Chair: David Huband
- Chair welcomed all to the meeting
- Minutes of last Open meeting: Agreed
Apologies: Jim Massey, Sue Mackey
The Group AGM
David Huband described the year as ‘average’ – though even so, in retrospect, it has been very active.
- The Group has continued to campaign for Salidzhon Abdurakhkmanov in Uzbekistan – a long and arduous campaign, led by David Ford. But we keep on writing.
- Thanks to Joanna Kinnaird who has continued with the Monthly Actions and the Children’s Campaigns.
- The Group has campaigned against arms sales to Saudi Arabia, particularly in light of the bombings in Yemen.
- Refugees: The Group has collaborated with the “Norwich, City of Sanctuary” umbrella group. Members have joined a demonstration at County Hall. They have written letters to the local press and Councillors as well as to our MPs and the Home Secretary. Members also participated in the London march for Refugees.
- Roz Cadwallader has continued to present campaigns related to Women’s issues, such as Forced marriages in Burkina Faso.
- We have campaigned for the rights of the LGBT community with a stall during Norwich Pride event.
- The Group had a stall at the Peace Camp.
- And members were engaged in the Write for Rights Campaign.
We had a number of visiting speakers during the year, including…
Anac Injarie, a Syrian ophthalmologist spoke very movingly of his experiences in Syrian hospitals. Nick Cantor, who gave a very informative talk about Mexico, George Szirtes who spoke about Hungary as well as ‘in-house’ speakers on Turkey, Yemen and the Death Penalty.
Our treasurer, David Ford presented his report. He thanked Lynn Holt for the very successful Amnestea she organised with the Unitarians, Nicky Leach for the Street Collection, Sue Mills for Christmas Card sales and David Yates, Roz Cadwallader and Debbie Campbell for the very successful Quiz and Dips.
The closing balance at the end of 2016 was £1157.88 plus 116.69 cash in hand.
These events all help to raise AI’s profile as did stalls at the Peace Camp and Pride Day, the monthly vigil outside St Peter Mancroft against arms sales, the library exhibition of Children’s book illustrators “We are all born free”,and the parliamentary lobby attended by Joanna and David Ford.
- Chelsea Manning, whose sentence has been reduced.
- Abdul Hakim Belhaj, whose claims of torture are to be investigated.
- The release of Khadija Ismayilora in Uzbekistan, and Mahdi Abu Deep in Bahrain.
- The release of the Iranian artist, Arena Farghalani.
- Shaker Aamer has been released, though Guantanamo is still open.
- Many visits to schools by David Huband.
We failed to schedule a discussion on the motions before this year’s AIUK AGM. (The Group really needs a Secretary. but thanks to Joanna for everything she does.) The Committee will discuss these next month.
Plans for 2017
- We will continue with our campaign to free Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov in Uzbekistan.
- Continue to campaign for refugees, both locally and nationally – working closely with other organisations under the “Norwich, City of Sanctuary” umbrella.
- Campaign against the Arms Trade with Saudi Arabia.
- Children’s Rights
- Women’s rights
- Monthly Actions
- We will participate in official National Campaigns
- We will try to increase our membership and consider forming sub-groups taking responsibility for a particular Action in an effort to increase our active membership and also increase the amount of campaigning.
All members of the Committee agreed to re-election and Judith Tigerschiold was also elected.
The meeting closed at 7.30 and everyone moved to the Arts Centre for a production of Michelle Sewell’s play Border Control, followed by a discussion. After which members of the audience could visit our Amnesty Stall.
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 15 March 2017