I’m sorry for the long gap since my last email in March. It’s been a busy few months, with the AGM and National Conference, two Board meetings and, as I write, we’re less than a month away from the International Council Meeting, the highest decision-making meeting of the global movement.
I’ve been campaigning for individuals at risk for many years, but recently this has become shockingly real. The Chair of Amnesty International Turkey and the Director are currently in jail and we are extremely concerned about them. I have met Idil Eser at Amnesty conferences and it’s painful to think of this thoughtful, kind woman in a Turkish prison. The whole of the Amnesty movement is rallying around them. Staff at the International Secretariat have been working flat out on their behalf and, here in the UK, Kate and our staff have also been liaising with the UK government. However, we fear this may be a long campaign. If you haven’t done so already, please take the action to Turkey’s Minister Justice.
It will be difficult to attend the forthcoming International Council Meeting in Rome knowing that my colleagues are in jail. Their absence will cast a shadow over our discussions on international governance and the many other resolutions will feel like questions of detail. But it is necessary that we improve the way we work. AIUK is proposing two resolutions to the ICM which were proposed by individual members and supported by our AGM. We will be seeking the International Council’s support for a strategy on the human rights impact of climate change and a review of global policy on abortion. I’m delighted that we have the support of a number of other sections and of the International Board. I look forward to reporting back to you in September and at next year’s AGM.
Our recent Board meetings have discussed a wide range of issues. We are monitoring the implementation of AGM decisions and if you want to read updates of how this is going, please visit the AGM site on our governance pages.
As well as preparing for the ICM, the Board have also spent a lot of time considering the implications for Amnesty International UK of the General Data Protection Regulation. AGM delegates will have heard the Treasurer refer to the importance of this, as it sets new standards and new challenges in the way we seek and maintain consent to contact our supporters. This contact is essential to our success, not only financial but also as a campaign organisation that mobilises people to act for human rights. We are concerned, and as you can imagine, we are paying close attention to this new piece of regulation.
We’ve been delighted to welcome several new members to the Board. Thomas Chigbo, Abby Grant, Sharon Lovell and Rebecca Warren are already making a great contribution and I’m looking forward to working with them in the months and years to come. It won’t be long before we start seeking nominations for the next round of Board elections. If you’re interested or want to find out more, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, I am delighted that we are now recruiting to roles on our new Board Sub Committee on Campaigns and Impact. We are looking for people with expertise in campaigning with one specific role reflecting Amnesty activism experience. If you are interested in this committee or would like to find out more, again please get in touch with email@example.com or visit our website here.
Chair, Amnesty International UK Section