April 2017 Minutes
Truro and Falmouth Amnesty International Group
Minutes of Meeting held on 12 April 2017
- : Wailim Wong, Margaret George, Chris Ramsey, Shirley Sweeney, Georgie Wong, Chris Clarke, Linnea Glynne-Rule, Hetty Tye Tony Walder-Harding, Sonia Walder-Harding. Wailim announced that the next meeting would be the last that he can be Chair as he has a lot of work-commitments in the evening.
- : Karen Cooper.
- Matters arising from the Minutes of the meeting held on 8 March: 2f Great Get together events 17-18 June to mark the anniversary of Jo Cox’s death. It was agreed we would try to work with other groups. 3. Thanks were expressed to Shirley for paying for the hire of the room again this year. 7. the Falmouth street collection raised £106.28. Photos of the ‘shoe tableau’ and a report were in the Packet and the West Briton.
- Secretary’s report: i. a letter had arrived from Sarah Newton regarding arms sales to Saudi Arabia. She stated that the government is monitoring the situation in Yemen closely. ii. Monthly action was on Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe. We had had a letter from S Newton saying she has asked T Elwood for an update. iii. Cornwall Pride will be in Newquay this year. The cost for charity stalls is £50. It was agreed to book, and see if the money can come from AI nationally. iv. There were urgent action letters to sign on behalf of Barbaros Sansal (Turkey) and Noori (a Syrian refugee held unlawfully in Greece). v. Shirley raised the case of mothers in Indonesia who have to do backbreaking work and are separated from their children. Chris said that this case has been taken up by AI.
- Treasurer’s report: Linnea reported that we have £1139.61, less £25 owing for the room. Shirley donated £100 towards this year’s cost. It was agreed to send £300 to HQ.
Hetty had brought the North Africa newsletter and there were letters to sign on behalf of Human Rights Defender Ahmed Mansoor arrested in the UAE, and an Egyptian prisoner of conscience Ahmed Amin Ghazaliwho has been sentenced to death and is on hunger strike. Also from Egypt, some good news – the last activist in the Abdeen case has been released. British universities are campaigning to find out the truth about what happened to Giulio Regeni, a PhD student at Cambridge who was murdered in Egypt. In Morocco Ali Aarrass is held in solitary confinement and there were letters to sign on his behalf. A report on Human Rights in Tunisia has been published and talks about increasing security measures leading to laws being implemented in an arbitrary and repressive manner. Lastly, an exhibition is circulating in Britain with the work of Egyptian photojournalist Shawkan. It will be in Exeter in November, and we are going to investigate where we could offer to host it – maybe the St Austell Quaker Meeting centre. Chris will liaise with Hugh who is organising the exhibition nationally.
Central America – Georgie reported that there were postcards to sign on behalf of the 43 disappeared Mexican students. Chris had brought some from annual conference. Tilly Lavenas the Central America coordinator got an Activist Award at the Conference.
Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Chris had brought letters to sign on behalf of Farid Atrash and Issa Amro.
- AGM feedback: the report from Chris is attached at the end of the Minutes.
- Future Events: it was agreed to have a stall at Cornwall Pride (see point 4.iii above). Margaret will contact Paul Duffy at Miller Commercial about a bookstall in Lemon Street market on 29 July or 5 August. Georgie will investigate a date for the Mayor’s Coffee morning.
Wailim had obtained a wonderful set of photos on refugees. He will investigate where they could be displayed, hopefully for refugee week—maybe the cathedral or County Hall.
Amnesty International UK AGM/Conference
As always an inspiring event with opportunities to meet with lots of other enthusiastic AI activists.
The conference was opened by Brendan Cox, husband of murdered MP Jo Cox who spoke movingly about the need for us all to renew our efforts to fight for human rights and against the forces of hate that seek to divide us.
Kate Allen, Director of AIUK, reported to activists was, as always inspiring and energising whilst not understating the challenges of fighting for Human Rights in a world currently dominated by the agendas set by Donald Trump, ISIS and Brexit.
There was an enlightening, if sobering presentation from Razan Ghazzawi, a Palestinian Syrian Human Rights Defender, in which she graphically recounted her experiences in Assad's torture prisons.
A panel discussion including a senior staff member from AI USA and the Director of the anti-Muslim hate crime monitoring project (TELL MAMA) was based around the AIUL "Against Hate " campaign and explored the problem around post-referendum hate crimes and the need for us all to be ready to stand up to defend people who are victims of these crimes.
This year's AGM resolutions were relatively low key and non-contentious. The meeting approved resolutions in support of the Chagos islanders fight to return to their homeland (given by the UK to the USA for the Dieggo Garcia air base) and instructed AI UK to campaign on behalf of the embattled Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan who suffer appalling persecution by the mainstream faith group and as result of the current Pakistan constitution. Efforts to revisit the controversial AI policy of supporting the decriminalisation of sex work were defeated.