Minutes of Group Meeting March 14th 2016

Attending: Liz, Rowan, Paul, Paddy, Carmel, Claudia, Oliver, Heiko, Beatrice

Apologies: Carolyn, Pearse, Grainne

Welcome: Claudia welcomed everyone to the meeting & advised that our expected guest speaker Michelle Byers was unable to attend but can attend next meeting if that suited. Group agreed with this.

Liaising with QUB group:  Claudia advised  she’d  attended  a recent QUB Amnesty meeting. Claudia & Rowan advised  it was suggested that the groups have a social event . It was decided that we’d have a pub quiz. All NI local groups will be invited. Claudia is to contact The Sunflower Bar to check availablity.  Suggested dates were 19th or 26th April. Further details to follow.

Feedback on recent events:

Take the Boat film about Irish women travelling to England for abortions was screened at QFT. The group had a stall & got over 40 signatures for a petition calling for the change in Ireland’s abortion laws & an action supporting girls fleeing forced marriages in Burkina Faso. Feedback on the film was very positive.

Mourne walk organised by the Mid Down group.  Feedback was very positive advising it was an enjoyable & well attended event.

Good News:

Albert Woodfox who was released after 43 years in solitary confinement in USA has sent his thanks to Amnesty for working for his release.

Shell have been found liable to pay compensation claims for spills & damage done in the Niger Delta.

In Guatemala two military personnel have been convicted & imprisoned for committing sex crimes against women.

Group cases: Claudia advised that Jacqueline Montanez is awaiting a new sentencing date & current campaigning on her case if limited. Claudia asked for the groups thoughts on working on other USA cases Edward Snowden & Chelsea Manning. Claudia will speak to the US country coordinator to ascertain the workload involved & then the group will decide if we want to work on these cases.

Country Coordinator vacancies: Claudia advised there are country coordinator vacancies if anyone wanted to apply. Paul described the role of a country coordinator advising they work with local groups campaigning on specific countries & world regions & the Individuals at Risk within the region.

AGM: Carolyn had summarised  the governance Special Resolutions  that will be voted on at the AGM. This was very helpful, thank you to Carolyn! The group discussed how it would vote on these governance resolutions.  There was some concern that a few of the resolutions could reduce the democracy of the organisation but that we should decide how we’d vote on the day after listening to the debates.

Belfast group stall. Claudia advised that no positive responses from bookshops & cafes she’d written to asking if the group could have a stall at their premises. Anyone with any more ideas on this please contact Claudia.

Action of the Month: The group wrote messages of support for girls & women fleeing forced marriages in Burkina Faso. The messages, written on colourful material, will be sent to the 5 refuges that AI is supporting.

Upcoming events: 

Amnesty organised quiz at The Black Box on March 17th.

AGM: 9th & 10th April in Nottingham.

The AI NI office have suggested  the  Belfast & QUB groups organise a talk during the Belfast Book Festival  on 9-19th June.  This will be discussed further at next meeting.

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