Minutes Group Meeting December 9th 2013
Minutes of Belfast Amnesty Group Meeting 9th December 2013
Attending: Paul, Paddy, Carmel, Carolyn, Beatrice, Claudia, Heiko, Miriam, Lee, Pearse
Action of the Month: The group signed a petition calling on Russian President Putin to stop the crackdown on the basic rights of freedom of expression, association & assembly.
Zimbabwe. Carolyn advised of the ongoing crackdown on civil society advising that while the election was peaceful it’s credibility has been questioned. AI is focusing on campaigning for 7 human rights defenders, individuals & groups, including WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise). Carolyn prepared a very creative action for the group. It was an A4 map of N Ireland with scenic pictures & the group wrote messages of solidarity. It is to be forwarded to AIUK who are using local groups pictures to create posters to send to the human rights defenders they are campaigning for. Paul advises he will organise a speaker from Zimbabwe for one of our 2014 meetings possibly April.
Afghanistan: Beatrice advised of 2 recent AI press releases on Afghanistan.
The first warned that the proposed reinstatement of punishments would mark a dangerous return to legalising state brutality. Public stoning, amputations & flogging are amongst punishments being put forward in draft amendments to the Afghan Penal Code. Some of these punishments are proposed for acts which shouldn’t be criminalised in the first place such as consensual sex between adults & choosing one’s religion.
The second warned that the protection of civilians must improve as the security transition gets closer. There has been a rise in civilian casualties in Afghanistan in the first half of 2013 compared with the same period in 2012.
Group IAR Agnes Umimana Nkusi: Claudia had prepared signs which the group were photographed holding. These will be sent to the Rwanda Country Co-Ordinator who will forward to Agnes’ solicitor. We also sent letters to the Rwandan President & Minister Of Foreign Affairs regarding Agnes’ case.
Afghan Photo Exhibition: Paul advised that there is a photography exhibition on from 9-13 December 2013 at QUB in the Enterprise Suite in the Student’s Union. Called “If I can Be A Voice” it documents Afghan women living in Britain.
- Write for Rights card & letter writing session will be Saturday 14th December 2013 at the Amnesty office between 11 & 3.
- Paul has arranged a speaker from Sri Lanka to give a talk to the group in January 2014.
> AI NI Conference will be at the MAC in January 2014 – further details to follow.
> The group will hold it’s annual AGM during March 2014 meeting.
> AIUK Conference & AGM will be in Edinburgh 12-13th April 2014
> Paul spoke about current Country Co-Ordinator vacancies, advising that it is a rewarding volunteering position.
> Pearse advised the pub quiz raised £233 which has been banked.
> Pearse asked for 2 new signatories for the group account. Paul & Carolyn volunteered