An Update

WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING?

On 4 October Julie and Norah attended the Stop Torture Workshop which was held at the Amnesty Human Rights Action Centre in London. The aim of the day was to support Amnesty groups in participating in the Stop Torture campaign. Torture is abhorrent, barbaric and inhumane.  It can never be justified. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enshrines every individual’s right not to be subjected to torture, was adopted in 1948. Since then it has been further strengthened.  Thirty years ago the UN Convention Against Torture enshrined in law a set of measures specifically designed to prevent torture and to punish the perpetrators. 155 countries are now parties to the UN Convention, however, over the past 5 years, Amnesty International has reported on torture and other ill treatment in 141 countries.

The day began with a panel discussion about the implications of the use of torture and why it is still going on in spite of international law. Several issues were highlighted, including the fact that in many countries impunity for tortures is endemic.  This is often due to lack of political will since the state, or a state arm such as the police, is frequently directly responsible or complicit in torture.

The afternoon programme was made up of workshops in which delegates were encourage to share their skills and experience in order to enhance the campaign against torture.

On16 October Jennifer and Norah attended the Kendal Amnesty Group’s open meeting which focused on human rights in Israel/Palestine. Baroness Tonge was the invited speaker and she very eloquently outlined her view of what was happening in the Gaza Strip.  She asked several pointed questions which were designed to make her audience think and act by directing the same questions at our MPs.

·Why does the UK continue to support the EU trade agreement with Israel in view of Israel’s human rights abuses in Gaza?

. Why is the UK international budget being used to rebuild Gaza after Israel destroyed it, without even asking that Israel pay some reparation? Only Israeli materials can be used to rebuild in Gaza as Israel controls the border.  We are paying Israelis to repair what they have destroyed.

· Why does the UK arms industry continue to support Israel?

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