Minutes. December 2013 meeting

Present: Rosy Bott; Georgie Wong; Wailim Wong; Linnea Glynne-Rule; Hetty Tye; Karen Cooper; Chris Ramsey; Shirl Sweeney
Apologies: Mary Dickinson; Margaret George

  1. Matters arising from meeting held 13 November
  • £158.65 was made from the sale of Christmas cards and 23 cards were signed for Write for Rights campaign during the Tremough Campus event and Mayor’s Charity event
  • The Belarus Free Theatre event at Tremough Campus was well  attended. Three members of the Belarus Free Theatre spoke and they will be working with the Performance Centre for the next 3 years. Unfortunately there were technical problems with sound.
  • Hetty and Linnea have not received the email about actions in the ex- Soviet bloc. We signed letters for:
  • 3 asylum seekers in Russia who are at risk of ill treatment if returned to Kyrgyzstan
  • Ismon Asimov – abducted from a placement centre for immigrants in Russia who is a risk of torture and unfair trial if returned to Tajikistan


  1. Secretary’s Report


  • The AGM will be held in Edinburgh on 12 – 13 April 2014.
  • The conference booking deadline is 3 March and the resolution deadline is 10 February.
  • Amnesty recognises that holding the AGM in different locations may not be practical so the venue for 2015/ 16 will be Warwick University which is a central location.


  • There is an online petition for Hakamada who has been on death row in Japan for 47 years. On 16 December there will be hearing to decide whether to grant a retrial due to questionable evidence from the original trial.


  • A petition calling on President Putin to repeal laws that restrict basic rights to freedom of expression was signed. We will include this action at the stall on Saturday.
  • We signed solidarity cards for the Bolotnaya three who are in custody in Russia on charges of assault and rioting. This case is also part of the Write for Rights campaign
  • It was mentioned that a recent Channel 4 programme had focused on Russia

MEP’s Letters

  • We have received letters from Julie Girling’s PA and Graham Watson in response to last month’s action on company reporting and transparency.


  1. Individuals at Risk

Central America

  • Georgie has sent our Doves of Peace  to COFADEH in Honduras and the birthday card to Norma Cruz –a Guatemalan Human Rights activist


  • Wailim has received the newsletter on this region and will report back next meeting.
  • We signed an urgent action letter for Alaa Abdel Fattah and 24 others who have been detained after a peaceful protest before the Shura Council.


  1. SW Regional Meeting
  • This will be held at the Mint Methodist Church in Exeter on 22 March 2014. There will be allocated time for groups to meet one another and a member of the AI board will speak.
  • We have requested that somebody outlines the situation in the ex-Soviet bloc countries. Barry Hay,  overall coordinator of this region, will be approached


  1. Panorama Programme
  • This documented charities and management of money. Comic Relief, Save the Children and Amnesty International were focussed on:
  • Comic Relief – invest money before it is allocated to causes, however some investments are in tobacco companies, arms companies etc.  It was pointed out that there are ethical funds that this money could be invested  in.
  • Save the Children – is a campaigning group but has corporate sponsorship. Recently it decided not to run a fuel poverty campaign as one of the big energy companies is a sponsor
  • Amnesty International – It was pointed out that the issues focussed on related to the International Secretariat and not AI UK – this was not made clear in Panorama :
    • Large pay-out to Irene Khan.  Panorama did not report on the major review (chaired by Dame Anne Owers )  held  after this pay-out and changes that were made to prevent this from happening again. 
    • Secret Policeman’s Ball. This lost money but the official view is that it was not meant to be a fund raising event but an awareness raising exercise.
    • Kate Allen has made a statement regarding Panorama.  Chris and Hetty will send a letter to Kate from Truro and Falmouth Amnesty to express our concern as to how this has affected AI’s reputation,  to show our recognition that AI had dealt with Irene Khan’s pay-out and to state that we are not sure how affective the Secret Policeman’s Ball was as an awareness raising event.


  • It was pointed out that different organisations have different ways of getting their members involved but all need to be transparent regarding above issues.


  1. Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories
  • We signed a letter on behalf of Omar Sa’ad – a CO  refusing to serve in the Israeli army.
  • Mordechai Vanunu – the Israeli nuclear technician’s case is coming up for review.


  1. Future Events
  • We have a stall on 14 December – the rota will be emailed. Shirl has offered to do 13.00 – 14.00


  1. Treasurer’s Report
  • There is approx. £900 in our account. Over the past year the group has made payments of £500 to AI in addition to our group sub.  In January, after Christmas card sales at the stall on Dec. 14th have been tallied, the group will discuss the next payment to AI.
  1. AOB
  • Penzance group has invited us to their next meeting and Christmas social event on Thursday 19.
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