Minutes Group Meeting September 8th 2014
Attending: Joseph, Elizabeth, Liz, Claudia, Carolyn, Beatrice, Leo, Heiko, Helen, Paddy
Apologies: Paul, Carmel
Minutes: Claudia asked if any comments about August minutes. No comments
Claudia introduced the new case the group will be working on, Jacqueline Montanez. Jacqueline has been in sentenced to life without parole for a gangland double murder committed when she was only 15. She is now 38. Because she was tried in an adult rather than a juvenile court her mental health & very dysfunctional family background weren’t taken into account. The Supreme Court has outlawed life without the possibility of parole for those convicted of a crime committed when under 18 so Jacqueline is entitled to a new sentencing hearing but there is no time frame for this. There is a 2012 appeal to the state governor for clemency but there is no timescale on this. Jacqueline’s imprisonment for a crime committed when she was a child violates international law.
The group signed a petition for this case
Beatrice advised the group that AI’s current work on womens’ human rights in Afghanistan is entering its final stages. AI use the fact that 35% of those who voted in this year’s presidential elections were women as a demonstration of how far Afghanistan has come since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. But there is a worry that gains could be lost & it seems that the presence of Afghan women at the September NATO summit will be low. More worryingly the UK government hasn’t appeared to take any action to encourage the Afghan government to include women in its delegation to deliver on the commitment made in June 2014 that its Women, Peace & Security principles would be discussed at the summit. It is essential that the UK government is held to account for this backslide in its support of Afghan womens’ rights.
The group signed letters for their MPs.
Stop Torture Campaign & Action of the Month:
Beatrice briefly updated the group on the current 5 cases in the Stop Torture Campaign. These cases are Claudia Medina Tamariz from Mexico. Ali Aarrass from Morocco. Moses Akatugba from Nigeria. Dilorom Abdukadirova from Uzbekistan & Alfredo Disbarro from Phillipines. 4 of these cases will be in this years Write for Rights.
The group signed letters for Claudia Medina Tamariz which is September Action of Month.
West Bank & El Salvador cases:
While discussing which case to work on as our IAR, at a previous meeting, group members had expressed interest in 2 other cases. The land rights case of the Jayyus village in the West Bank & the disappeared El Salvador children Ernestina & Erlinda Cruz.
Beatrice gave a brief background of these cases & suggested dates in the year that solidarity cards/ letters can be sent.
The group signed a solidarity card for the family of Ernestina & Erlinda Cruz to mark the International Day of the Disappeared which is 30 August.
Write for Rights:
Beatrice advised the 2014 Write for Rights cases have been chosen. There will be 12 1st tier & 7 2nd tiers cases. As usual the group will work on all of them. The group also decided it would also work on Jacqueline Montanez, Jayyas Village & Ernestina & Erlinda Cruz cases at the same time.
Claudia explained the Strategic Goals Paper process. The first draft will be ready on 19th September & AIUK have asked that groups give their feedback by end of October. The group decided because it is unable to discuss this during October meeting we would have an extra meeting on 30th September to discuss this.
Helen introduced a land rights AI action from Peru. The group wrote & signed letters for the Chaupe family who have received death threats & are being threatened with forced eviction.
Heiko advised his plans to hold an art exhibition are ongoing.
AIUK have suggested group organise a sponsored walk to fundraise & highlight the Stop Torture campaign. Beatrice to look into established events that the group could join for this.
Quiz night: Leo volunteered to be quiz master. The Sunflower Café was suggested as a possible venue. Claudia to look into.
Culture night volunteers:
Beatrice advised group of request from Patrick Corrigan for volunteers for Culture Night.
Claudia advised that October meeting would be a joint meeting with Downpatrick & QUB with 2 speakers – Julian Streather from BMA on medical professionals & torture & Grainne Teggert on My Body, My Rights campaign.
Annual AI lecture will be 20th October. More details to follow.
Write for Rights will be in December, more details to follow.
Next meeting: October 13th, 7.45pm at Human Rights Consortium Office, Royal Avenue