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Minutes. May Meeting

Truro and Falmouth Amnesty International Group

Minutes of Meeting held on 11 May 2016

1.Present: Margaret George, Chris Ramsey, Karen Cooper, Wailim Wong, Georgie Wong, Hetty Tye, Chris Clarke, Rowena Lamont.

2.Apologies: Linnea Glynne-Rule. Megan Bridgeland, Shirley Sweeney

3.Matters arising from the minutes of 13 April 2016: none not included in later items, other than that Hetty had been to check out if it would be possible to organise letter writing at Inner Tide, but it seems not to be suitable at present.

4. Secretary's report:

  1. The Monthly Action for May concerned Khadija Ismayilova, an Azerbaijani investigative journalist imprisoned for 5 years on trumped up charges. There was a letter to sign to President Aliyev and a card was signed to be sent to Khadija via the AI office. It was suggested that a letter be sent to the local press at the time of the European Grand Prix which is to be staged in Baku on 19 June. There were also updates on Syria, and information on Refugee week 20-26 June when the theme is Refugees Welcome. Wailim suggested that we could get photos taken in well-known landmarks with the posters. He will enquire what the Penzance group have planned. Pride materials are available, and we hope to attend the Truro Pride at the end of August, so will need to order some. The matched funding for Burkina Faso runs from 18 April to 18 July.

5. Treasurer’s report: Linnea had sent a report that as of 1 May we had £1028.90 in the bank. She recommended that we consider sending £200 to AI when we have a little more.

6.    Campaigns and Individuals at Risk:

i. The Human Rights Act Chris had drafted a letter to go to local organisations to try to build a coalition to campaign on the defence of the HRA. He agreed that he would shorten it and let Margaret and Wailim see the new version and then send it out and follow up with a phone call.

ii. Georgie reported on Central America. She had circulated the Central America newsletter. In Mexico, a report has been released on the 43 students who disappeared, the report dealing with events leading up to the disappearance. Oliver Letwin raised this matter with Foreign Sec Philip Hammond who has promised to raise it with the Mexican government. Another Mexican journalist has been murdered, but one bit of good news is that 5 naval officials have been arrested in connection with disappearances. There was a letter to sign on behalf of families of disappeared people who are themselves being threatened. There was also a letter to sign about an activist threatened for trying to stop illegal logging. Georgie had received a letter from the authorities in Honduras in response to our letter re Berta Caceres. She has now written to ask about an attack on peaceful protesters. In Nicaragua there have been protests about a proposed dam.

iii.  Israel and the Occupied territories: Chris reported. He had brought a letter on behalf of a clown and teacher who has been illegally detained in Israeli territory. In the Jordan Valley Bedouin buildings are regularly demolished by the Israelis, and even tents are demolished. There have been concerted attacks on any NGOs which are run by HR defenders, for example Al Haq; an author who set up this organisation has had death threats. AI has condemned the wave of bus bombings in Israel. Between 115 and 440 children have been arrested. Margaret asked if anyone had news of Mordechai Vanunu as she had heard it reported on the BBC that he had been accused of violating the terms of his release.

iv. Stop Torture. This campaign is now coming to an end and will be evaluated next month

v. My body my rights. Our next street collection will be raising money for the ‘matched funding’ available for the campaign in Burkina Faso against FGM and early forced marriage of girls.

vi. Hetty reported on North Africa. In Egypt, the trial of Shawkan (the photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid) has been delayed. He has been detained since 14 Aug 2013, on trumped-up charges, but faces the death penalty if found guilty. His health is deteriorating. There was a letter to sign on his behalf. There was also a letter on behalf of Dr Ahmed Abdullah, a HR defender arrested and beaten at his home on 25 April. He had been speaking out against enforced disappearances and is accused of belonging to an outlawed ‘terrorist’ group and attempting to overthrow the state. Hetty also had letters to sign on behalf of 8 civilian men at risk of the death sentence, and over the case of hundreds of protesters who were arrested when they were protesting against the fact that Egypt is giving 2 islands to Saudi Arabia. The protesters are alleged to be in violation of the draconian ‘anti Protest law’ which forbids all unauthorised protest.

7. Future activities and events

  1. The walk is scheduled for Sun 22 May. Supporters and friends to meet at Penryn station at 12.30. Anyone wanting to can give a donation to AI.
  2. Street collection in Truro is 11 June, setting up at 9.30 near the cathedral, and continuing till about 1.00.
  3. Georgie has booked the Mayor’s Coffee morning for 6th August and we have permission for the bookstall in Lemon Street Market on 30th July. Georgie will check out if we still have books stored at Robin’s. Margaret has several boxes of books from last year.
  4. Cornwall Pride is at the end of August. We agreed to book a stall, and Margaret will order materials.
  5. We still need to be looking out for a suitable venue where we could do letter-writing (eg a café)

8.  Wailim had compiled a useful list of diary dates so we can be aware in advance of what may be coming up

20-26 June - Refugee Week, with the theme of ‘welcome’

1 June - International Children’s Day

26 June - International Day in support of Victims of Torture

30 July - World day against Trafficking in Persons

12 August - International Youth day

27 August - Truro Pride

30 August - Day of the disappeared

September - AI People on the Move Campaign launch

5 October - World Teachers’ Day

10 October - World Day against the Death Penalty

1 November - Write for Rights launch

20 November - Universal Children’s day

25 November - Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

2 December - Abolition of Slavery Day

10 December - Human Rights Day


9. Date of next meeting: Wed 8 June at the Methodist Church, Union Place, Truro



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