Minutes. December 2016 meeting
Truro and Falmouth Amnesty International Group
Minutes of Meeting held on 14 Dec 2016
- Present: Wailim Wong, Margaret George, Chris Ramsey, Georgie Wong, Chris Clarke, Tony Walder-Harding, Linnea Glynne-Rule, Hetty Tye, Shirley Sweeney.
- Apologies: Karen Cooper
- Matters arising from the Minutes of the meeting held on 9 Nov 2016 3. The card-signing at Sambells café had not been a success although the staff there had been very helpful and welcoming. It was agreed to consider other venues for such stalls eg asking the cathedral if we could have a stall at the exit after one of the services.
- Secretary’s report: i. the winter Amnesty magazine had arrived. ii. The monthly action included Write for Rights information we had already acted on, the Local Groups survey, and a reminder that there is no monthly action for January so the next will be February. iii. Margaret will be absent in Jan and Feb – Karen has agreed to do the Minutes and Wailim and Chris will look out for the Feb monthly action. iv Margaret spoke to Sarah Newton at the stall on 26 Nov and particularly urged her to take up the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Margaret also emailed Sarah with the postings that Nazanin’s husband is writing. Sarah had replied that she had written to Boris Johnson the Foreign Secretary about the case. Margaret would be following this up shortly with Sarah. v. we have heard from a supporter Kerrie Bramhall who has done work with NGOs in Turkey and asked us to take action on the case of Eren Kestin. There was a card to sign for her and a letter to the Turkish PM. Kerrie had offered to come to speak to the group and it was agreed to ask her if she would be available on 1 March. She lives in Newquay, so Shirley volunteered to give her a lift if needed. Chris reported that he had already approached Kerrie about doing an input to the Regional Conference.
- Treasurer’s report: Linnea reported that we have £747.64 in the bank, but money was due to come in for Xmas card sales and donations at the stalls. She said that £47,000 had been raised for Burkina Faso, and this funding would be doubled under the ‘matched funding’. This will allow for educational projects on FGM and early forced marriage in Burkina Faso and also Senegal and Sierra Leone. The Stop Torture and My body my rights campaigns have now ended.
North Africa – there were 2 letters to sign on behalf of HR defenders and NGOs.
Central America – Georgie had received a positive letter from the Mexican Embassy outlining the measures the government is taking to help migrants who are arriving in Mexico from Haiti and Africa. Georgie intended to write back, welcoming the letter and asking if there is any more progress on the investigation into the disappearance of the 43 students.
Israel and the Occupied Territories – Chris reported that he had had an update from Gary Ettle, and he offered to email this out to the people present at the meeting. He spoke of the case of Anas Barghouti who arrested 3 years ago, and now his trial is due to take place. Also Issa Amro who is also facing prison for his peaceful activism. Chris spoke about Hebron, an important shrine for Jews, Muslims and Christians, but the Jewish settlers have taken over the area and are preventing the Muslims form going there. Gary Ettle has also sent a report on children’s Human rights, which are often violated, with many cases of children imprisoned. The also talked about a Palestinian woman who was refused permission to travel for treatment for cancer because her husband is regarded as a terrorist. In order to access the treatment she has been forced to divorce her husband. Meanwhile, 500 new settler homes are to be built in the occupied territories. In Britain, new laws on anti-semitism make it difficult to speak out about the Israeli government (as people confuse being critical of Israel with being anti-Jewish. This probably helps the Israeli government to avoid criticism.)
‘I welcome refugees’ campaign apart from 2 training sessions that were advertised, there seems to be no action on this campaign. It was agreed that we should write to Cornwall Council leader John Pollard to say we are glad that Cornwall is welcoming refugees and asking him to confirm how many have come to Cornwall, and whether this number represents all that Cornwall agreed to take. Margaret would write to John Pollard.
- Feedback from events:
Xmas stalls: see point 4 above re Sarah Newton. Georgie reported that 31 cards had been signed, donations for postage covering the cost of this. £290.15 was paid in for cards and £58.74 in donations. In fact, with other donations a total of £379.59 was paid into our account. On the stall on 10th Dec we had a Human Rights Day cake which was cut by the Mayor, Rob Nolan.
Wailim had been to the group ‘Citizens for Life’ – these are a group of young people facing difficulties who are being mentored by the charity. They were shown the documentary on Malala and then Wailim did a Q&A session. He said they showed a lot of interest. Their next event is a visit to London where they will go to Parliament and the Amnesty HQ.
- Future events:
- Karen had suggested a ‘shoes’ event, where a trail of old shoes represents people who are missing, or refugees. One idea was to do this in Falmouth on the Moor and have it represent the 43 Mexican students. This could link up to the students in Falmouth who might participate.
- Georgie had brought details of the Rambert ballet at HfC on 23/24 March. The work is called ‘Ghosts’. Wailim will ask at the HfC to see if we can have a stall in the foyer.
- The Amnesty Regional Conference will be in Exeter on 25 February.
- Next meeting:
This will be on Wed 11 Jan, 7pm at Sambell’s Café, Truro Methodist Church.