End the horror in Syrian prisons: we emailed the Russian and US governments asking them to do everything in their power to stop the mass deaths and torture. AI have a recent report out documenting the thousands who, since 2011, have been executed at Saydnaya Military Prison. Mass hangings are carried out there at night and in the utmost secrecy. Many other detainees at Saydnaya have been killed after being repeatedly tortured and systematically deprived of food, water, medicine and medical care. These and many other atrocities carried out in furtherance of state policy amount to crimes against humanity.
In Turkey lawyer Eren Kesken, an outspoken defender of human rights for over 30 years (during which time she has been subjected to death threats, physical attacks and sustained judicial harassment) is now facing charges including ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’ which could bring her a life sentence. We wrote on her behalf to the Turkish Minister of Justice, and sent her a solidarity card.
Our Death Penalty co-ordinator told us of her cases: we signed a birthday card to Chiou Ho-Shun, Taiwan’s longest serving death penalty prisoner, and signed letters pleading for Syrians Mah’moud Tale’ Nayef and Taleb Tale’ Nayef , both sentenced to death.
We discussed ways in which the Group could reach out to other sections of the community in Taunton, and heard reports from our members. On 19th March Tesco Taunton were kind enough to allow us to collect for Amnesty outside their store, and we raised £214.
We meet at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month in the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton. Come and hear about our work – visitors are always welcome.
Join us for our next monthly meeting at 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting House, 13 Bath Place, Taunton TA1 4EP (there is nearby parking behind Boots). The meeting will include updates on Amnesty campaigns we work on. New members always welcome.
We hope to see you there!
Child refugees in the UK are alone in being denied the right to family reunion, something which provides a safe and legal route allowing those fleeing persecution to avoid dangerous journeys and people smugglers. How can it be that this is denied to unaccompanied refugee children who have already legally been through the asylum process and have suffered so much?
We wrote to ask the Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families and the Minister of State for Immigration to continue to work together on this, and to look again at this crucial issue.
We wrote too to President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission asking for his intervention in the desperate plight of refugees stuck in freezing conditions on the Greek islands. You can also take action here.
We held our AGM this month, reviewing what has been achieved in the past year: Ben Grant organised a schools debate, held at Taunton School, on the Human Rights Act, and in December organised a donation of books on human rights to Taunton Public Library. Lorna Brown and Pat Jefferson organised a stall on Castle Green on the issue of FGM and early forced marriage; this provoked much interest. Our last event was our Write for Rights morning, hosted at the Coffee Morning at St Mary’s Church, Hammet Street.
Our next event will be a collection in aid of Amnesty International UK at the Tesco Superstore, Castle Street, Taunton on Sunday 19th March between 10am and 4pm. See you there!
We also heard reports on our various country campaigns and on the death penalty and other issues. Worrying reports are still reaching us about the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (Burma). A group of Nobel Prize winners have written in protest about this to their fellow laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the leaders in the Myanmar Government.
We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton. Do join us!
Share your love for human rights this Valentine’s Day and join us for our monthly meeting at 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting House, 13 Bath Place, Taunton TA1 4EP (there is nearby parking behind Boots). The meeting will include our AGM, plus updates on Amnesty campaigns we work on. New members always welcome.
We hope to see you there!
Taunton Welcomes Refugees! This message underpinned the talk given by Chris Waddilove of Citizens UK. He spoke about his organisation, and then went on to talk of refugees in Taunton. The town is currently hosting four Syrian Refugee families, helping them through a joint collaboration, funded by a UNHCR resettlement scheme.
The families have been settled in privately rented accommodation, and are helped on the same footing as the Troubled Families Project, backed up by local volunteers: EFL teachers, general language support work, and help with such day to day things as transport, DIY and, most importantly, friendship.
We discussed our Write for Rights day, held on 10 December, Human Rights Day, in St Mary’s Church, Taunton. We were welcomed by the Vicar and Churchwardens at their Coffee Morning, and encouraged those passing through to sign cards for Prisoners of Conscience. On the same day we formally handed over a donation of books on Human Rights issues to the Public Library in Paul Street.
We heard reports from members working on the Death Penalty and on Women’s Human Rights – International Women’s Day is on 8 March. We wrote letters of support to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, jailed for 5 years in Iran with no valid trial. We received worrying reports about the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, Myanmar (Burma). A group of Nobel Prize winners have written in protest about this to their fellow laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, a leader in the Myanmar Government.
Our next meeting is at 7.30pm on Tuesday 14th February at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place. All are welcome!
Happy New Year to all our group members and supporters! Our next monthly meeting is on Tuesday 10th January at 7.30pm in the Taunton Quaker Meeting House, 13 Bath Place, TA1 4EP (there is nearby parking behind Boots).
Our guest speaker will be Chris Waddilove of Refugees Welcome.
Join us to hear about our campaigns, human rights and the work of Amnesty International. New members are always welcome.
We hope to see you there!
A selection of some of the books we are donating to Taunton Library.
To mark Human Rights Day on Saturday 10th December, the Taunton Amnesty Group is donating a range of books on human rights and related topics to Taunton Library. There will be a display of some of these books in the library from 10th December – do go along and borrow one of these thought-provoking titles to show that Taunton cares about human rights!
Also on Saturday 10th December we will be holding a Write for Rights event from 10am to 2pm in St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton. We’ll be writing greetings cards containing messages of support to prisoners of conscience across the world. Please come along and sign a card, which could help to change a life. Tea, coffee and refreshments available at the church coffee shop. We hope to see you there!
Please note: we are not holding our usual monthly meeting on Tuesday 13th December.