Next Taunton Amnesty meeting Tuesday 10th January

4 Jan

Keep Calm and Support AmnestyHappy 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!

Human Rights Day 10th December

5 Dec
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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.

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Report from our November meeting

14 Nov

raft2The highlight of our November meeting was a talk by Federica Smith on the organisation she founded 18 months ago: RAFT – Refugee Aid From Taunton. By ingenuity, persistence and learning as they go, RAFT has sent aid to, among other needy places, Syria, Uganda (for Sudanese refugees), and the Ukraine. Their next shipment is to Lebanon.

So far they have dispatched 116 vanloads. Nothing they are given is wasted: if it’s unsuitable it will be sold and the money donated. Unusable clothes are sold for rags, some are swapped. They help the homeless in Taunton too, and local refugees. It is an admirable story. They’re based in the old Market House at Firepool (pictured). Find them on Facebook or visit their website at: www.refugeeaidfromtaunton.org.uk

Our Monthly Action was to write to Theresa May pleading for her to intervene for the children of Aleppo: ‘If you tolerate this, our children could be next. Every war crime we allow to go unpunished – by any party to this brutal conflict – makes the world more dangerous.’

Our Write for Rights Action this year will coincide with the Saturday Coffee Morning run at St Mary’s Church, Hammet Street, Taunton. We will be there on Saturday 10th December, Human Rights Day, from 10am until 2pm. We send cards, and letters, to those suffering human rights abuses around the world, and ask you to come and get involved: by sending a card or writing a letter, you can change a life.

On the same day we are donating a collection of books on human rights and related topics to Taunton Library in Paul Street.

Please note: there will be no monthly meeting in December, but our first meeting in 2017 will be on 10th January at 7.30 in the Quaker Meeting House, Bath Place. We’ll be delighted to welcome you there.

Next Taunton Amnesty meeting: Tuesday 8th November

1 Nov

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Our next monthly meeting is on Tuesday 8th November at 7.30pm at Taunton Quaker Meeting House, 13 Bath Place, TA1 4EP (there is nearby parking behind Boots). 

Our guest speaker will be Refugee Aid From Taunton (RAFT) co-ordinator Federica Smith.

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!

Report from our October meeting

21 Oct

8-noura-iwelcome-logoAmnesty’s new global campaign ‘I Welcome Refugees’ has been launched. Susan Mew of the Minehead Group presented an introduction to its aims, and to the complexities of understanding the issues involved.

Worldwide there are estimated to be 21 million refugees, and it is mostly the poorest countries who receive them – countries such as Turkey and Pakistan. These, and other countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East host about three quarters of all refugees. Europe is home to some 22%. Britain hosts less than 1%. For more detailed information, look at www.amnesty.org.uk/truth-about-refugees.

Relating to this campaign, our Monthly Action was to write to our local MPs asking for their support for migrants, particularly children. ‘We are working with people across the UK to welcome refugees. We would like to see all countries fairly share responsibility for hosting and assisting them.’

We heard from Group member Michael Benison who was at the well-attended Refugees Welcome march in London on 17th September, a prelude to the UN meeting on refugees in New York two days later.

We discussed our Write for Rights campaign for the Christmas period, and our concerns over the Government’s continuing plans to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 8th November at 7.30pm in the Friends Meeting house, Bath Place, Taunton, when our guest speaker will be Refugee Aid From Taunton (RAFT) co-ordinator Federica Smith. We hope you’ll come and join us.

Next Taunton Amnesty meeting Tuesday 11th October

5 Oct

548x331solidarity_with_refugees_march_in_london_12_september_2015Our next monthly meeting is on Tuesday 11th October at the earlier time of 7.30pm at Taunton Quaker Meeting House, 13 Bath Place, TA1 4EP (there is nearby parking behind Boots). 

Susan Mew of the Minehead Amnesty Group will be giving an introduction to Amnesty’s new global campaign, ‘I Welcome Refugees’.

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!

Report from our September meeting

20 Sep

image001Matsumoto Kenji of Japan has been on death row since 1993 – twenty three years. Appeals on his behalf have been turned down; he could be executed at any time.

Prison conditions for those condemned to death in Japan are harsh: they are held in solitary confinement, visitors are infrequent, exercise is limited to two or three sessions a week, and they must remain seated in their cells. Little wonder that Matsumoto, now 65, has become delusional; he is now in a wheelchair. He has had from birth an intellectual disability, related to mercury poisoning, with an IQ of no more than 70.

We wrote on his behalf to the Minister of Justice, pleading for mercy and a moratorium on executions in Japan, and to the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare with concerns about his health.

We held a stall on Castle Green on 16 July, highlighting the issues of Female Genital Mutilation and Early Forced Marriage, with particular reference to Burkino Faso and Sierra Leone. The event was very successful, raising £178.90 in donations from the public; this has since been doubled by the UK government and so the sum of £357.80 has been sent to Amnesty International UK to support its work in this area. We are very grateful to everyone who made donations and also signed a petition concerning these issues.

Susan Mew of the Minehead Group will be speaking at our October meeting (11th October) on Amnesty’s Global Refugee Campaign. We meet at 7.30pm on the second Tuesday of the month at the Quaker Meeting House in Bath Place, Taunton. Visitors are very welcome.

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