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Report from our February meeting

24 Feb

Our meeting this month included our AGM. We reviewed what had been achieved in the last year: our I Welcome photographs were set up at Huish’s Sixth Form College; in the summer we had a stall (left) celebrating the Brave Campaign – a tribute to those brave people who have stood up for human rights in difficult situations. We had talks on India and Nepal, and on the difficult subject of the occupied Palestinian Territories and boycotting Israeli goods produced there.

Use of our Twitter page (@amnestytaunton) and among those who follow us on Facebook and our WordPress blog have all gone up. It was suggested that it would be good to try and reach out to other groups in the town who are beyond our usual circle – political parties and the various religious denominations were among those suggested.

We were urged to write to our MPs on the Families Together Action. The UK’s restrictive refugee family reunion rules are at the moment keeping families apart. Adult refugees can sponsor only their very closest relatives to join them – their partners and children under 18 years old – while child refugees in the UK are excluded from rules allowing for family reunion so cannot bring their parents to join them.  We are asking the Home Secretary to widen these categories in the Immigration Bill currently going through Parliament. You can sign a petition here.

The suggestion for  Book of the Month was “To Obama, with love, joy, hate and despair” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, based on the selection Obama read every day from among the thousands of letters he received.

We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting House in Bath Place, Taunton.  We’re always delighted to meet newcomers to our meetings.

Taunton Amnesty meeting Tuesday 12th February

5 Feb
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Our next meeting is on Tuesday 12th February at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton from 7.30-9.30pm (nearby parking behind Boots). This will include our AGM.

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

Report from our January meeting

22 Jan

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Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe went on a three-day hunger strike in protest against being denied specialist medical care.

Our December Write for Rights Campaign stall at St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton, resulted in 71 Write for Rights cards being signed and sent to human rights defenders around the world.

Sue Hazelwood, the Group’s Treasurer and responsible for Middle East and North African campaigns, had prepared a number of letters to the authorities in Egypt: for Assa Mohamed (imprisoned and tortured at the age of 14); a call to investigate the torture and murder in Egypt of academic Julio Regini, and a solidarity card for Ali Aarras in Morocco.

We heard reports from our Death Penalty co-ordinator: the Christmas period seems to have been looked on as ‘a day to bury bad news’ with a number of executions, and also from our Women’s Human Rights co-ordinator. She reported that Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe (Iran) was intending to go on hunger strike on January 14 in protest against her continued detention. A petition has been launched again for her.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 12th February at 7.30pm at the Friends’ Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton, which will include our AGM. All are welcome.

 

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.

Write for Rights stall in Taunton Sat 8th December

4 Dec

W4Rs_1200px20%_3cases.jpgWe don’t have our usual monthly meeting in December but instead will hold a Write for Rights stall at St Mary Magdalene Church, Hammet Street, Taunton on Saturday 8th December from 10am–2pm. This is Amnesty’s annual campaign to encourage people to write greetings cards to imprisoned human rights defenders around the world to show our support for them.

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.

Come and take a break from Christmas shopping and write a card (we will supply cards and details of the people featured in this year’s campaign). Refreshments available at Magdalene’s Coffee Shop.

Hope you can drop by!

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.

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