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Simone Theiss - 4 October 2021 Meeting Highlights

Simone Theiss, Secretary of the Amnesty International Westminster & Bayswater Group gave an excellent and very detailed presentation to the Sutton group on how to set up the social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Simone went on to describe how to use social media to apply pressure on governments, publicise Amnesty and access or recruit new members.

Simone uses social media (in particular Twitter) to campaign for human rights and raise awareness about prisoners of conscience in MENA (Middle East and North Africa), in particular Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Iran and Egypt. Because of her experience in this area, Simone was also extremely helpful in advising our group on how to lobby the UAE government for the release of our prisoner of conscience, Dr Mohammed al-Roken. She also recommended contacting other non-governmental organisations, such as ICFUAE, who have the same objectives.

Simone also described the history and current status of her own Westminster & Bayswater Amnesty Group, and how they were dealing with the covid pandemic in terms of online meetings, lobbying and fundraising initiatives. They also have a prisoner of conscience from the UAE, Ahmed Mansoor.

The Sutton AI group’s social media is taking shape now we have a group e-mail address and web-page.
Recruiting initiatives are also under way. We have written to the Group’s ‘long’ e-mail list inviting recipients to either remain on our list or be removed (in a way that makes us compliant with GDPR). Replies are being received. The next step is to write (via central mailing) to those members/supporters of Amnesty UK resident in Sutton for whom we do not have contact details.

There was a short discussion in which it became clear that Sutton Amnesty has members in three parliamentary constituencies. This will be useful in future when the group starts lobbying their Members of Parliament concerning human rights violations, and in raising the case of our prisoner of conscience, Dr Mohammed al-Roken.

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