Today’s blog comes from behind the placards as Amnesty International UK took to the streets for two very different causes. The day started off in Westminster outside Portcullis House for several Amnesty activists. They were joined by hundreds of other women and men who took to the streets to call for an abolition of the no recourse to public funds rule.Today’s event organised by Southall Black Sisters comes hot on the heels of Amnesty and Southall Black Sisters’ hard-hitting report which revealed how hundreds of women living in the UK face either staying in an abusive relationship or being made homeless, because they are not able to access basic levels of protection and support, simply because of their vulnerable status. Despite the rain and grey skies hundreds of women turned out to the demo before speaking to their MP to talk about the issue. Pictures to shortly follow. So then it was the turn of the Pakistan High Commission. There is a certain delight in a little bit of direct action. The morning’s rain had subsided and while the numbers weren’t quite as big as at Westminster, the symbolism was still there in bucketloads.Organised by Amnesty International and the Parliamentary All Party Punjabis in Britain Group, we’d gathered originally to highlight the case of Sarabjut Singh / Manjit Singh. It’s a complicated case of possible mistaken identity as explained in last week’s press release. But the bottom line is that he is due to be executed next Thursday. And our plea for his clemency was obviously getting out there. On Monday, Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister, Ansar Burney, had petitioned President Musharraf calling for the death sentence to be commuted to life imprisonment as reported here and here. And then just as I headed off to the vigil, news, courtesy of Asian Age, was filtering through that he could well get pardoned.Good news that certainly lifted the spirits at the vigil, but that doesn’t change the fact that Pakistan still has the largest number of people on death row – at over 7,000. Our campaign against this barbaric punishment goes on.Finally – if you missed it this morning, listen to Mike Thomson’s moving piece on the Today programme at 7.30 about the ongoing violence in the eastern part of the DRC. Powerful stuff
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.