Tag Archives: 2017

Report from our July meeting

19 Jul

Taner Kilic

We wrote as a matter of urgency to the Turkish Minister of Justice about the arbitrary detention of Taner Kilic, a human rights lawyer who is also the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey. Since the attempted coup in Turkey a year ago there have been sweeping arrests and dismissals of journalists, academics and public sector employees.

Amnesty International has called on the Turkish authorities to cease their assault on freedom of expression and dissident voices, and allow media and civil society workers to carry out their legitimate work in peace and without fear of reprisal. Since we wrote about Taner Kilic, Amnesty’s Director in Turkey, Idil Eser, has also been arrested and imprisoned.

Amnesty has written: “It is truly absurd that [such people] are under investigation for membership of an armed terrorist organisation. They should not have spent a moment behind bars. For them to be entering a second week in police cells is a shocking indictment of the ruthless treatment of those who attempt to stand up for human rights in Turkey.”

We discussed letters written by our members on people imprisoned in the Middle East, North Africa and Burma, and those facing the death penalty. We are planning to put on a photographic exhibition this autumn on refugees on the theme of ‘I Welcome’.

Our Book of the Month is Sapiens – a History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari; its theme is the fictions that we have evolved to bind us together.

There is no meeting in August but we will be back at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton on Tuesday 12th September at 7.30pm; all welcome! 

Report from our May meeting

5 Jun

Nazanin

The General Election on 8th June  – a subject that cannot be ignored! We were asked to write to all our prospective parliamentary candidates on the subject of human rights.

We want to ensure the next UK government and parliament are supportive of human rights and work to protect them in the UK and internationally.

We heard reports from our members on the campaigns they work on. The Asylum Justice Campaign has launched a petition urging the Government to stop the indefinite detention of asylum seekers. Unlike other EU countries the UK has no limit for detention; it’s reported that 208 people have been detained for over a year, including one who has been in detention for three and a half years.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 13th June from 7.30-9.30pm at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton (nearby parking behind Boots). The monthly action will be focusing on the plight of two British-Iranian citizens, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Kamal Foroughi, who are imprisoned in Iran.

Visitors and new members always welcome!

Next Taunton Amnesty meeting Tuesday 14th March

7 Mar

Keep Calm and Support AmnestyJoin 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!

Report from our February meeting

20 Feb

Resettled Syrian family in NorwayChild 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.

235792_refugees_freezing_in_moria-468_0We 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!

Report from our January meeting

18 Jan

548x331solidarity_with_refugees_march_in_london_12_september_2015Taunton 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!

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!

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