Minutes September 2014 Meeting East Devon Amnesty



SEPT 18th 2014 Twyford House, Sidmouth 7.30


Present: Maureen Thurlow (chair), Tony McFarlane, Barbara Dustan-Smith, Angela Lambert, David Evans, Trish Sulaimani, Martin McDonagh, Maureen Sinha, Miranda Tinkler.

Apologies: Ruth Hustler, Tina Day, Yvonne Taylor, Liz Charles, Chris Cooper, Gretchen Danckwardt.

1. July Minutes and matters arising: meeting decided that October agenda include full discussion of 2015 Branscombe supper, Angela to check provisional dates, Barbara to prepare work list of jobs.

2. Letters for signing cases in Mexico for Torture Campaign (Miranda) Phillipines, Bahrain, several Mexico cases and other petitions (Angela), Egypt (Barbara). Barbara reported that our Chinese poc Gao Zhisheng was released from prison in August, but is in poor health and is being held under house arrest for a year at his in-laws home.

3. Finance:

4. Monthly Action: Torture in Mexico. Angela had prepared a good shortened version of the AIUK letter to the Mexican President, drawing his attention to the new AI report on Mexico Human Rights abuses and asking for action on this.

5. Stop Torture Campaign: Miranda (campaign coordinator) noted there were new AI reports on Mexico and Nigeria, we assume there will soon be new reports on the other three countries highlighted in the campaign (Uzbekistan, Morocco, Philippines). Miranda asked the group to reconsider holding an Amnesty Tea party as a fundraiser/awareness event. Members agreed, with a suggested date of Valentine’s Day Sat 14th Feb (afternoon) at the Sidmouth Methodist Hall. Trish will book this and liaise with Miranda.

6. Afghan Women’s Rights: Maureen (campaign coordinator) reported that the group was asked to write to the new Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, repeating the information already sent to William Hague, to apprise him of Amnesty’s views. We do this via letters to our MPs Hugo Swire and Neil Parrish - Maureen and Miranda writing respectively on behalf of the group.

7. AI Strategic Goals Consultation: Maureen noted that groups were asked to discuss this document, but it was not available until the day after our meeting (19th Sept), and needed to be returned to HQ by Oct 17th (the day after our next meeting) leaving little time for group discussion. Members are also invited to download the document individually, and give their views, and Maureen asked members to do this, go to www.amnesty.org.uk/groups/.../regional-strategic-goals-consultation. It can still be discussed at the next meeting if desired. There will be official AI presentations about it at Bristol and Plymouth in October, contact Maureen if interested in attending.

8. Folk Week feedback, Budleigh Stall: Folk week stall went well, plenty of signatures for the torture cases, but fewer book sales and donations. Councillors Pollentine and Dent supported us with their signatures. The Lions Budleigh Salterton Bank Holiday event was cancelled due to terrible weather. Instead, at the Lions Town Hall event on Oct 11th morning Trish and either Yvonne or Martin will man our stall, again with torture cases.

9. Write for Rights Campaign: Dec 5th meeting - Maureen T will coordinate this. She should have all the information by Nov 1st, and will pass it on to Maureen S for publicity at the Herald.

Chris Ramsey our Regional Rep has asked Maureen T for feedback on this campaign, our views, what we do, etc. Members discussed – why the change from Greetings to Write for rights, need for individual cases not big groups, cards not letters are best, etc. – ours is ‘festive’ event which our peripheral supporters enjoy and engage with. Maureen will write elucidating this.

10. Group Web Page: Martin has successfully created our web site, please look at it at www.amnesty.org.uk/eastdevon or just google Amnesty International East Devon or Sidmouth. The web address will be added to all our literature and leaflets. Martin will add pictures – including pictures were taken of this group meeting – Maureen T to ask Councillor Dent for permission to use his photo from Folk Week stall, Angela to send Martin other possible pics.

11. AOB: Martin to chair November meeting. Tony McF to chair January, decision needed about Feb AGM - who to write chairman’s report ?. At November meeting Martin will lead discussion on Recruitment. Sidmouth Herald publicity – Barbara will write brief account of our meeting for the clubs/societies section – but doubt it will be published. The Tajik student Alex Sodiqov, has been released and he and family are now in Canada (local connection here – he was working with a professor from Exeter University when arrested in Tajikistan). Angela informed Chris Ramsey (Reg Rep) that Yvonne has offered to take on outreach to Councillors, MPs etc. Trish flagged up the ‘Peace Day’ event at the Unitarian Church Sept 21st 2pm. Since last meeting Angela has sent letters to UAE, Israel, Thailand and Mexico on the group’s behalf.


Meeting closed 9.35
















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