Tag Archives: women’s human rights

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!

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Reminder: Amnesty stall this Saturday

14 Jul

amnesty_graphic

If you are in Taunton this Saturday (16th July) please drop by our stall at Castle Green (near the museum). We are raising awareness about and fundraising for one of Amnesty’s key campaigns on Women’s Rights, focusing on Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone.

The Department for International Development will be doubling any money raised by Amnesty to support projects to prevent cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Early Forced Marriage (EFM) in Burkino Faso and Sierra Leone.

Please come along to make a small donation (which will be doubled by the UK government) and sign our petition calling on Burkino Faso’s government to protect girls and young women from forced marriages.

We’ll be there from 10am until 2pm. Hope you can pop along!

Next Taunton Amnesty Group Meeting Tues 10th February

3 Feb
178228-My Body My Rights briefingOur next monthly meeting is on Tuesday 10th February at the Silver Street Baptist Church, Taunton, TA1 3DH.  8pm start.
All are most welcome to join us for campaign updates, news and actions and to find out more about human rights and the work of Amnesty International. Our monthly action is for the My Body My Rights campaign and we’ll also
be discussing our casefile on the Mansoura women in Egypt.
Note: there is parking at the rear of the church; ring the bell at the rear entrance if there is no-one there to let you in. Check the board by the entrance door for which room we are in.
We look forward to seeing you there.

Report from our October meeting

23 Oct

 

egyptwomenNeil Guild, prospective Labour Parliamentary candidate for Taunton, was our speaker this month (Rebecca Pow, Conservative Parliamentary candidate, spoke in May).   In a very interesting talk he sketched in his life so far: University, Army, service in Iraq, Civil Service, and then moved on to how these experiences had shaped his current concerns, with particular reference to those issues that concern Amnesty.

This month’s Action is a call for Asylum Support rates to be increased; currently asylum seekers (who are not allowed to work) receive 50% of Income Support – about £7 a day for all living expenses outside accommodation. This is not enough to live on, and those left thus stranded may resort to illegal work, prostitution and begging.

Asylum seekers get a terrible press in the UK. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not entitled to council housing. An increase in support rates in other countries has not led to an increase in applicants there. The UK is only fourth in popularity among asylum seekers – Germany, France and Sweden all receive higher numbers of applicants.

We were asked to write to our MPs on the issue.

We now have prisoners of conscience in Egypt: 3 Egyptian women from Mansoor University, imprisoned for peaceful protest. We signed letters to President el-Sisi on their behalf, as we did for a number on Death Row in the US and other countries.

There is no further news about Dr Tun Aung, our prisoner of conscience in Burma; 3000 prisoners were released in Burma last week (in advance of the ASEAN conference), but only 3 of them were political prisoners.

We meet on the second Tuesday of the month in the Silver Street Baptist Church, Taunton. Do join us there, and follow us on our website: amnestytaunton.wordpress.com

Petition: Protect survivors of sexual violence

19 Jun

In Algeria and Tunisia, the law allows rapists to escape prosecution by marrying their teenage victims. Morocco recently did away with a similar law, two years after 16-year-old Amina Filali committed suicide having been forced to marry the man she said had raped her.  

There are many other laws in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia which fail to protect female survivors of sexual violence, such as making the severity of punishment for rape dependent on whether the victim was a virgin.

Sign the petition here asking the Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan authorities to end discriminatory rape laws and protect survivors of sexual violence.

Stop execution and flogging of pregnant mother in Sudan

17 May

27-year-old Meriam Yehya Ibrahim is being held in prison with her 20-month-old son and is heavily pregnant with her second child.  

Meriam was first arrested in August last year because her husband is Christian. One of her relatives had claimed that Meriam was committing ‘adultery’ for marrying outside of Islam, and reported her to the authorities.

When Meriam appeared before the courtroom in Khartoum, Sudan, on 15 May and refused to renounce her Christian religion, the judges sentenced to death by hanging for ‘apostasy’. She has also been sentenced to 100 lashes for being married to a Christian man.

Meriam has committed no crime. She is a prisoner of conscience and should be released immediately.  

Please follow this link to send an email to the Sudanese government, or write to the following addresses:

  • Minister of Justice Mohamed Bushara Dousa, Ministry of Justice, PO Box 302 Al Nil Avenue, Khartoum, Sudan  moj@moj.gov.sd
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Ahmed Karti, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PO Box 302, Republic Street, Khartoum, Sudan Fax: + 249 183 772941
  • Minister of Interior Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamed mut@isoc.sd

 

 

Demand Afghanistan scrap a law silencing survivors of domestic violence

16 Feb
Teenager Sahar Gul recovers in hospital after being beaten and tortured by her in-laws © AFP PHOTO/ SHAH Marai

Sahar Gul recovers in hospital after being beaten and tortured by her in-laws © AFP PHOTO

Afghanistan is set to pass a law that will allow people to attack their wives, sisters and daughters without fear of punishment, because relatives won’t be allowed to testify as witnesses to these crimes.

An estimated 87% of women in Afghanistan have experienced at least one form of physical, sexual or psychological violence or forced marriage. In a country blighted by ‘honour killings’ and child marriage, we know that most of this violence takes place within the family – that’s why this law will be so devastating.

But it’s not too late.  Enough international and local pressure could turn this situation around. Just last November, we were successful in stopping the approval of another proposed law which would have allowed death by stoning for ‘adultery’.

Click here to stand with the women and girls of Afghanistan and help us stop this outrageous law from becoming reality.

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