Minutes of Group Meeting June 13th 2016

Attending: Carolyn, Paul, Paddy, Grainne, Phyllis, Rowan, Heiko, Claudia, Stephen, Fionnula, Leo

Apologies: Liz, Pearse, Beatrice, Carmel

Welcome & minutes: Carolyn welcomed the group & asked if any comments on May minutes.  No comments.

Good News: Carolyn reported on the release of Maria Teresa Rivera in El Salvador. She was sentenced to 40 years for suffering a miscarriage. Also, Khadija Ismayilova was freed in Azerbaijan.  

Lecture on Abortion: Carolyn asked for feedback on the Lecture on Abortion by Paul Fogarty and Sarah Ewart. Comments were very positive. It was reported that the event took the shape of a role play between a doctor that has to break the news of fatal foetal abnormalities to their pregnant patient. The session was recorded and it was deemed very powerful by who attended.

“A Day in May” book launch: Paul gave feedback on this presentation, which took place at QFT. The book is about the legalisation of equal marriage in the Republic of Ireland. 40 people attended, the speakers were people involved in the campaign, and the photographer who did the book. Also, four women who were about to get married, spoke of their experience for the first time.

Abortion and Reproductive Justice conference: Claudia reported on AI’s stall at this conference, which was held at the MAC theatre. It was a hugely interesting, but mainly academic event, and a physical presence at the stall was deemed not particularly relevant.

Screening of “The Penalty”: Claudia advised that the USA country coordinator was enquiring whether groups would be interested to organise events around the screening of “The Penalty”, a film on the death penalty in the US, on 10th October. The group agreed on taking this on and liaising with the student group in Belfast and other groups in Northern Ireland.

IAR Jacqueline Montanez: Claudia reported that there are no real updates on Jacqueline’s case. However, on 29th May she celebrated her birthday, and the group took a picture holding birthday wishes that Claudia is to send to her lawyer. Moreover, it was decided to cooperate with a group in Indianapolis Paul got the group in touch with to send Jacqueline origami paper.

Johan Teterissa: Paul advised that he spoke with the researcher on Indonesia in AIUK to plan an action for Johan’s 9th year of imprisonment. It was decided that it is more appropriate to have an action next month. Paul was also invited to a seminar on Papua next Friday. The new country coordinator for Indonesia will attend, along with one speaker from Papua, and people from main NGOs AI works with on the country.

Refugee Week: Heiko organised the screening of the film “This is Exiles: Diaries of Child Refugees” next Monday 20th at the Medical Biology Centre. He is to send the flyer to Grainne for her to forward it to the group’s mailing list. Heiko asked the group to mobilise on Facebook to advertise the group, Paul suggested he got in touch with Patrick Corrigan to circulate the event more broadly throughout AIUK. Discussion on the composition of a panel for a discussion after the screening ensued. It was decided to organise a stall at the event as well.

Next meeting: Carolyn proposed Monday 4th July as the date of the next meeting. The group agreed. Paddy advised that he will be unavailable until 19th July.

Guest Speakers: Carolyn informed the group that Norma Ncube, from Zimbabwe, agreed to talk with the group about her experience of being refused asylum, Justin from NICRAS may join her too. Questions arose whether to keep the meeting small or to involve all NI groups and postpone it to September. Heiko proposed to have the speakers in July, and at the meeting to start organising a bigger event for September. It was agreed to have an event in September inviting Steve Simmons from AIUK. Carolyn added that Norma suggested Mimi came to speak with the group too.

Action: Group signed a petition to be sent to Apple, Samsung and Huawei calling on them to stop buying minerals extracted in the DRC under hazardous conditions or with child labour.

Belfast Book Festival: Carolyn advised that on Tuesday 14th there will be an event with a Korean speaker at 5:30 at the Crescent Arts Centre chaired by Patrick Corrigan. Paul and Carolyn will be having an AI stall.

Match Donations: Carolyn reminded the group that our donations to AIUK on the Forced Marriage campaign will be doubled by the Government. The group donated £250.

Group Finances: Pearse is to give an update at the next group meeting.

AOB: The group agreed on sending a sympathy card to Michelle Beyers for her family bereavement.

Carolyn mentioned that a picture featuring members of the group on May Day was published by I newspaper with an article on abortion rights.

Paddy brought to the group’s attention an article of the Irish Catholic on secondary schools refusing to work with Amnesty because of its stand on abortion.

Rowan and Grainne announced that they will be sharing the Regional Representative role: Rowan will focus more on liaising with the media, while Grainne will deal with capacity building.

 

Upcoming events:

14th June Belfast Book Festival

Pride Lecture. More will be discussed during July’s meeting.

2nd July Rally for Choice. Grainne advised that it is still unclear whether there will be an active AI involvement. Fionnuala is to follow this up.

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