Minutes Group Meeting August 11th 2014

Attending: Carolyn, Liz, Paddy, Elizabeth, Claudia, Ruska, Paul, Heiko, Helen, Gee, Kate, Carmel, Beatrice

Apologies: Pearse, Leo

July 2014 Minutes:  

Paul asked if there were any comments on July’s minutes. Paul mentioned from the minutes the Humanitarian Partnership & if anyone wanted to donate to contact Leo.

Action of the Month:

This was a photo action. Everyone attending had their picture taken with a solidarity message for a Syrian IAR. Kate will forward the photos to AIUK.

New  IAR:

Because our previous IAR,  Rwandan Agnes Uwimana Nkusi,  has been released the  group discussed chosing a new case to campaign on from the cases available. Claudia suggested  the case of Jacqueline Montanez from USA who is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a crime committed when she was 15 years old.  The imposition of this sentence on anyone who was under 18 years old at the time of the crime violates international law. Paul also spoke in favour of the group campaigning on this case. Liz spoke of her interest in the case of disappeared El Salvador sisters Ernestina and Erlinda Serrano Cruz & Carolyn spoke of her interest in the Palestine Jayyus village case. The group voted to work on the USA case with Claudia continuing to be the group lead on this. Because there was interest in the other 2 cases Beatrice advised she’d keep the group updated on these 2 cases & when relevant organise solidarity cards/letter writing on these cases. It was decided that the group would work on these 3 cases during the Write for Rights letter writing sessions later this year.

Write for Rights:

Helen suggested organising an event, including other organisations, for  Write for Rights 2014. Helen will arrange to highlight the event  in the Human Rights festival programme. It was agreed that Helen’s work publicising the event last year had made it a very  successful  & well attended Write for Rights day.

Feedback on recent events:

Rona Keen talk on IAR Agnes Uwimana Nkusi. This was thought to be informative, interesting & well attended.

Refugee Week: Claudia & Heiko were thanked for their hard work in ensuring the group were included in many of the events. Heiko advised that while there was some networking with other NGOs to organise this that more networking is needed to ensure the group is involved in upcoming events.

Pride Week:

Paul spoke of the very well attended Pride Lecture by Panti Bliss, advising it was  a fun, positive event. Amnesty had a very obvious presence at the Pride Parade. It was thought that the location of stalls by St Annes Cathedral wasn’t as good a location compared to Custom House Square of previous years.

East Timor Book Launch:

Paul advised this was an interesting event & that No Alibis would be a good location for any future AI book launches.

Gaza:

There was a noticeable presence by the group for the rally at City Hall. Group members have attended other rallies & vigils.

Integrated Strategic Plan:

It was felt that while the  process for this was rushed it was good that the group were involved & had forwarded feedback to AIK.  It was also felt that it would be interesting when feedback from other groups is received & analysed to look for common patterns & ideas from local groups.

Future events:

The October meeting will be a joint meeting with QUB & Downpatrick groups. The guest speaker will be Dr Julian Sheather of the BMA who will talk about the role of medical professionals in torture. Grainne Teggert will also give a talk at this meeting.

Fundraising:

Carolyn suggested another pub quiz at either John Hewitt pub or Sunflower café, possibly in November.  Finding a  quiz master would be the biggest challenge.

Heiko advised he is working on organising an art event, including the paintings of group member Barbara. Heiko has been in touch with some galleries & will advise further.

My Body, My Rights campaign update:

Helen gave the group an update on this campaign & gave the group printouts related to the campaign. These printouts were about

-The UN’s criticism of Ireland’s abortion laws

-Chile moving closer to decriminalising abortion

-European Court ruling against a Finnish woman who came out as transgender during her marriage & whose marriage is no longer recognised due to Finland’s prohibition of same sex marriage.

Location of meetings:

It was debated whether the Amnesty office, Ormeau Road or the Human Rights Consortium office, Royal Avenue suited more people for our monthly meetings. As the Human Rights Consortium office suited more of the group it was decided this would become our regular meeting place for future meetings.  When Helen isn’t available & we can’t use the Human Rights Consortium office we will hold our meetings  at the  Amnesty office, Ormeau Road. Beatrice advised any change in location will be highlighted when the agenda is forwarded before each meeting.

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