Tag Archives: group

Next Taunton Amnesty meeting

4 Oct

october10Our next meeting is on Tuesday 10th October 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 will also have an EGM to elect a Vice-Chair.

Hope to see you there!

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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!

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 June meeting

5 Jul

16401681618_d1940c57a4_bAt our meeting in June, we took action to draw attention to the plight of British-Iranian citizens Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Kamal Foroughi imprisoned in Iran on trumped up charges. Both are missing out on family life: Nazanin has a young daughter, and Kamal, in his seventies has children and grandchildren he cannot see. Both are now in poor health. We made origami tulips inscribed with family memories to underline what they are missing. These are to be sent to their families, and to our own MPs to enlist their help.

We discussed Amnesty’s current national campaigns on refugees and human rights; we are hoping to mount a photo exhibition for human rights.

Letters were written to the authorities on behalf of prisoners in Libya and Morocco.

Discussing the Death Penalty, we heard that in 2016 there were 37% fewer executions than in 2015, but this excludes China (about which there is little information) and the full extent of executions in Syria. We wrote on behalf of cases in Bahrain and Malaysia.

At the end of May, Martin Peters organised a Disco for Amnesty at the Lawns Social Club which raised a welcome sum of money.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 11th July at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton from 7.30-9.30pm (there is nearby parking behind Boots). We look forward to seeing you there.

 

Report from our April meeting

2 May

548x331_nazanin_daughter_4Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: her story goes straight to the heart. Arrested a year ago as she and her small daughter were about to leave Iran for England after visiting her parents, this UK-Iranian charity worker was then jailed for 5 years for ‘membership of an illegal group’, and accused of being married to a British spy. Her daughter’s British passport has been confiscated and impossible conditions imposed upon her seeing her mother. Her appeal has been dismissed and her sentence confirmed. Her health is deteriorating. We wrote to the Iranian authorities on Nazanin’s behalf. Meanwhile her husband Richard is working unsparingly for her. His campaign is accessible on social media.

Our second Monthly Action was for Noori, a 21 year old Syrian refugee kept unlawfully for over 5 months in Greek police detention awaiting a decision on whether he’ll be returned to the unsafe location of Turkey. In Syria he was studying to be a nurse, but had to halt his education because of the war; he would like to continue his studies in Europe. Meantime he is ill and stressed. We wrote to the Greek authorities on his behalf.

We heard reports from members; our collection at Tesco’s in March raised over £200; this will go to Amnesty UK. A letter was written for Ali Aarrass of Morocco, asking that his detention in solitary confinement should end.

Advance publicity: Disco for Amnesty on Saturday 27th May at the Lawns Social Club, St Mary’s Street from 8pm-1am, entry £4.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday 9th May from 7.30pm at the Friends Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton. 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!

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