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Perth Amnesty 2023 - Chair's Report


Perth Amnesty Group: Chair’s Annual Report February 2024

Membership: We continue to be a small but active group. We were pleased to gain a new member, but sorry to lose two members that had moved out of the area. A previous member that was an Asylum seeker had subsequently received leave to remain in the UK and we wish him well on the next stage of his life.  

Baluchistan With the lack of a Country Coordinator there has not been much progress on this issue.  However a new Country Coordinator is now in place and the human rights abuses in Pakistan generally are receiving more coverage in the national media.  The group remains committed to keeping this campaign in the public’s awareness.

Afghanistan A very successful event was organised in March 2023 at the A K Bell library, with the support of the Scottish Refugee Council, to coincide with International Women’s Day.  The purpose was to highlight the plight of Afghan women and girls whose human rights have been steadily eroded and abolished. It was well attended by local women and we heard powerful testimony from a young Afghan woman who has settled recently in Perth with her family.

An outcome of the meeting was that some participants volunteered to teach English online to women in Afghanistan.

Other follow up has been discussed but it has been difficult to know in which direction to take this although the situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate.

End Israeli Apartheid Our proposed joint event with Dundee Amnesty group came to an abrupt halt following the events of the Hamas attack on Israel and the subsequent war in Gaza. Both groups are still committed to organising a public meeting and are in discussions with the Country Coordinator as to when and what form this might take.

Saudi Women This campaign has now come to an end and there has been no activity during the year.

Public awareness raising We have had a number of information stalls at public events and venues including the A K Bell library in May, The Yard in June, the annual Pride festival and UHI Fresher’s Week, both in August. It is difficult to judge the impact of these but we continue to believe that raising our public profile is worthwhile and helps to publicise the issues of human rights and their abuses both at home and throughout the world.

In addition we have issued a number of press releases to local papers and spoken to Perth Soroptimists about our work.

In February we again sponsored a film with the Perth Film Society.  We also ran an information stall in October at a screening of ‘Tori & Lokita’ a film highlighting the situation of young refugees.

Write for Rights This year we decided to organise several opportunities for the public to participate in this annual Amnesty campaign to support selected human rights defenders across the world.  The main event was at the A K Bell library in December.  Unfortunately an outdoor chalking event had to be cancelled due to poor weather. The YMCA also agreed to run their own session with young people who use their service. A third event was held in January 2024 at the Birnam Arts Centre.

Scottish Activism We have participated in an online meeting with other Scottish Amnesty groups to discuss potential collaboration on campaigns and information sharing.  As yet this has not resulted in any practical action but it remains an interest of the group and one we would like to advance in the coming year.

Fund raising There was no major event this year but contacts with a local berry farm proved very lucrative as well as small donations from our stalls.

Iftar At the beginning of 2024 we were invited to consider organising an Iftar, the meal that ends each day of Ramadan, with a view to engaging the local Muslim community in the work of Amnesty.  This will form part of our planned activities in the coming year.

My thanks to all the group members for their support, commitment and continuing work.  The human rights scene across the globe is pretty bleak and the need to continue to campaign and promote the work of Amnesty has never been more needed.

Amanda Brown

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