February Minutes

Mid-Warwickshire Amnesty Group 156 

Minutes of the Meeting of 6th February 2014  


Present: Denise Fowler, Will Roberts (Chair), Roger Frost, James Kennedy, Chris Begg, Chrissie Presley, Yasmin Choudry, Ella Holland, Malcolm Hancock, John Payton, MartPitarello, Helen Lord, Felicity Smith, Simon Lieberman, Jo Hobbs. 

Apologies: James Lovatt, Hilary Holland, Deb Almquist, Andy Walker-Smith, Maureen Hirsch. 

Will welcomed Yasmin and Ella who were visiting for the first time. 


Discussion. Because of the indisposition of James Lovatt who was to speak about China, Will introduced a discussion on whether boycotts were effective. After a lively discussion, the general feeling was that dialogue was a better way of attempting to persuade countries to alter their policies and that the evidence was that with a few exceptions boycotts were not that effective. The danger of boycotts was that innocent people were often punished as well as the guilty. Examples of effective boycotts included persuading Iran to come to the negotiating table about Nuclear weapons and the dismantling of Apartheid in South Africa. A case was also made for the boycott of individuals (eg the President of Sri Lanka by the heads of other Commonwealth countries because of the abuse of human rights in Sri Lanka at end of the civil war).  

  1. The previous minutes were agreed. It was noted that Denise’s presence had not been recorded. 

  1. Oriflamme Concert. This was a great success and the church was full to overflowing. Will thanked all those involved in the evening, but especially Antoine Mitchell. A surplus of £3274.04 was made. A fantastic achievement. Next year the concert would be on 10th January 2015. 

  1. Treasurer’s Report. James reported that the 2013 accounts had been finalized but not yet audited. Income had been app £4593 and expenditure app £4216.  The current account at present was app £4000. It was agreed to send to AI(UK) £1500. 

  1. China POCsRoger reported on the three people in China whom the group had agreed to campaign for, Dr Liu Xiaobo, a human rights activist and Nobel prize winner, who is in prison, and his wife Liu Xia, who is held under illegal house-arrest; and Ablikim Abdiriyim, a human rights activist from Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), who also is in prison. It was agreed that the group would attempt to carryout an action on them at every meeting. April 1st is Liu Xia’s birthday and at the next meeting it is hoped to send greetings to her. 

  1. Letter-writing Evening. 106 cards and letters were sent from the 12 people who attended the last LWE. The next LWE will be on 25th March at the Thomas Oken Tea Rooms in Warwick at 8.00pm. 

  1. Big Action. Will reported that a big event mainly directed at young people was planned for the Autumn, probably in October. He envisaged a parade and talk. Malcolm had drafted a letter to Malala Yousafzai. The suggested venue was the Spa Centre. The group approved pursuing the idea and James requested that a budget be drawn up for the event. 

  1. Monthly Action. Simon presented a letter to be signed by the group asking for justice for a prisoner in the Philippines who had been imprisoned, beaten, tortured and disappeared. He also reported that he had received details and feedback on previous actions. He agreed to circulate the email which contained some encouraging news. 

  1. Burma. Simon said that he would remind the group of the details of Dr Tun Aung a PoC on whose behalf the group had agreed to write. 

  1. Street Collections. Malcolm agreed to coordinate these but needed organisers for each town, Saturday 3rd May L/Spa, 10th Warwick, 17th Kenilworth. Denise volunteered for Warwick, Helen volunteered for L/Spa and Roger said he would ask Barbara if she was willing to do Kenilworth again

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