Tag Archives: 2014

Next Amnesty Taunton Group meeting Tuesday 9th December

3 Dec

Amnesty_Bauble_largeJoin us at our next monthly meeting on Tuesday 9th December at the Silver Street Baptist Church, Taunton TA1 3DH. 8pm start.

We will be writing greetings cards to prisoners of conscience for Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign, making decorations for our tree at the United Reformed Church’s Christmas Tree Festival (12-14 December), and consuming a mince pie or two!

All are welcome to join us.

Report from our November meeting

18 Nov

 

imagesWrite for Rights Campaign 2014: Amnesty’s greetings card campaign for Christmas is under way!

‘It only takes a few minutes to write a card or letter. But this simple act brings hope and comfort to people suffering human rights abuses.’ Amnesty received this message from Serkalem Fasil, whose husband is serving 18 years in jail in Ethiopia. The family received thousands of messages last year:

‘I want to convey Eskinder’s gratitude and my own to everyone who has taken part, taken action or sent us letters. For him, it’s a huge source of encouragement and moral strength. The regime will be forced to release him and other prisoners of conscience. That kind of pressure, they can’t resist for ever.’

Look out for Taunton Amnesty’s Write for Rights Campaign Tree at the United Reformed Church’s Christmas Tree Festival 12th-14th December.

For the November Monthly Action we called on the USA to ratify the 25 year old Convention on the Rights of the Child. Despite having signed the Convention in 1995, the USA has still not ratified it – the only country, besides Sudan, to fail.

We meet at 8pm on the second Tuesday of the month at the Silver Street Baptist Church, Taunton. Join us in December to send off Write for Rights Cards and eat mince pies!

The EU Torture Trade: Sale Must End Now

13 Nov

stick_web_final_0Struggling to keep a crowd in check with your ordinary truncheon? This spiked baton delivers maximum impact with virtually no effort! And thanks to loopholes in EU laws, you can trade in an array of gruesome torture equipment like this right here in Europe.

Sign the petition calling on the EU to fix the flaws that allow people to profit from torture.

 

Report from our October meeting

23 Oct

 

egyptwomenNeil Guild, prospective Labour Parliamentary candidate for Taunton, was our speaker this month (Rebecca Pow, Conservative Parliamentary candidate, spoke in May).   In a very interesting talk he sketched in his life so far: University, Army, service in Iraq, Civil Service, and then moved on to how these experiences had shaped his current concerns, with particular reference to those issues that concern Amnesty.

This month’s Action is a call for Asylum Support rates to be increased; currently asylum seekers (who are not allowed to work) receive 50% of Income Support – about £7 a day for all living expenses outside accommodation. This is not enough to live on, and those left thus stranded may resort to illegal work, prostitution and begging.

Asylum seekers get a terrible press in the UK. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not entitled to council housing. An increase in support rates in other countries has not led to an increase in applicants there. The UK is only fourth in popularity among asylum seekers – Germany, France and Sweden all receive higher numbers of applicants.

We were asked to write to our MPs on the issue.

We now have prisoners of conscience in Egypt: 3 Egyptian women from Mansoor University, imprisoned for peaceful protest. We signed letters to President el-Sisi on their behalf, as we did for a number on Death Row in the US and other countries.

There is no further news about Dr Tun Aung, our prisoner of conscience in Burma; 3000 prisoners were released in Burma last week (in advance of the ASEAN conference), but only 3 of them were political prisoners.

We meet on the second Tuesday of the month in the Silver Street Baptist Church, Taunton. Do join us there, and follow us on our website: amnestytaunton.wordpress.com

Stop Torture Casefile: Uzbekistan: Dilorom Abdukadirova

21 Oct

Dilorom Abdukadirova

Dilorom Abdukadirova worked with her husband and mother-in-law on their small farm. In May 2005, she joined thousands at a protest in Andizhan to voice concerns about the economy. The protest was mostly peaceful, but security forces fired on the crowds, killing hundreds.

Dilorom fled across the Kyrgyzstani border, and arrived in Australia on a refugee visa in February 2006. She desperately missed her family, however, so after receiving assurances from the Uzbekistani authorities that nothing would happen if she went back, she returned in January 2010. At the airport, however, she was detained for four days.

In March 2010, Dilorom was detained again and charged with attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and leaving the country illegally. She was kept in a cell for two weeks without access to a lawyer or her family. At her trial in April 2011 relatives said she looked unusually thin, had a bruised face and was not wearing her headscarf, something she would not have done voluntarily.

Following an unfair trial, Dilorom was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison. She was then accused of breaking prison rules, and her sentence was extended by a further eight years following a closed trial inside the prison.

Take Action: How you can help

1) Write to the Uzbekistan authorities and urge them to:

• Drop all charges against Dilorom Abdukadirova and release her immediately and unconditionally
• Conduct a prompt, impartial and effective investigation into the allegations that Dilorom Abdukadirova was tortured in
custody and make sure anyone found responsible is brought to justice.
• Allow the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to visit
Uzbekistan.

Please write to: President Islam Karimov, Rezidentsia Prezidenta, ul. Uzbekistanskaia 43, Tashkent 700163, UZBEKISTAN

2) Let Dilorom know that you are thinking of her and support her struggle for justice

  • Address: Dilorom Abdukadirova, C/o IAR Programme, Amnesty International UK, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London, EC2A 3EA
  • Preferred language: English
  • Suggested message: I stand with you as you seek justice and will campaign for your freedom.
  • Please do not send a religious card.  It is ok to mention Amnesty and to include a return address if you wish

Afghan women’s rights at risk

3 Oct

Doctors, teachers, journalists, activist and lawyers. Ordinary people are doing extraordinary work, risking their safety, to help women across Afghanistan know and access their rights. Their work is vital.  But the threats and violent attacks on them and their families continue and the future looks increasingly dangerous.

UK governments have worked to encourage women to take up public roles like these in Afghanistan. But as international forces prepare to withdraw from the country, the British Government must act now to support and protect women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Please follow this link and sign the petition calling on the UK government to:

  • create and maintain a database to know who is at risk
  • have a named member of staff whose job it is to keep in regular contact with women at risk
  • condemn any threats or violence towards individuals; or any discriminatory laws passed by the Afghan government
  • provide emergency support as needed,  including safe houses and relocation.

Take Action Now

Read all about our September 2014 meeting here…

28 Sep

Torture is out of control in Mexico – there’s been a 600% rise in cases of torture and ill-treatment over the last 10 years. Think of Claudia Medina Tamariz, dragged from her home by marines in the middle of the night, tortured with electric shocks, sexually assaulted and left tied to a chair in the scorching afternoon heat.

Over 2 years later, no investigation of Claudia’s complaint has been made. Since last year Amnesty International has been in frequent contact with the authorities in Mexico, and its recommendations verbally welcomed – but action has yet to be taken.

We signed letters on behalf of those imprisoned or persecuted in Libya, Morocco, Yemen, and Egypt, including human rights activist Yara Sallam.

With regret we said goodbye to Laura, who’s returning to the Midlands. As well as campaigning for those imprisoned or persecuted in the Middle East and North Africa, Laura has set up this WordPress blog for us.

We’re most grateful to local musician Damian Clarke who, in support of Amnesty International, gave a very entertaining lunchtime fundraiser concert to a sizeable audience in St John’s Church on September 12. 

At our October meeting Neil Guild, the prospective Labour Parliamentary candidate for Taunton, will be coming to talk to us about his stance on human rights issues. We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 8pm in the Silver Street Baptist Church – all are most welcome.

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