Purposes and Principles
The Amnesty Central England Network – launched at the Amnesty Central England Conference in Birmingham in February 2023 - is a flexible, regional network of activists across Amnesty’s West, East and South Midlands regions. The Network has been created to engage more people in our work to defend and promote human rights (under the banner of “Universal Rights; Local Action”), to increase campaigning impact, and to support and work with other Amnesty activist channels, including the 30+ existing Local Groups in the region – all of this contributing to a more powerful Amnesty movement in the region. The initiative draws on various innovative developments in local activism in the last two or three years, including the successful Kent Network pilot. The Central England Network is endorsed and supported by Amnesty UK and works closely with Amnesty’s UK’s Community Organising Team.
The Network aims to:
- engage more people across our region in Amnesty’s work to defend and promote human rights
- support and work with other Amnesty activist channels, including the 30+ existing Local Groups in the region
- contribute to a more powerful and impactful Amnesty movement in the region.
These aims align closely with the three central objectives of the Amnesty UK Strategy 2022-2030.
The Network intends to operate on the following principles:
- We want to build the Network around the time, skills and resources that people are able to commit to Amnesty, and, critically, to be welcoming and inclusive
- We intend to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy
- We intend to avoid hierarchies, both in the way we organise ourselves and in relationships with other parts of Amnesty; for example we will work in partnership with Local Groups
- Membership of the network should naturally be active and participatory rather than passive – with ideas and initiatives coming from anywhere in the network; and avoiding a model where a very small number of people are doing all the work, sitting on a “long tail” of email addresses!
As above, the Network seeks to be flexible and non-hierarchical as far as possible. It is organised currently in the following way:
- An overall Organising Team of, currently, six people
- A number of Sub-Teams, which currently deal with:
- Campaigning – identifying and planning priority campaigns of particular relevance to the region
- Communications – internal (Network Members; other Amnesty activist channels) and external (third party organisations, media
- MP advocacy – maintaining a network of “constituency reps” to advocate on human rights issues to MPs (and candidates)
- Events – to include a speaker programme and attendance at community events
- Finance and fundraising – to ensure that fundraising is a natural part of ongoing activity and to organise specific fundraising events
- A Network Membership list
(Amnesty Central England Network Organising Team, June 2023)