Minutes. January 2017 meeting

Truro and Falmouth Amnesty International Group

Minutes of Meeting. 11 January 2017

 

Present: Georgie Wong; Chris Ramsey; Wailim Wong; Karen Cooper; Linnea Glynne-Rule; Chris Clarke;  Rosy Bott; Hetty Tye

Apologies: Margaret George; Shirley Sweeney

 

  1. MATTERS ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MEETING
  1. Need to clarify if Kerrie Bramhall will speak to us regarding the Turkish situation on 1 March (as stated in the previous minutes) or at our monthly meeting on 8 March. Chris R to clarify
  2. Georgie has had no response to her letter regarding the 43 missing students in Mexico
  3. Cornwall Council has already welcomed 5 Syrian refugee families and has plans to welcome more. Karen to contact them regarding including us on their mailing list.
  • The Diocese of Truro recently purchased a house to accommodate refugees
  • A group on Bude have offered accommodation for 2 families
     
  1. TREASURER'S REPORT
  • Linnea to present a detailed report at the next meeting
  • Opening balance for 2016 was £1395.71, and the closing balance was £1127. 57. We donated £410 to the Burkina Faso campaign and £400 to AIUK
  • We need to pay £72 affiliation fee to AIUK and agreed to send a donation of £200
  • £50 was collected from our walk in May
  • £32.20 deposited in October was probably a donation from Plymouth Humanists
  • Christmas card sales were good – only have 1 pack left
     
  1. Group Action
  • There is no group action due to the Christmas break
     
  1. Campaigns:
  1. North Africa:
  • AI’s North Africa Team are now based in Tunis
  • Egypt:
    • Case 173 has resulted in an assets freeze of Human Rights Defender Azza Soliman and several others. We signed a letter urging Egyptian authorities to close Case 173 and reject the new NGO bill as it contravenes Egypt’s constitution and international law.
    • Photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid (Shawkan) is to stand trial on 17 January. Hetty will word emails for supporters to send. Karen to email these to our members.
  • Tunisia
    • Wahid Zarrouk, an NGO founder, is on hunger strike in protest against his prison sentence for “insulting public officials”. We wrote a letter asking for his release and investigations against both Wahid and his wife to be dropped.
  • Morocco
  • Ali Aarrass has been transferred to a different prison and we are urged to write on his behalf

 

  1.  Central America:
  • AI has launched a new platform featuring stories of human rights defenders from Central and South America. The url is  http://speakout4defenders.com

Mexico

  • Georgie wrote to the Mexican ambassador regarding the 43 missing students. AI groups in St Albans and Glasgow have been active around this
  • We signed a letter urging the release of Verónica Razo who has been raped and tortured in prison
  • Guatemala
    • On 12 Nov Jeremy Abraham Barrios Lima was murdered in Guatemala City. He worked for the Guatemalan Centre for Legal, Environmental and Social Action as Assistant to the Executive Director where he managed sensitive information related to high profile cases
    • December 2016 marked 20 years since the peace accords were signed in Guatemala, ending the 36 year civil war.
  • El Salvador
    • The opposition party’s proposal to increase jail terms for women accused of abortion to 50 years met with fierce resistance.  In October, the ruling FMLN party introduced a bill calling for the decriminalisation of abortion in cases of rape, trafficking, fatal foetal impairment, or where the woman's life is at risk. The proposal is expected to be debated in Jan or Feb.
    • On 30 Nov AI donated a sculpture to the Suchitoto municipality, labelled "Global Solidarity for the Liberty of Las 17", in honour of women who are imprisoned for pregnancy-related complications.
  • Honduras
    • A team of 5  international experts have launched an independent investigation into the murder of environmentalist and indigenous rights campaigner Berta Cáceres

 

  1. Israel/Palestinian Territories
  • We signed a letter asking for the Israeli authorities to drop charges against 2 Palestinian human rights defenders; Farid al-Atrash and Issa Amro. They were arrested after a peaceful protest march in Hebron to mark the 22nd  anniversary of the closure of  al-Shuda Street in the old city
  • We wrote on behalf of Anas Barghouti urging the Israeli authorities to drop all charges.  If he is convicted AI will consider him a prisoner of conscience.
  • The Israeli military has renewed the administrative detention of Mohammad Faisal Abu Sakha (the circus performer we have previously campaigned for) for a further 6 months. We wrote a letter urging his release

 

  1. FUTURE EVENTS
  1. Missing Mexican Students
  • Proposed that we use shoes to form number 43 to highlight case of 43 missing Mexican students. Suggested we do this both during street collection in Falmouth and outside Exeter Cathedral during Regional Conference.  
  • Suggested date for street collection in Falmouth: 11 or 18 March to accommodate Falmouth University group. Chris R has been invited to talk to students and will invite them to help at collection.
  1. Regional conference
  • Reminder about the regional conference in Exeter on Sat 25 Feb.  Speakers include Getachew Simie Obse an Ethiopian journalist based at York University. It is hoped that a member from Children’s Human Rights Network will be present.
  • Country coordinators from Turkey; North Africa; South America and China will be present

 

  1. AOB
  • Georgie received a letter from Russia. Hetty to organise translation
  • AI requested that they are cc’ed on any urgent action emails.

 

Next meeting, Wednesday, February 8th, 2016

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