Tag Archives: meeting

Report from our March meeting

22 Mar

238240-rodrigo-mundaca-e1495496664358-1600x800.jpgWater theft? A phrase that seems incredible in the UK, but which is a real and pressing threat in some parts of the world. In an arid region of central Chile, Rodrigo Mundaca is defending community access to water and exposing its illegal extraction by politicians and businesses. He and his colleagues have received death threats, been physically attacked, and taken to court.

To mark World Water Day (22nd March), we sent a message of solidarity to Rodrigo, and wrote to the Chilean Embassy in the UK urging them to use their influence to allow Rodrigo and his organisation, MODATIMO, to be able to continue their human rights work on land, territory and environment issues.

We discussed AI Urgent Action cases in North Africa and in North Korea, and signed letters to the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of State Security on behalf of Koo Jeong-hwa, arrested with her four year old son when returned from illegally crossing into China to find work – something considered treasonous in North Korea.

We were updated on the desperate situation of the Rohingya people in Rakhine State, Myanmar (Burma). What has been described as a ‘military land grab’ is taking place in the territory from which the Rohingya have fled. AI’s Crisis Response Director, Tirana Hassan, has written ‘What we are seeing in Rhakine State is a land grab by the military on a dramatic scale. New bases are being erected to house the very same security forces that have committed crimes against humanity against the Rohingya’.

We meet on the second Tuesday of the month at 7.30pm in the Friends’ Meeting House, Bath Place, Taunton. At our April meeting Susan Mew of the Minehead Group will be speaking about AI’s Human Rights Defenders BRAVE campaign.  All are welcome!


Next Taunton Amnesty meeting: Tues 13th March

7 Mar


Our next meeting is on Tuesday 13th March 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 hope to see you there!

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


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 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 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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