Tag Archives: refugees

Report from our February meeting

19 Feb

We held our AGM this month; reports and an account of the year’s activities were given. We ended 2017 with the Write for Rights morning in St Mary’s Church, Taunton. Our social media presence has grown, with a wider audience using our WordPress, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Sponsors of Syrian family, Toronto Canada, July 2017The Monthly Action again concerns refugees. Refugee families, separated by war and persecution, are being kept apart by restrictive UK rules on family reunion. On Friday 16 March 2018, MPs will debate an important bill to improve these rules and reunite refugee families. We need at least 100 MPs to turn up and vote on 16 March to change these unfair rules that keep refugees in UK apart from those they love. To win this vote we need MPs’ constituents (YOU) to tell them you support refugee family reunion. Currently child refugees in the UK have no family reunion rights so they can’t bring their parents to join them here. This must change. Find out more and email your MP here.

We heard again the miserable story of the Rohingya people in Rakhine State in Myanmar (Burma), and the efforts of the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, to bring the UK’s influence to bear on the problem. Amnesty are working on the case of two Reuters journalists imprisoned for reporting from Rakhine State; they have been denied bail and are facing a predicted 14 years in jail.

In a future meeting we hope to hold a workshop on Amnesty’s BRAVE Campaign for Human Rights Defenders. We will let you know the date once confirmed. Our next meeting is at 7.30pm on Tuesday 13th March at the Friends’ Meeting House in Bath Place, Taunton. Visitors are always welcome.

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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!

I Welcome exhibition and performance of Twist at Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre

29 Aug

68061D78537-9FA4-F0C4-85DFFBFDE77E2CDDOn Wednesday 27th September we are teaming up with Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Taunton to stage Amnesty’s I Welcome photo exhibition alongside a theatre performance of Twist.

Twist is the story of one boy’s search for home among the nameless millions they call ‘migrant’. In a radical adaptation of Dickens’ classic novel, Chino Odimba and Theatre Centre transform Oliver’s struggle for sanctuary into a modern tale framed by the global phenomenon fast defining the 21st century.

Amnesty International’s I Welcome exhibition features compelling photographs that allow us to glimpse the individual stories behind today’s global refugee crisis and those of earlier years. The exhibition will be staged in the Tacchi-Morris foyer for people to see before and after the play.

For more details about Twist and to book tickets please see the Tacchi-Morris website.

 

 

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 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!

Help reunite refugees with their families

4 Mar

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If you had family members trying to escape war and persecution, wouldn’t you do everything you could to help them reach you safely?

Unfortunately, for many, current immigration laws make that almost impossible.

Left with no choice, people are forced to embark on life-threatening journeys or seek out a life in miserable and inhumane conditions.

The UK government must open up safe and legal routes to safety.

Demand they amend immigration rules so refugees can be reunited with family members in the UK.

Please take a moment to read more and email your MP by clicking here.

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