January 2015 Report - Bath Amnesty

STOP PRESS: Although not an Amnesty thing but of mutual interest I hope, I delighted to report that for my private and 4th trip to the Burmese refugees on the Thai/Burma border I have received donations from members as well as funds from the Burma evening, as wished by those who worked on it, of £435 which is an enormous sum over there.   This will be divided between Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot which is the main medical centre for all 9 camps as well as operating backpack doctors to remote areas.   For the Aid Assistance for Political Prisoners centre who get food, clothing and medical supplies to those in prison and pay fares for poor families to visit them.   To the Burma Link organisation which runs courses to repatriate the Karen people where I will be working and to the remote Ban Don Yang Camp and I have attached my friend’s latest reports about this camp. Thank you so much to all those who so thoughtfully and generously gave funds.

 

Letterwriting: we wrote 38 letters last month and 26 greetings cards, many thanks to those who came along and this month it will be 16 letters. I am pleased to report that the Dominican Republic has decriminalised abortion in certain circumstances about which we wrote last month, so a great success.

 

Abbey Petition: we gathered 174 signatures from only 2 weeks at the Abbey and this has now been sent to Federica Mogherini, who took Baroness Ashton’s position as the EU Foreign Policy Chief and if you remember the petition was to put pressure on the Burmese President to release ALL political prisoners.

 

Burma: reported on 13Dec that a New Zealander and Burmese owners of a new bar in Rangoon have been sent for trial for showing Buddha sporting a pair of earphones, considered an insult.

 

North Korea: I imagine you are all aware of the upset that the film The Interview has created and the subsequent hacking into Sony’s computers. Obama has announced more sanctions as a result of this. I have since read that a NK defector and activist now in SK plans to fly 100,000 copies of it by balloon into NK. However, balloons are often shot down and even if successful it is rare for any NK families to own a DVD player or computer with which to play it.

 

Merrill Newman, An American was detained for 42days in late 2013 and has subsequently been billed $3241 for his detention!

 

UN’s Bank Ki Moon has welcomed the announcement yesterday of high level talks between NK and SK while SK is providing $620,000 aid to the North through the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia & Pacific.

 

Wendy Hughes,

Burma & NK Co-Ordinator

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