21st March 2018 Open Meeting Minutes

Chair: David Huband

Chair welcomed all to the meeting

Apologies: David Ford, Joanna Kinnaird

Minutes of last meeting: Agreed

Matters arising

“Families together” Campaign.

On Friday 16thMarch, 129 MPs from across the political spectrum voted for a Bill to allow young refugees to be united with their families. 42 voted against. (Neither Clive Lewis, nor Chloe Smith were present.) The Bill will go to the Committee Stage in around 6 months. However the government has indicated that it will oppose.

Campaigns

Shakelia Jackson.

Her brother was shot dead in Kingston, Jamaica. She and her family have been campaigning to bring those responsible to justice. (The police were looking for a suspect with dreadlocks and shot without any investigation). The case was included in this year’s Write for Rights and Shakelia thanks the 6,000 letter writers who have given her the courage to continue to continue to speak out.

Rodrigo Mundaca: The Defence Movement of Earth, Environmental Protection and the access to water. (MODATIMA).

David Bissonet introduced this action on behalf of Rodrigo Mundaca in Central Chile, whose work to defend community access to water has resulted in death threats and physical attack. This is part of the BRAVE campaign in support of Human Rights defenders and it is thought that the publicity has had an impact as Rodrigo and his colleague, Veronica were summoned to a hearing in January concerning the death threats. Campaigning postcards were distributed. More details online.

Amnesty International Annual Conference and AGM.

The rest of the meeting was devoted to discussion of the 6 Motions to be debated at the Conference.
David Huband plans to attend and will act as our representative for the Group vote.
Members also have a proxy vote which can be accessed on line.

B1 Homelessness:

The Committee had discussed this and recognised that Homelessness is a HR issue, but felt that other specialist campaigning organisations, such as Shelter, were better placed to deal with this.

AGAINST

B2 The right of self-determination of Papua-New Guinea

The Committee recognised that AI takes no position on specific self-determination claims- nor on calls for referenda in other parts of the World (Catalonia, Scotland). Any such policy change would result in a Global Assembly decision.

AGAINST

B3 Human Rights and International Trade – with specific reference to Cobalt (Democratic Republic of Congo), Palm Oil (Indonesia), Shell Oil Nigeria.

David Yates pointed out that Amnesty had always taken a position supporting human rights obligations in international trade and investment. Brexit will mean that the UK will be able to negotiate new, International trade and investment agreements. This resolution seeks to ensure that all human rights are respected and that violations will incur criminal sanctions and just compensation.

AGREE

C1 Freedom of Religious ExpressionThat AIUK should include advocating for Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the next strategic plan.

Sue Mills explained that Article 18 guarantees Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion. It has never been codified as this has historically proved to have been a divisive issue used by some states to justify the suppression of other rights. Nevertheless, since its creation in 1961 AIUK has alwayscovered this issue– and Freedom of Religious Expression will continue to fall within the current strategic objectives.

The Board has taken no position on this and looks forward to the debate.

AGREED THAT DH SHOULD DO THE SAME.

C2 The Right to live with your spouse or civil partner.

David Bissonet gave details of the financial requirements for bringing a spouse or civil partner to the UK. The board opposes this resolution as currently worded as the policy has been challenged in the Courts and the case lost. AIUK does not have the spare funding for another campaign and work already planned would have to be dropped.

AGAINST

C3 Discrimination based on Caste

A decision on this would be premature before the Government Equalities Office (GEO), which is consulting on this, has reported.

AGAINST

Events

  • PSC film ‘Stone Cold Justice’ Friends’ Meeting House. March 28th.
  • Film Festival : Waltz with Bashir has been cancelled because not enough tickets had been bought.
  • Selma will go ahead – Cinema City March 29th – 6pm.
  • AGM Swansea April 7th and 8th
  • Peace Vigil April 7th St Peter Mancroft; 12-1

Next meeting April 18th

Speaker: Dr. Paul Burnell (UEA)
“Internet Privacy, Cambridge Analytica and Human Rights”