Tag Archives: Somerset

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  In Malaysia there was hope the DP would be completely repealed, but at least the mandatory element of it has been removed.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!

Women’s Human Rights news

5 Nov

Tep-Vanny-photo-credit-Amnesty-UK-via-TwitterGOOD NEWS – TEP VANNY IS FREE!

Cambodian land rights defender Tep Vanny has received a royal pardon and is free from prison. Tep was detained for two years for peacefully protesting against the forced eviction of her community from Boeung Kak Lake, Phnom Penh. A luxury tourist development on the site has seen thousands of families lose their homes.

SAUDI ARABIA – FREE THE WOMEN WHO FOUGHT FOR THE RIGHT TO DRIVE

However, in Saudi Arabia, the crackdown on women’s human rights defenders continues. The month, Human Rights Watch report that human rights activist Israa al-Ghomgham is amongst a group of rights defenders facing the death penalty. This comes as part of the Saudi government’s terrorism tribunal – but these women are being held on charges solely relating to peaceful activism. None the less, women who led the fight for women’s right to drive remain imprisoned and branded as ‘traitors’. Thirteen activists remain detained without charge. Help to achieve their release by taking action here.

IRAN – HELP GET NAZANIN HOME

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a British mother serving a five – year prison sentence in Iran – but she hasn’t committed any crime She was recently released on a three day leave from prison to visit her family – but has now, crushingly, been returned to prison. Nazanin has done nothing wrong. Help secure her freedom by signing Amnesty’s on-line petition here.

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 Amnesty Taunton meeting Tuesday 10th July

3 Jul

Keep Calm and Support AmnestyOur next meeting is on Tuesday 10th July 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.

Amnesty campaign evaluations

2 Jul

‘Stop Torture’ and ‘My Body My Rights’ were two global Amnesty International campaigns during 2014-16. A recent external evaluation looked at the successes and failures of these two campaigns.

Overall, both campaigns helped to produce successful outcomes in some countries. It was felt that they contributed to significant improvements in a number of countries, for example, restrictive abortion laws or provisions were dropped or changed in Poland, Portugal and Spain and there were also clear examples of individuals having benefitted from these campaigns.

Results were less strong than expected in other ways, for example, with regard to their impact in changing national law or policy. The ‘My Body, My Rights’ campaign had an important influence on public debates, especially in El Salvador and Ireland about abortion and in Burkina Faso about forced marriage. There is also anecdotal evidence that the ‘My Body, My Rights’ campaign was effective at mobilising young people in countries like El Salvador and Burkino Faso.

Taunton Amnesty International ran a campaign stall at this time focussing on Early Forced Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation. It generated a lot of interest and support among the people of Taunton who signed petitions and gave donations to help to continue Amnesty’s work; it’s good to feel that we were part of something so much bigger which had a very beneficial effect on the lives of young people in other parts of the world.

DIARY DATE: On Sat 1 September (10am–2pm) we will have an information stall in Taunton town centre (near Next) to highlight Amnesty’s campaign BRAVE, calling for the increased recognition and protection of Human Rights Defenders around the world.

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