Perth Amnesty AGM February 2018
Perth Amnesty Group's AGM was held on Thursday 8th February 2018.
Here is Chair Peter Thomson's report of our activities in 2017.
The Group held ten regular meetings during 2017. Attendance at these varied from five to eight members of the Group. The maximum membership during the year was twelve. In April Anna, the Chair, moved away from the area and at the May meeting Peter was elected as her successor.
Following the successful Syrian Open Meeting held on 9th November 2016, some female members of the Group were able to take part in visiting Syrian families in Perth on a regular basis, seeking to assist them to settle in here in a very different environment from that of their past. With the passing of time, this came to be seen, not as an activity of the Group, but rather that of the individuals concerned.
Likewise, the establishment of the International Café, with a first meeting at the Blend Coffee Lounge on 10th July, while involving members of the Group, was not to be seen as requiring any responsibility on the part of the Group for its development.
At the February and March meetings of the Group, plans were made for what it was hoped to undertake during 2017.
Thanks to the willing co-operation of the Perth Film Society, the film ‘Fire at Sea’, dealing with migrants in the Mediterranean, was shown as part of the Society’s Spring programme at the Concert Hall on 16th March.
On 11th May Malcolm Dingwall-Smith, the AI Scotland representative, was present, both to address the Group on human rights, in anticipation of the forthcoming General Election, and also to answer questions concerning the organization of AI in Scotland.
On 22nd July a most enjoyable ‘Meet and Greet’ was held at the house of Elaine and Bruce Cameron in Barossa Place, when £420 was raised for AI.During July and August the AI photo exhibition ‘I Welcome’ was put on display in St. John’s Kirk, able to be viewed by the 4,000 visitors welcomed there during these months. Subsequently it was taken to UHI Perth College Union for a month’s display.
On 6th September members of the Group attended the UHI Perth College Freshers’ Week, and were greatly encouraged to discover considerable interest in the issue of human rights in general and in AI in particular – to such an extent that there seemed a distinct possibility of a College AI Group being able to be formed.
At its meeting on 14th September the Group held its first meeting at the Methodist Church in Scott Street, the decision having been taken previously to move from The Threshold in Princes Street.
The AI Scotland Assistant Officer, Juliet Swann, met with the Group on 9th November, and provided information on the running of the Scottish office of AI, and on the different roles of the individuals sharing in its work.
The ‘Glasgow Girl’, Amal Azzudin’, had been invited by the Group to come to Perth, to speak about her concerns for refugees and human rights. Her talk was given at Perth College on 16th November, when the audience, consisting of a mix of students and adults, heard a highly committed and articulate individual give her very striking account of these issues.
The Group’s ‘Write for Rights’ event was held once more at the Birnam Institute, this year on 2nd December. Approximately 100 cards were sent as a result.
The Festive Meal of the Group took place at the North Port restaurant on 12th December.
In the course of the year some Group members were able to travel to participate in meetings elsewhere in Scotland arranged by AI and other groups concerned with the protection of human rights.
Apart from the particular activities mentioned above, action was taken throughout the year by Group members to write in protest at human rights violations occurring in many countries, and to offer support to those who suffered from them. Information provided monthly by AI for Group Action helped to make such contributions possible. Various appeals were addressed also to UK Government ministers, MPs and MSPs in this connection.