour killing by family and community members www.amnesty.org
  • Iran – Reyhaneh Jabbari convicted of killing a man who tried to rape her, faces execution. She maintains a third party was involved in his death. Email asks for retrial and investigation into allegations of maltreatment in custody and access to a lawyer of her choosing. www.amnesty.org
  • Malala Yousafazi – Group of Taliban who attacked her have been arrested.

Monthly Action

Asylum Support – Level of support paid to asylum seekers remains unchanged despite a successful judicial review challenging the Home Secretary’s decision to freeze levels of support for the third year in a row.
Action aimed at MPs who have not signed an Early Day Motion on the judgement.
No Norfolk MPs have signed.

Uzbekistan

  • Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov – Follow up to September letter to Prosecutor with copy to Uzbekistan Embassy in UK.
  • Dilorom Abdukadirova – Arrested following peaceful protest when hundreds were killed in police fire. Dilorom had fled Uzbekistan travelling across the Kyrgyzstani border onto Australia. She was given assurances by the Uzbekistani authorities that she would come to no harm if she returned. She returned, was charged with attempting to overthrow the government and sentenced to 10 years. She was then accused of breaking prison rules and given an additional 8 years.
    Chair directed us to Amnesty web for details of sample letters urging authorities to immediately and unconditionally release her. Chair circulated postcards for meeting to write messages of solidarity to Dilorom. He will post them.

Shaker Aamer

Video footage of another prisoner being forcibly taken from his cell and force-fed, is in the public domain. An attempt to suppress this film at the prisoner’s trail failed. Reprieve say there is several hours of footage.

MI6 letter – Chair asked AIUK if appropriate to send letter, as discussed at September’s meeting. AIUK have acknowledged the letter saying they would let him know but have not done so. Letter passed round meeting for individuals to decide whether they wanted to sign it.

Demonstration Parliament Square David H and David B plan to join the ongoing presence on 22 October. If anyone else would like to join them contact David H.

Events

  • Appleyards Gig – Raised £120, great success with a mixture of music and poetry and heaving with people. Chair thanked Tom and Steph and David Y and Jono.
  • Litcham School – Successful event. David H showed excerpts from ‘Glasgow Girls’ and an AIUK speaker led discussion. David H will pass on information about the Write for Rights campaign, they can get involved if they choose.
  • AIUK Speakers training day – 25/11/14 Participants will be added to a list of speakers, details with David H.
  • Mark Thomas Playhouse 28 & 29 November – Tom is in contact with him and MT has agreed to promote the Write for Rights campaign. There was a short discussion of ideas and Tom will follow them up.
  • Christmas Cards – 100% of proceeds of Christmas card sales sold by us and other charities in The Original Norwich Charity Christmas Card Shop go to the charities involved. Those sold at the Forum Charity shop do not, 29.4% goes to the Forum. Sue will give details at next meeting.
  • Human Rights Action Centre (AIUK) 19/11/14 Pussy Riot will be there and the Norwich group are invited! – Update – New date 14th November
  • Chelmsford Ideas Festival – 1/11/14 Friends Meeting House UN Convention Against Torture

Issues

Human Rights Act

David H spoke on local radio.

Council of Europe is made up of 47 member states, excludes Belarus and Vatican City. It is nothing to do with the European Union.

Proposals at the Tory party conference:

  • Scrap the British Human Rights Act of 1998 and replace it with a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. The proposed Bill of Rights would incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights.
    So why change things?
  • UK should have opt out clause that allows it to refuse to follow decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
    • What weight does ECHR carry? What happens if we don’t follow its
    • decisions at present? Liberty says that Government only has to take account
    • of its decisions eg. prisoners’ voting rights, DNA database where we are out of line with
    • others. So if we don’t have to do what they say why change it? Is it to be provocative? What
    • effect would opting out have on countries such as Turkey, Russia. Will we set a bad example.

Strategic Goals of AI – Not discussed

AOB

Sue M reported that the organisation Medical Aid for Palestinians is not able to offer a speaker but will let us have a Powerpoint presentation. Sue will follow this up.

Write for Rights Suggested date 14/12/14 Roz will ask Josh.

Lyn H Reported that Amnesty is the official charity of the social responsibility group at the Octagon Chapel.

Next Meeting – Wednesday 19 November at 7.30pm