March 2019. Minutes
Truro and District Amnesty International Group
Minutes of Meeting held on 13 March 2019
- Present: Margaret George, Karen Cooper, Wailim Wong, Georgie Wong, Hetty Tye, Chris Ramsey.
- Apologies: Linnea Glynne-Rule, Meike Koops, Shirley Sweeney, Carole Liesse.
- Matters arising from the Minutes of the meeting held on 13 Feb 2019: 4. MG had received an email from S Newton in response to a letter about reuniting refugee families. MG has sent off the Groups Planning Pack. 6. Inspiring Women – Hetty had been to meet one of the group to talk about Azza Soliman. It may be possible to have a table to publicise her case at a future event. Shawkan has been released but has to spend every night 6pm to 6am at a police station.7. The film Nae Passaran is still available on the iplayer. Re the pub quiz (postponed), Chris reported that 30 – 40 groups ran one and raised £3500. He will investigate whether we can organise one at the 3 Kings pub in Falmouth
- Secretary’s report: Margaret had circulated the monthly action. There was a copy of the Groups magazine and some Real Lives cases – Chris took these as he is in touch with a group that will be able to use them. There was a notice about proxy voting for the AI board and annual conference. In the Planning Pack there are resources to order; it was agreed to order some About Amnesty booklets, some My Rights Passports and some bright stickers if available. Pride materials can be ordered nearer the time.
- Treasurer’s report: Karen reported that we have £927.97 in the bank. £50 has come in from local subs. The national subs for individuals is going up to £48.
North Africa – see above for information on Azza and Shawkan. Hetty had brought letters to sign on behalf of Hoda Abdelmoniem and Islam Khalil (Egypt), also Ahmed Mansoor (UAE) and 8 conservationists held in Evin prison (Iran)
Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Chris reported on the campaign to get airB&B properties in the Occupied Territories take off the site. This has been agreed. He also reported on the travel ban on Omar Baguti who was an organiser of the BDS movement, attacks on Palestinian children after high schools were surrounded by troops and 3 children injured, and the campaign on Access to water for Palestinians. There were letters to sign on these cases. World Water Day is on 22 March. The IOPT newsletter will be sent out with the minutes.
Social Media – Karen reported on reported that there is a lot of Amnesty stuff on Twitter. On Int Women’s day there was a tweet about Azza which she appears to have picked up and liked.
Central America: Georgie reported on Mexico: she had received a letter from the Mexican Ambassador expressing Mexico’s commitment to the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. In Mexico there were 33,341 murders in 2018. There was a letter to sign on behalf of an environmental activist opposed to a gas line through his town. Also on 12th Feb armed men abducted indigenous environmental defenders. They were released after intervention from the UN, NGOs and AI. There was a letter to sign on this case. The president has agreed to allow training for the military. In Honduras it is the 3rd anniversary of the death of Berta Caceres – a letter was signed. In El Salvador, a 20-year-old woman jailed under abortion laws after she gave birth and the child died. She did not know she was pregnant but was found guilty for not getting ante natal treatment; she is to be retried.
FSU: Georgie had received a letter in Russian which Hetty agreed to get translated.
The Regional Conference in Exeter will be on Sat 11 May. Chris outlined the programme to date. It will include a human rights defender from Turkey, plus Penny Wilcox an Ecumenical Accompanist just back from Israel, and a range of interesting workshops. Members are urged to attend. There was a discussion about transport which Wailim hopes to be able to provide. Margaret will circulate supporters.
AIUK AGM and Conference 13-14 April. Chris will attend and will take our group votes. He said that the list of motions to be debated is unusually uncontroversial. There was also discussion of the situation at AI International Secretariat and at AI India where there have been poor employment practices leading in one case to suicide. There will be an emergency motion on this. Chris emphasised that this problem does not relate to AIUK, but that all sections are looking again at their employment practices as there is never room for complacency.
Street Collection 25 May in Truro.
Pride Sat 24 August in Newquay. Margaret will book a stall for us.
- AOB Refugee Week is 17-23 June.
- Next meeting will be on Wed 10 April, 6.30pm at Sambells Café, Truro.
The IOPT newsletter is pasted below, for your information:
Amnesty Campaigns / Strategy
TripAdvisor: Check Out of Occupied Palestinian land – As per the Local Groups up-date (31.1.19), you are asked to take action against the profit made from TripAdvisor’s tourism activities in the Occupied Palestinian Teritories, which also legitimise and support the economy of the illegal colonies.
(Control – Click each link to access resources, including template letters in the ‘Checkout Campaign’ link).
Actions / Individuals at Risk
Omar Barghouti (Travel banned HRD) – On 7th February the IOPT Team released a new public statement regarding the de facto travel ban imposed on HRD Omar Barghouti.
Amnesty is calling on Israeli authorities to immediately end their arbitrary restrictions on prominent Palestinian human rights defender Omar Barghouti’s rights to freedom of movement and guarantee his right to residency, liberty, security of person, and freedom of expression. Israel’s Ministry of Interior must renew Omar Barghouti’s travel document and ensure he can leave and return to the country freely.
