Tag Archives: human rights

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 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!

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!

Next Taunton Amnesty meeting Tuesday 11th April

7 Apr

imageJoin 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 March meeting

24 Mar

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 wayCollecting for Amnestys 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.

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!

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