2013 Amnesty Conference
Around 500 members attended Amnesty’s Annual General Meeting and National Conference on 13-14 April at the University of Warwick, Coventry. The event highlighted two of Amnesty’s key campaigns – ending violence against women in Afghanistan and stopping this year’s elections in Zimbabwe from descending into violence.
Nolwandle Simanyu, an activist from WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise) lit the Amnesty candle at the start of the conference. She emphasized that Amnesty’s solidarity with WOZA gave them hope and showed the government that the world was watching Zimbabwe.
The keynote speaker on Saturday evening was Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty’s Afghanistan researcher. She emphasised that without justice there could be no peace in Afghanistan. And she asked the West to continue supporting Afghan women to help them build on their achievements, or at least make sure that they do not lose them.
Amnesty International’s new vision ‘Moving Closer to the Ground’ aims to make sure that Amnesty has a strong and vibrant presence in the Global South and East. The heads of AI Zimbabwe, Ghana and Sierra Leone gave us an insight into what this means to them. Amnesty has often been viewed as a European organisation, not Afrocentric, that is importing Western values. The new vision means that local sections can work on local issues and be seen as relevant and visible.
An action-packed two days ended with a photograph of all participants grouped around an immense banner demanding rights for Afghan women.