(Omar Barghouti is a co-founder of the BDS movement. He campaigns to hold Israel accountable for human rights and other international law violations and advocates for the use of non-violent means in doing so. The de facto travel ban is part of long-standing attacks by the Israeli authorities on Omar Barghouti that aim at preventing him from carrying out campaigning work).
You can find the public statement here : https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde15/9811/2019/en/ .
Hajar HARB (Threatened Gaza journalist) - An investigative journalist who published a report revealing corruption within the ministry of health in Gaza is facing up to six months in jail, said Amnesty International, ahead of her appeal hearing tomorrow.
Hajar Harb, (pictured) a Palestinian journalist from Gaza, released an investigative report on al-Araby TV on 25 June 2016 highlighting that the ministry, which is run by the Hamas de-facto administration, was profiting by arranging illegal medical transfers out of the Gaza Strip for people who did not need treatment. She has been charged with a series of offences including defamation and the publication of false news.
“The prosecution of Hajar Harb is an outrageous assault on media freedom. The authorities in Gaza are blatantly seeking to punish her for exposing corruption within the Hamas administration. The authorities must drop all the charges against her immediately,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
6.2.19 (Non-AI) Israel steps up attacks on Palestinian schools - When Israeli occupation forces shot three secondary school students at the beginning of February, critically injuring two of them, it was hardly an isolated incident.
The students were injured after soldiers raided Tuqu village near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, surrounding a high school. The military fired tear gas and live ammunition after being confronted by youths.
The frequency of such violence in or near Palestinian schools in the West Bank has increased during the current academic year.
“Incidents of interference in schools by Israeli forces” include “threats of demolition, clashes on the way to school between students and security forces, teachers stopped at checkpoints, and the violent actions of Israeli forces and settlers on some occasions,” according to a statement by United Nations officials.
The bulk of the 111 “interferences to education” in the West Bank documented by the UN in 2018 took place in the last four months of the year.
(Full report from title).
12.2.19 (Non-AI) - Israeli firms face UN blacklist for settlement business (See above Amnesty campaign also) - A number of Israeli and international companies are facing the risk of being included on a United Nations blacklist for doing business in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, according to a report.
The companies threatened with inclusion on the UN blacklist include Bezeq telecommunications, Teva Pharmaceutical industries and beverages giant Coca Cola, Israeli daily Yediot Ahronoth said on Tuesday.
In 2016, the UN Human Rights Council approved a resolution to gather a blacklist of Israeli and international companies operating in the illegal settlements.
Despite Israeli and US pressures, the council is set to release an updated list of the blacklisted companies in March.
(See full report at :
28.2.19 (Non-AI) - UN: Possible Israel crimes against humanity in Gaza - There is evidence that Israel committed crimes against humanity in responding to 2018 protests in Gaza, as snipers targeted people clearly identifiable as children, health workers and journalists, according to a United Nations report.
"Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity," the chair of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on the protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Santiago Canton, said in a statement on Thursday.
"The Commission found reasonable grounds to believe that Israeli snipers shot at journalists, health workers, children and persons with disabilities, knowing they were clearly recognisable as such," it said.
Action Dates / Events
22nd March – World Water Day (See January Newsletter) –
Please use this date as a ‘hook’ for publicising another crucial aspect of Israel’s illegal Occupation. This link
leads to a late 2017 picture story providing stats and images for possible use.
(Also attached to this e-mail, an image for use).
EAPPI Programme 2020 – The Ecumenical Accompaniers programme is now seeking participants to serve in our human rights programme in Palestine and Israel in 2020.
Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) provide protection by presence to vulnerable Palestinian communities, monitor human rights abuses, support Israeli and Palestinian peace activists, and advocate for an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
The application pack and essential documents are on the website www.quaker.org.uk/applyeappi. The closing date is Tuesday 23rd April.
(Flyer also attached)
Good News. (All information is from the agencies themselves and does not express the views of AI).
Gaza gets new centre for treating children with cancer - Al-Rantisi Hospital (picture) in Gaza, which specializes in paediatric care is to have a new department costing $3.5 million, built on the initiative of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF), a US-based charity. It has been named after Musa and Suhaila Nasir, co-founders of the PCRF.
Cancer is a leading cause of death – for both adults and children – in Gaza.
Children with serious illnesses, including cancer, frequently must leave Gaza for medical treatment. In many cases, they have been blocked from traveling by Israel.
The World Health Organization has reported that five child patients were denied permits to cross Erez, the military checkpoint separating Gaza and Israel, during December 2018 alone. A total of 130 children were delayed from traveling through Erez in time for a hospital appointment outside Gaza during that month.
A key objective of the new hospital department is to provide vital care within Gaza. (Full report from header).
N.B. – Links, usually in blue, can be accessed using Control and clicking.
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