March 2017 Minutes
Truro and Falmouth Amnesty International Group
Minutes of Meeting. 8 March 2017
Present: Georgie Wong; Chris Ramsey; Wailim Wong; Karen Cooper; Hetty Tye; Shirley Sweeney; Tony Walder Harding; Kerrie Bramhall
Apologies: Margaret George; Linnea Glynne-Rule; Chris Clarke; Rosie Bott
1) MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MEETING
a) Local Groups Planning Pack needs to be completed ASAP
a) Ministry of Justice replied to our letter regarding Human Rights Act stating that the government remains committed to reforming domestic human rights framework. Bill of Rights will be considered after EU exit arrangements.
b) LGBTI activist Barbaros Şansal from Turkey thanked AI supporters for taking action around his pre-trial detention for “inciting the public to hatred and hostility” The first hearing of his trial will take place on 16 March
c) We received a letter from Foreign and Commonwealth Office via Sarah Newton regarding Mrs Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe saying that the issue of her arrest had been raised with Iranian counterparts.
d) AI’s Annual report on the state of human rights is now available. It warns of “us vs them” narrative of blame, hate and fear which is undermining human rights.
e) AI published a report in February exposing conditions in Syrian prisons where 13 000 have been hanged over last 5 years. Mass hangings of up to 50 have taken place at Saydnaya military prison near Damascus. There is a End the Horror in Syrian Prisons petition to be returned by August when there will be a campaign on International Day of the Disappeared (30th Aug)
f) AI is part of The Great Get Together which will mark the anniversary of Jo Cox’s death. Events will be held on 17-18 June (beginning of Refugee Week). This will be further discussed in a future meeting.
g) We sent a card to Eren Keskin and wrote a letter to the Turkish Minister of Justice. Keskin, a Turkish lawyer defending Kurdish rights, faces a life sentence
3) TREASURER'S REPORT
- Our current balance is £1004.83
- Methodist Church needs to be paid for room hire. Shirl has kindly offered to pay the difference in room hire amounts
4) Social Media
a) there was a Twitter action around the anniversary of Berta Cáceres’s (an environmental activist in Honduras) murder
b) Avon has been campaigning against domestic violence
5) Talk on Kurdistan
- Kerrie Bramhall, a student at Exeter University’s Centre for Kurdish Studies gave a talk on the problems Kurdish people are experiencing in Turkey. They make 20% - 25% of the Turkish population and are the largest stateless group.
- She outlined the problems this group has faced since the ending of the ceasefire in 2015 and spoke about the Basements of Horror in Cizre where 100 people who had been sheltering during a long curfew were killed by Turkish security forces.
- After last year’s attempted coup the Turkish armed forces were granted immunity so there is little chance of them being prosecuted for human rights violations against Kurdish people.
- The human rights situation in Turkey will probably worsen if constitutional changes are implemented after the referendum in April.
- AI has several urgent actions from Turkey and has a report Turkey: Displaced and Dispossessed, focussing on the forced displacement of residents of Sur.
- Kerrie was thanked for her interesting talk
· We wrote a letter asking Egyptian authorities to end intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders and lift travel bans and asset freezes. This is a repeat action.
· We wrote to Moroccan authorities calling for an end to Ali Arrass’s solitary confinement and asking them to ensure he has access to appropriate health care. This is a repeat action.
· We received a letter from the Mexican Embassy as a response to our letter regarding the murder of Juan Ontiveros Ramos, leader of an indigenous party. The governor of Chihuahua has announced that this case has been solved and the person responsible for the crime identified.
7) FUTURE EVENTS
· Falmouth Street Collection + Missing Mexican Students
There will be a street collection on Sat 11 March + shoe action – 9.30 – 13.00. Meet 9.30 on The Moor.
Next meeting, Wednesday, 12 April 1977