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Minutes of Group Meeting August 10th 2015

Attending: Paddy, William, Claudia, Grainne, Carolyn, Paul, Liz, Beatrice, Leo

Apologies: Heiko

Welcome: Carolyn welcomed everyone to the meeting & welcomed guest speaker Grainne Teggart.

Contact with office: Carolyn advised on plans to improve contact with the Belfast office. Grainne suggested 1 person could visit the office, possibly once a month or Hannah could send emails to advise of updates on the office’s work. Carolyn advised she would visit the office.

Guest Speaker: Grainne Teggart, Campaigns Co-ordinator for My Body, My Rights spoke to the group on this campaign. Because there were new attendees Grainne gave a recap on this Global Priority Campaign advising that Ireland is one of the key countries. Grainne advised AI was working on a change in laws, policy & practice to bring NI in line with minimum human rights standards, campaigning to change the law to allow terminations in cases of rape, incest & fatal foetal abnormalities.

Grainne advised that because the Dept. of Health have not published guidelines this lack of clarity puts healthcare workers in a difficult position. The Human Right Commission has taken a case to court challenging the current law with the ruling expected September 15.

Grainne spoke of the socio-economic barriers to poorer women & the real obstructions to those trying to get through the protestors outside the Mari Stopes clinic. Grainne spoke of the work of Alliance for Choice which has a weekly stall in the city centre campaigning to change public opinion & the current legislation. Volunteers are needed. Anyone who would like to volunteer is to contact Beatrice. Polls show there is support for change both in Northern Ireland & the Republic of Ireland. The hypocracy of the governments were mentioned. They make no attempts to stop women travelling to Britain & Europe for terminations as long as they are not happening in Ireland.

Future campaigning on this includes a short film AI is producing. There will be an online action & action cards soon.

Fundraising Walk: Paul has organised a fundraising walk. It is Saturday 29th August @ 10am leaving from Cutter’s Wharf carpark. Flyers were distributed.

Actions: Urgent Action on Roma families facing forced eviction in Belgrade.

Urgent Action on Egyptian student Mahmoud Hussein, imprisoned for wearing a “Nation Without Torture Campaign” teeshirt.

Urgent Action on juvenile offender Salar Shadizadi at risk of execution for an alleged murder committed when he was 15.

Recent events: Group feedback on the Pride lecture on the campaign for equality for same sex couples in Republic of Ireland was positive advising it was an interesting & informative talk.

Pride Parade: Group feedback was very positive especially how prominent AI’s presence was & how effective AI placards were. Claudia stated she thought it would be better if the stalls were closer to the parade. There was a good response to the card signing.

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