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Report from our July meeting

17 Jul

June19 stall.jpgTaunton Amnesty had a stall in the Town Centre on 29 June to raise awareness of LGBT rights and the Death Penalty. We discussed these issues with passers by, handed out leaflets and collected signatures for an LGBT petition defending Pride marches in Turkey. We were very glad to welcome the Mayor, Francesca Smith, and Federica Smith-Roberts, the Leader of the District Council to our stall (pictured); our MP, Rebecca Pow, had planned to visit but sadly had to decline due to her recent bereavement.

We heard reports from our group co-ordinators for the Middle East and North Africa, and for India. We signed a letter to the Egyptian authorities urging the release of Aser Mohamed, a prisoner of conscience, who had signed a confession under torture in 2016 when only 14 years old in defiance of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

For India, Amnesty has an Urgent Action Campaign to support Dalit Human Rights Defenders the ‘Bhima Koregaon 9’. These are nine people committed to the causes of the poorest and most marginalised communities in the country, like Dalits and Adivasis. Far from being anti-national as they have been branded, the Bhima Koregaon 9 are for many, national heroes.

Much of the meeting was spent discussing the 5 Big Questions that Amnesty believes we must look at to consider how we should develop in the future. Check this out at nextstrategy.amnesty.org.

We don’t meet in August, but at the 10 September meeting Cherry Bird of the Minehead Group will talk on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. We are always delighted to welcome visitors to our meetings; we meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place.

Report from our April meeting

15 Apr

This month we discussed and wrote letters for a variety of Prisoners of Conscience.  Every month we hear of cases in Egypt.  This month it’s an Egyptian musician Rami Sidky who has prominence. In May 2018, Egyptian authorities arrested him at Cairo International Airport. He was detained in connection with a satirical music video, which had gone viral ahead of the March 2018 presidential elections, and appeared to poke fun at President El-Sisi. According to his lawyer, Rami Sidky took no part in writing, producing or performing this, but along with his co-defendants is facing the trumped-up charges of ‘membership of a terrorist group’ and ‘insulting the president’.

We wrote too for the even worse case of Nasrin Sotoudeh (pictured), an Iranian Human Rights lawyer imprisoned for 38 years and sentenced to 148 lashes.  She has dedicated her life to peaceful human rights work.  This extraordinarily harsh sentence (a death sentence in fact if carried out) suggests the authorities in Iran are stepping up their repression.

A report from our Death Penalty coordinator highlighted the fact that in California a moratorium has been called on the DP by the State’s governor.  In Malaysia there was hope the DP would be completely repealed, but at least the mandatory element of it has been removed.

Our Book of the Month is “I Will Never See the World Again”, a wonderful memoir about his arrest, captivity and urge to create by imprisoned Turkish novelist Ahmet Altan; his sentence ‘life without parole’.

We meet at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at the Friends’ Meeting House, Bath Place.  Visitors are always very welcome.

Taunton Amnesty meeting Tuesday 12th March

5 Mar
Keep Calm and Support Amnesty

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 12th March at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton from 7.30-9.30pm (nearby parking behind Boots).

All welcome – you do not need to be a member of Amnesty International to come along to our meetings. Hope to see you there!

Write for Rights campaign 2018

13 Dec

AI 8 Dec 2018Our meeting in December was transformed into a Write for Rights event, held by kind permission at St Mary’s Church, Taunton during their Saturday Coffee Morning on 8th December.

Every December Amnesty International worldwide picks 12 people or causes who are suffering persecution in some form, and writes to them and to the authorities in their country. Last year people in 208 countries sent 5.5 million letters, cards, emails and social media posts. More than 430,000 helped to protect Chinese housing activist Ni Yulan; nearly 875,000 demanded the release of 11 human rights activists in Turkey – all are now free!

On Saturday visitors, including the Mayor of Taunton and her consort, came to our stall and signed cards. This year’s campaign supports women all around the world who do extraordinary things to protect human rights, including Pavitri Manjhi, harassed for standing up to big business in India; Atena Daemi, jailed for speaking out against the death penalty in Iran; and Seyi Akiwowow, bombarded with online abuse for speaking up in the UK.

If you’d like to write to any of the people in this year’s Write for Rights campaign you’ll find all the details here.

We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place – all are welcome.

Taunton Amnesty meeting Tuesday 13th November

6 Nov

https---cdn.evbuc.com-images-48324262-63374541021-1-originalOur next meeting is on Tuesday 13th November at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton from 7.30-9.30pm (nearby parking behind Boots).

All welcome – you do not need to be a member of Amnesty International to come along to our meetings.

We don’t have a meeting in December but instead will hold a Write for Rights stall at St Mary Magdalene Church, Hammet Street, Taunton on 8th December from 10am–2pm. Please come along and sign a card for imprisoned human rights defenders around the world.

Report from our October meeting

23 Oct

It’s now more than 50 years since the 6 day war of 1967 when, in six days of fighting, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, the Golan Heights of Syria, and the West Bank and Arab sector of East Jerusalem, both previously under Jordanian rule. By the time the United Nations cease-fire took effect on June 11, Israel had more than doubled its size.

The illegal Israeli settlements that have since encroached on Palestinian land were the subject of the training session given to us by Susan Mew of the Minehead Group. Amnesty is aiming to put pressure on the UK Government to ban goods from these illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory. They have caused much distress among the Palestinians whose land has been illegally taken over.This is a difficult and contentious issue which needs sensitive handling.

Amnesty wants to put pressure on our MPs to encourage to Government to be more active in its support for BRAVE Human Rights Defenders world wide.

We heard reports from members working on the Middle East (we signed letters on the case of Amal Fathy of Egypt), the Death Penalty, Burma (a wretched picture, with the two Reuters journalists now sentenced after reporting on a massacre of Rohingya men by the Burmese military) and the Women’s Network.

We discussed our Write for Rights Day (during the Christmas Season we write, and encourage others to do so too, to a selection of men and women imprisoned world wide); St Mary’s Church, Hammet Street, Taunton are kindly welcoming us to have our Write for Rights stall at their Saturday Coffee Morning on 8th December from 10am–2pm.

There is an Anne Frank Exhibition at The Brewhouse until the end of November.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 13th November at 7.30 in the Friends’ Meeting House, Bath Place. Do come and join us.

Taunton Amnesty group meeting: Tuesday 9th October, 7.30pm

3 Oct

Dey-JhcW4AARwzuOur next meeting is on Tuesday 9th October at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton from 7.30-9.30pm (nearby parking behind Boots). The main item is a talk from our local trainer, Susan Mew, on Amnesty’s ‘Ban Israeli Settlement Goods’ campaign.

All welcome – you do not need to be a member of Amnesty International to come along to our meetings.

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