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Croydon Amnesty AGM 2023 Report

Last month Croydon Amnesty held AGM 2023 in Ruskin House. 


Here is the full details of the Chair's report from the AGM. This includes what Croydon Amnesty have done during 2022. 


Croydon Amnesty International-Report of Year-February 2022/January 2023

It has been a busy year. We have had five meetings with a speaker or other activity.


In February Nigina Istanak Zai Zarifi, Amnesty’s country coordinator for Afghanistan

spoke about the human rights situation in the country and what we could do.


In April we visited Portcullis House and met Sara Jones MP who spoke to us about how to

best influence your MP (we had other Croydon MPs in mind). We also raised

concerns with her on Ukraine, dual nationals imprisoned in Iran and the case of

imprisoned Moroccan journalist, Omar Radi. We were able to have our monthly

meeting at Portcullis House and then Sara returned and took us on a fascinating tour

of the House of Commons and she treated us all to a drink on the Members Terrace

over-looking the Thames.


In June we heard from Graham Minter, a country coordinator with the South America team at AIUK, about work in the region.


In September you heard from me and my colleague Joe Dunsford via Zoom about the

work of the North Africa country coordinators. Four other groups joined us.


In October we heard from the manager of an initiative in Cardiff hosted by Housing Justice about the practical work being done to provide shelter for refugees, asylum

seekers and others.


We had a number of stalls during the year in an attempt to promote our group

amongst the young. We had two stalls at Croydon College in March and September

and a stall at Coulsdon College in September.


We had three stalls at Matthews Yard in March, April and May. We did not succeed in recruiting any new members from

these initiatives but we had some useful conversations. We also had a stall at Pride

in July and collected 135 signatures for a Russian case and 147 signatures for an

Iranian case we were promoting. 15 people also signed up to join the Rainbow

Network. We had a stall at the Jazz and Blues Festival at Ruskin House in July and

asked people to sign a petition to save our Human Rights Act and in December we

had a stall at the Croydon Central Library promoting the Write for Rights campaign.

On a very hot afternoon in August, we had an Amnestea in Sarah’s garden. Joan

assisted and £120 was raised.

We had another Quiz Night at Ruskin House in October ably hosted by Joan.

Delicious food was prepared by Peter and friends. We raised £404.

We raised £173.50 from carol singing at East Croydon station in the cold just before

Christmas. Wherever we were we had a collecting tin available.

We have sent hundreds of letters, emails and cards for scores of actions all over the


In association with the David Lean cinema in July we promoted a screening of the

Mauritanian and had a stall. Everyone who left the cinema took an action asking

people to sign a petition to close Guantanamo and to write to prisoners incarcerated

there. We also gave out information about our group and an Urgent Action after the

cinema screened a documentary about the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong.

Several of us over the year attended the regular vigils opposite parliament

demanding that Guantanamo be closed organised by the Lewes group.

Several of us also attended a demonstration outside the Afghan embassy supporting

women’s rights in Afghanistan on International Women’s Day and broke bread

afterwards. Members also attended vigils outside the FCDO in support of dual

British/Egyptian national Alaa Abd el-Fattah.

We had meals out at La Spezia in September and at Ponte Nuovo after carol singing

in December. Peter treated us to an Iftar supper, to break the fast during our May


We entered the 21 st century and Chris set up a Facebook page for us which we are

gradually developing


Beyond our Amnesty involvement we are all friends and do our best to be supportive

of each other.

I would like to convey my thanks to Georgio, previous owner of La Spezia, for

donating to the group £40 being the proceeds from his Easter egg raffle and to the

previous members of the Wimbledon and Merton group who gave us the balance on

their account of £230.07 when the group sadly closed down. We were able to send

Amnesty £1500 plus our affiliation fee.

I would also like to convey my thanks to Rachel and Joan for looking after our

finances and transferring our account last year to the Co-op. Thanks also go to

Peter for sending out emails, keeping a watchful eye on group correspondence

and for looking after our blog and to Ingrid and in her absence Joan, for being our

minute secretaries. Finally, thanks go to Sarah and Ingrid, for relaying Amnesty’s

monthly actions to us, and to you all for your involvement in the group.

I would like to finish by reading to you this beautiful message from Ibrahim Ezz el-Din

imprisoned in Egypt for 3 years on whose case the group worked:

The only thing that enlightened my days and gave me hope was the news... that

people still remember me and demand my freedom. In the darkest moments of

despair that I lived inside prison, the news of the campaigns calling for my release

was my only motivation to keep going and have hope."

"I would like to thank everyone who contributed to campaigning and defending me

from inside and outside Egypt. I especially thank Amnesty International, and all its

employees and members: you were the rays of sun in pitch dark. Words of thanks

cannot express my gratitude to all of you. We need to keep talking about the

detainees, as it will give them hope of escaping the injustice inflicted upon them.

Thank you all.”

At Croydon Amnesty we will continue to be “the rays of sun in pitch dark” to all those

imprisoned and whose human rights have been abused.

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