Weekly Action and News 05/01/2024
Please do this action and make a difference
The government’s profoundly undemocratic Economic Activities of Public Bodies (Overseas matters) bill is due to have its third reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday, 10th January. The main provision in the Bill is a prohibition on public bodies (e.g. local authorities) being influenced by “political or moral disapproval of foreign state conduct” when taking procurement and investment decisions, meaning that ethical choices about spending and investment will be severely curtailed. The bill specifies that Israel (in which it includes the OPT) is the only state that cannot be exempted from the prohibition, effectively granting Israel impunity for human rights abuses against Palestinians. The bill not only confers legitimacy on human rights abuses currently and previously committed by Israel, but severely curtails the rights of councillors and other public officials to express their opinions on ethical issues. While Amnesty does not generally support boycotts, AIUK has set out it strong objections to the bill in this briefing.
Please write to or email your MP before next Wednesday asking them to oppose the Economic Activities bill. A suggested text, based on the Amnesty briefing, is attached at the bottom of this post. Alternatively, you can click the link below, fill in your details and sign a letter prepared by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Manchester Amnesty January Group Meeting, online, Monday 8th January, 7pm.
Our successful resolution at the AIUK national conference last June focused on the wrongful use of joint enterprise and conspiracy laws to convict people not on the basis of what they have done but because of who they know and associate with. Following this, we are delighted to welcome speakers from JENGBA (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association) to our January meeting.
JENGBA campaigns against the use of these laws in the UK, and against the employment of racist gang narratives in prosecutions, particularly those involving young people of colour. A well known example about which we have been campaigning is the case of the Manchester 10.
At the January meeting, speakers from JENGbA will explain about their work and we will discuss ways in which we can support their organisation. We have opened up the meeting to all Amnesty UK local groups and expect to have guests from several other Amnesty groups joining us.
In the final part of the meeting we will provide updates on our other campaigns and notice of our forthcoming campaigning work. All are welcome including new members.
A zoom link will be emailed nearer to the time of the meeting. Look out for it!
***THIS EVENING*** MANCHESTER AMNESTY SILENT VIGIL
Silent vigil calling for a permanent ceasefire
and the protection of all civilians in Palestine and Israel
St Peters Square, Manchester, Friday 5th January, 5pm to 6pm
Meet in front of Central Library
Please dress warmly, wear black/dark colours
and please do not bring placards, banners or flags.
We will provide placards with Amnesty’s messages and tealights. Feel free to bring your friends.
Information and a schedule for future vigils will be provided shortly. Watch this space.
Crisis in Israel and Palestine
Members are invited to a special online meeting on Thursday, 11th January at 7pm to review our vigils for Palestine/Israel and the other actions we have taken, and to plan for further activities. All are welcome. Please let email@example.com know if you plan to attend the meeting.
An email with a zoom link will be circulated nearer to the time of the meeting.
Acoustic Amnesty fundraiser
Friday Feb 2 at Sacred Trinity church on Chapel Street, Salford. Door 7pm, start 7.30pm.
Raising ££ for Amnesty and a Palestine relief charity (tbc)
Bill Holmes (vocal) and Tim Mottershead (piano) will give their take on the entirety of Marvin Gaye's classic album What's Goin' On (1971), followed by an eclectic mix of material straddling multiple genres and including songs by Bill Withers, David Bowie, and the Beatles.
Tickets (all proceeds to charity) available for £10 in advance here - https://www.wegottickets.com/event/605048 [wegottickets.com]
Greater Manchester Friends of Palestine and other organisations
Protest about the continued killing of Palestinians.
Saturday, 6th January, in St Peter’s Square, Manchester from 12-2pm.
Please support this event, but as always, we ask you to do this as a private person and not to take Amnesty banners or logos. Thankyou.
Rethink Rebuild Society present
Thursday, 11th January 2024, 19:30-20:45, online
Shifting Landscapes: Syrian Refugee Women’s pursuit of belonging
In English with Arabic translation. Register and find zoom link here
We are pleased to share this link to the 10th Anniversary online newsletter
just published by our friends at Rethink Rebuild Society, packed with news and
celebrating the achievements of the Syrian community of Manchester.
Canada/Uganda - On December 15, 2023, Canadian authorities suspended the repatriation of a gay refugee from Uganda, granting him a temporary residence permit. The man, whose identity is confidential for security reasons, is at severe risk of persecution due to the law that came into force in Uganda in 2023, which criminalizes LGBTQIA+ people, threatening them with the death penalty.
Sweden / Iran - On December 19, 2023, the life sentence of Hamid Nouri, one of the perpetrators of the massacre of thousands of Iranian political prisoners in 1988, was upheld on appeal, and therefore became final.
France / Rwanda - On December 20, 2023, the Paris Assize Court sentenced Sosthène Muneymana, a former official of the Rwandan prefecture of Butare who has lived in France for decades, to 24 years in prison for "genocide" and "crimes against humanity" for having "prepared, organized and conducted the genocide of the Tutsi in the village of Tumba on a daily basis," in 1994.
United States of America - On December 13, 2023, a federal court overturned Terry Pitchford's death sentence, handed down in 2006 in the state of Mississippi. According to the court, the original trial judge did not allow Pitchford's defence to effectively challenge the prosecution's decision to exclude potential black jurors. The state of Mississippi will have to retry Pitchford within six months or release him from prison.
United States of America - On December 19, 2023, Noel Montalvo was released from a Pennsylvania state prison as he was found innocent of the charge of a double murder, for which he had received a death sentence (later commuted to life imprisonment) in 2003.
Thailand - On December 21, 2023, the lower house of parliament began debating a bill to make same-sex marriages legal. The proposal has a good chance of being approved as it was tabled by the government and the main opposition party and is supported by civil society organisations.
Portugal - On December 23, 2023, Parliament officially banned so-called sexual conversion practices.
Qatar - On December 28, 2023, an appeals court commuted the death sentences imposed in the first instance, on October 28, against eight Indian Navy servicemen, accused of spying for Israel.
Manchester Amnesty issue and campaign coordinators
Anti-racism –Hazel Errey firstname.lastname@example.org
Craftivism – Lima Al-Iskalachi email@example.com
Europe/ Turkey Fatih Segmen - firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Rights in the UK Lancine Sacko - email@example.com
Individuals at Risk (bi-monthly appeal writing drop ins) - Anne Walker firstname.lastname@example.org
Manchester Central Library café, 2-4pm 4th Saturdays January, March, May, July, September, November
Israel's Apartheid Against Palestinians - Mike Reed email@example.com
LGBTQ+ and Pride coordinator – Zoe Song firstname.lastname@example.org
Press freedom and Julian Assange – Lima Al-Iskalachi email@example.com
Refugees – Alison Wearden firstname.lastname@example.org
UAE – Kathryn Fletcher email@example.com
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