David H (Chair) welcomed all, 11 people present.

Apologies: Sue

Minutes of last meeting agreed

Matters Arising: Jo-Ann Veltman from UEA will talk about climate change, at our February open meeting.

Campaigns

  • Cambodia Hun Vannak and Doem Kundy Prisoners of conscience, arrested for filming two large vessels they suspected of carrying sand for export, illegally. Action letter circulated.
  • Uzbekistan Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov Updated background information circulated and letter to personalize and post.
  • Refugee sub-group
    • Comedian Mark Thomas will be at the Playhouse 8th February and its hoped he’ll help with a publicity action to raise awareness of the issues.
    • Social with refugees – Arts Centre happy for us to use them as a venue this year, possibly late summer.
  • Paul Clark (Ecumenical Accompanier) blogs about his experiences in Israel and Palestine. Anyone interested in accessing it contact David H through the group email. (info@norwichamnesty.org.uk (Carl cannot link it to our website)

Discussion

AIUK’s December issue of ‘International Issues’ was a summary of the results of worldwide survey of public attitudes towards Amnesty (Summarised in bold below). After a lively discussion amongst the committee we brought it to the open meeting. We feel it is a useful basis for examining our attitudes towards our work, our motives, and effectiveness.

Many people have not heard of AI. We need to be clearer about our message and aims.

  • Amnesty’s message is confused. Amnesty covers a far wider area of abuse than it used to

We are seen as ‘distant, superior and intellectual’

  • Our leaflets need to have simpler, clearer language, less text.
  • We need more imaginative ideas to convey information on our stalls. Pride photo action in 2016 hugely attractive to young people
  • In talking about Amnesty, we don’t need to cover all areas every time sometimes better to focus on one issue
  • Other organisations seem more proactive than us, quicker to react eg Change.org
  • Involve ourselves in other activities eg David H spoke briefly about AI at an event at the Arts Centre. N&N Arts Festival 2019 might be an opportunity to raise awareness
  • Video our group doing an activity, for the website
  • Freshers’ Day in the city centre eg at the Forum, similar to UEA Freshers’ events, where different local organisations/ charities have a stall to show what they do

Human Rights groups are less approved of than humanitarian relief organisations

  • We have a flood of concerns, people don’t know where to begin
  • Timescale for our cases is too long to maintain public interest
  • Our work is too upsetting
  • We’re seen as political and we impose our views
  • Amnesty reports are not referenced in the media as much as they used to be. Have we been replaced by other human rights organisations eg Human Rights Watch?

Discrimination and economic rights are big issues for global audiences

Amnesty acknowledges that “focusing on discrimination can help the organization reach out to youth audiences”. Does this mean we flag up our work on discrimination, change the way we present it or change the core beliefs?

We need to have positive hopeful messages

  • AI doesn’t showcase positive results enough. This would demonstrate the end goal, people need to see a causal link.
  • Need to flag up positive news more on our stalls and publicity events.

Events

  • Norwich Open Rights Group 22nd Jan 7pm Alexandra Tavern Information at www.openrightsgroup.org/groups/norwich Data law and digital rights
  • David H talk to Girls’ High School 23rd Jan
  • UEA Rm 5 Union building 24th Jan 6.30 Talk and slide show: Ahmad Al-Bazz and UEA PALSOC current situation in Palestine/Israel
  • Norwich City of Sanctuary 30th Jan 7.30 Arts Centre
  • Refugee sub-group meeting Marzano 2nd Feb 7pm
  • Peace Vigil St Peer Mancroft 3rd Feb 12-1
  • Mark Thomas Playhouse 8th Feb 7-30
  • AIUK National Conference Swansea 7-8th April
  • Talk Paul Bernal on Internet Privacy Rights – Open Meeting 18th April 7.30
  • Quiz and dips 5th May S (TBC when hall arranged) Joanna to contact David Y
    ACTION Joanna

AOB

  • Mark English, Human Trafficking Coordinator for Norfolk and Suffolk is happy to talk to the group.
    ACTION Joanna
  • Data protection – We need to update our ways of doing things to conform to legislation. David F is looking into how we record personal information. Forms that don’t come from AI/AIUK need modifying.
    ACTION David F
  • Letter writing group – A group devoted to letter writing was suggested in 2017. Anyone interested in convening or being in a group contact David H.

Next meeting Wednesday 21st February 7.30

AGM and Jo-Ann Veltman