A selection of some of the books we are donating to Taunton Library.
To mark Human Rights Day on Saturday 10th December, the Taunton Amnesty Group is donating a range of books on human rights and related topics to Taunton Library. There will be a display of some of these books in the library from 10th December – do go along and borrow one of these thought-provoking titles to show that Taunton cares about human rights!
Also on Saturday 10th December we will be holding a Write for Rights event from 10am to 2pm in St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton. We’ll be writing greetings cards containing messages of support to prisoners of conscience across the world. Please come along and sign a card, which could help to change a life. Tea, coffee and refreshments available at the church coffee shop. We hope to see you there!
Please note: we are not holding our usual monthly meeting on Tuesday 13th December.
The highlight of our November meeting was a talk by Federica Smith on the organisation she founded 18 months ago: RAFT – Refugee Aid From Taunton. By ingenuity, persistence and learning as they go, RAFT has sent aid to, among other needy places, Syria, Uganda (for Sudanese refugees), and the Ukraine. Their next shipment is to Lebanon.
So far they have dispatched 116 vanloads. Nothing they are given is wasted: if it’s unsuitable it will be sold and the money donated. Unusable clothes are sold for rags, some are swapped. They help the homeless in Taunton too, and local refugees. It is an admirable story. They’re based in the old Market House at Firepool (pictured). Find them on Facebook or visit their website at: www.refugeeaidfromtaunton.org.uk
Our Monthly Action was to write to Theresa May pleading for her to intervene for the children of Aleppo: ‘If you tolerate this, our children could be next. Every war crime we allow to go unpunished – by any party to this brutal conflict – makes the world more dangerous.’
Our Write for Rights Action this year will coincide with the Saturday Coffee Morning run at St Mary’s Church, Hammet Street, Taunton. We will be there on Saturday 10th December, Human Rights Day, from 10am until 2pm. We send cards, and letters, to those suffering human rights abuses around the world, and ask you to come and get involved: by sending a card or writing a letter, you can change a life.
On the same day we are donating a collection of books on human rights and related topics to Taunton Library in Paul Street.
Please note: there will be no monthly meeting in December, but our first meeting in 2017 will be on 10th January at 7.30 in the Quaker Meeting House, Bath Place. We’ll be delighted to welcome you there.
This was our Write for Rights evening, which, as has become customary, we spent writing cards to prisoners of conscience and their families, and letters to the authorities in their countries, pleading their cause.
Letters of solidarity can make a real difference to a prisoner wrongly detained, for family members waiting for news of a loved one who has ‘disappeared’, or for a torture survivor fighting for justice. A letter can also remind an abusive government that the world is watching.
Our monthly action focused on one of the Write for Rights cases: the problems that women in the sub-Saharan country of Burkina Faso in West Africa have in resisting early forced marriages, getting access to contraception and other basic sexual health services and information. We wrote to the President urging liberalisation in these matters.
Among others we wrote to Saudi Arabia for imprisoned human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair, to Malaysia for political cartoonist Zunar, to Syria for Rania Alabbasi, a dentist, and her six children, ‘disappeared’ since 2013.
The meeting had a lighter side too: members had brought festive food, which we enjoyed while we also made decorations for the Amnesty Christmas Tree at the United Reformed Church’s Christmas Tree Festival (pictured).
Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2016 to all our followers and supporters!
Tuesday 8th December at the Silver Street Baptist Church, Taunton,
TA1 3DH. 8pm start.
Our December meeting is an informal one where we write cards to prisoners of conscience for Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign, and enjoy some festive nibbles. We look forward to seeing you there!
To find out more about the Write for Rights campaign click here.
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.
Atena Farghadani is a 29 year old Iranian artist; she was jailed this summer for over 12 years for her art and her peaceful activism. Since then she’s faced further charges: she shook her lawyer’s hand when he visited her in prison and is now facing charges of ‘illicit sexual relations falling short of adultery’.
We sent cards to Atena and wrote to the Iranian President urging her release. There is also a petition to sign on the AIUK website here.
Members had written letters and cards, which we all signed, on behalf of people imprisoned or facing the death penalty in Morocco, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
We’re taking part in the annual Christmas Tree Festival in the Taunton United Reform Church, held from 11–13 December. Trees are displayed and decorated by groups in the town, which makes a thought-provoking and seasonal display. We hope you can go along and see our tree!
Another annual event for the Christmas period is Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign, when we send cards worldwide to those persecuted and write on their behalf to their Governments. Done on a national scale this campaign has a considerable impact. We’ll be writing cards at our meeting on Tuesday 8 December at 8pm in the Silver Street Baptist Church. Do join us to write cards and enjoy some Christmas nibbles.
Write for Rights Campaign 2014: Amnesty’s greetings card campaign for Christmas is under way!
‘It only takes a few minutes to write a card or letter. But this simple act brings hope and comfort to people suffering human rights abuses.’ Amnesty received this message from Serkalem Fasil, whose husband is serving 18 years in jail in Ethiopia. The family received thousands of messages last year:
‘I want to convey Eskinder’s gratitude and my own to everyone who has taken part, taken action or sent us letters. For him, it’s a huge source of encouragement and moral strength. The regime will be forced to release him and other prisoners of conscience. That kind of pressure, they can’t resist for ever.’
Look out for Taunton Amnesty’s Write for Rights Campaign Tree at the United Reformed Church’s Christmas Tree Festival 12th-14th December.
For the November Monthly Action we called on the USA to ratify the 25 year old Convention on the Rights of the Child. Despite having signed the Convention in 1995, the USA has still not ratified it – the only country, besides Sudan, to fail.
We meet at 8pm on the second Tuesday of the month at the Silver Street Baptist Church, Taunton. Join us in December to send off Write for Rights Cards and eat mince pies!