Tag Archives: Amnesty

Amnesty Feminists update

18 Sep

EGYPT: The Giza prosecution office has ordered the release on bail of a 15 year old girl who was arrested after stabbing a microbus driver who attempted to rape her. In July, Amira was lured to Al-Ayat by a microbus driver, her boyfriend and another man and then offered a lift home by the driver after the other commuters got out. The driver attacked Amira with a knife and attempted to rape her so she stabbed him 14 times in self-defence. Reuters has stated that Egypt is the worst place in the world to be a woman – women who do speak out about sexual harassment are often punished by authorities – in 2018, Amal Fathy was sentenced to prison after posting a video on FB calling out sexual harassment.

INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: 25th November – marks the start of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. AI advocates for the full decriminalisation of sex work because if offers a better framework to protect the human rights of sex workers.

dometic-abuse-bill-webUK – DOMESTIC ABUSE BILL – not fit for purpose. Supposed to ‘transform’ our approach to domestic abuse’, it leaves some of the most marginalised women behind. Migrant women are often already isolated in society. They can face language barriers, racial discrimination and many are on low-income jobs. Help support migrant women and join call on the government to make sure the new Domestic Abuse Bill doesn’t discriminate against migrant women. (ON-LINE PETITION)

ON-LINE ABUSE: widespread in the UK with one if five women having suffered online abuse or harassment, latest research has discovered.

ECUADOR: Amazonian Women Patricia Gualinga, Nema Grefa, Salome Aranda and Margoth Escobar are putting their lives on the line every day protecting the world’s largest rainforest. In doing so, they are taking a stand against climate change, while defying huge political and economic interest linked to extractive industries in Indigenous territories. In 2018, unidentified attackers targeted them in a series of attacks and death threats. For more than a year Ecuador’s authorities have failed to protect them or identify their attackers. In Ecuador, dozens of Amazonian Women work together to defend the Amazon, home to hundreds of Indigenous communities, thousands of species and half of the world’s rainforests. Large-scale economic activities such as oil, mining and logging often pose a threat to the environment and to people’s rights.

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.

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.

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.

Next Taunton Amnesty group meeting Tues 12th June

6 Jun

Esmail-abdi-web_0Our next meeting is on Tuesday 12th June at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton from 7.30-9.30pm (nearby parking behind Boots). Join us for news about Amnesty International’s campaigns, letter signing and more. There will be a petition to sign calling for the release of Esmail Abdi (left), a teacher trade unionist on hunger strike in Iran.

We hope to see you there.

Report from our April meeting

18 Apr

DRfQwnLX4AAYiqW.jpgOrdinary people, extraordinary achievements: Susan Mew of the Minehead Group came to talk to us about Amnesty’s BRAVE campaign. Launched last year, this aims to strengthen the recognition and protection of human rights defenders around the world. Who are they? A Human Rights Defender is a person who individually or with others acts to defend and promote human rights at local, national or international levels, using non-violent means.

People like lawyer Azza Soliman who defends victims of torture, arbitrary detention, domestic abuse and rape in Egypt, and is now facing three trumped up charges, carrying a possible sentence of 25 years.

People like Tep Vanny of Cambodia, a housing rights activist, jailed in 2016 for supporting people at risk of forced eviction.

Or people like Sakris Kupila, a medical student in Finland who is a transgender activist, denied legal recognition. “I dream of the day when I can truly feel that this world is for people like me, too. I’ll stop when this fight is over.”

We heard reports from Poland about how women’s rights are being affected by increasingly restrictive abortion laws; from Myanmar (Burma) on the continuing dire straights of the Rohingya people, and about action on behalf of Ali Arras and photo journalist Shawkam of Egypt.

Amnesty’s “I Welcome” Photo Exhibition is to be displayed at Richard Huish College in the near future, and a Great Get Together picnic, with a Seventies theme, is planned for 23 June at 5pm in Long Run Meadow, Taunton. Save the date!

Our next meeeting is on Tuesday 8th May at 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton – all are welcome.

Next Taunton Amnesty meeting: Tues 13th March

7 Mar

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Our next meeting is on Tuesday 13th March at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton from 7.30-9.30pm (nearby parking behind Boots). Join us for news about Amnesty International’s campaigns, letter signing and more.

We hope to see you there!

Report from our September meeting

19 Sep

Palestine2For 50 years Israel has occupied Palestinian land, forcing Palestinians from their homes and illegally using that land to house Israeli settlers and to produce millions of pounds worth of products that are sold around the world, including in UK markets. We petitioned the Foreign Secretary to ban the sale of Israeli settlement products in the UK, and to stop UK companies operating in settlements or trading in settlement goods.

We discussed Amnesty’s “I Welcome” campaign for refugees. Amnesty has put together a photo exhibition covering refugees past and present. We plan to show this exhibition at a number of venues in the Taunton area in the next few weeks, including Taunton Library from 16th October. It is also available online, with a commentary by actress (and Amnesty’s UK Ambassador) Juliet Stevenson. We will have a stall, focussing on refugees, at the Tacchi Morris Centre on 27th September when they show Twist, a modern, refugee directed take on Dickens’ novel.

We signed letters for prisoners in Egypt (Mahmoud Abu Zeid, a photo journalist, part of a mass trial of 738 people, whose hearing had been adjourned for the 35th time) and for two Ukrainians condemned to death. The number of countries rejecting the death penalty has risen in the last few years from 16 to 104 – but in the Maldives it has been resumed.

We discussed again the extremely worrying state of affairs in Myanmar (Burma) where Muslim minority Rohingya have been persecuted and forced to flee in Rhakine state. Questions over the stance of leader Aung San Sui Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, remain of international concern.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 10th October at 7.30pm in the Friends’ Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton. All welcome!

Next Taunton Amnesty meeting Tue 12th September

6 Sep

After a break in August we are back at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton on Tuesday 12th September from 7.30-9.30pm (nearby parking behind Boots).

Join us for news about Amnesty International’s campaigns, letter signing and more.

Hope to see you there!

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