Next meeting: Thursday 12th January 2016

Join us in our usual place, Woodlands Methodist Church, at 7:30 PM for our monthly meeting. The main business will be planning our year ahead.

Request for Input: Aleppo – What Can People in Glasgow Do?

Tara Fitzpatrick, a masters student journalist at Glasgow Caledonian University got in touch to request input for an article she is writing on Aleppo:

“I am interested in writing a feature article regarding the situation in Aleppo and specifically about what people in Glasgow can do to help or aid the situation. I would appreciate your input to this article with any advice, comments and suggestions you can offer. The article will appear on my blog but I may also pitch it to a publication.

I want to write specifically about action which people in Glasgow can take as I am aware that the main response from people who see reports from Aleppo is to turn off the TV or close the newspaper because it is awful but no one knows what they can do to help.

Whether that be contacting your MP or attending meetings or protests. If your group have advice on ways of helping with humanitarian aid or the best way to organise protest this would all be useful but I’m interested in anything that people may have to offer.

Hope to hear from you as soon as possible,

Many Thanks, Tara Fitzpatrick”

If you have any input for Tara, please share it with her via email (tara.f25@hotmail.co.uk), and do let us know as well either at the next meeting in January or by email as well!

November 2016 Minutes

The minutes are somewhat lengthy, so you may prefer to download them as a PDF, or read them as a separate post on our website. By convention, they have been ‘anonymised’; if you would like a non-anonymous version, please get in touch.

Glasgow West Group: Minutes of meeting, Thursday, 10 November 2016

Present: MDS, RH, DM, DC, JG, MR, CC, FL, JF, CC, RB.

Apologies: CA, JG2.

1. Welcome & group business

1.1 Welcome to new members, introductions & apologies (MDS).

1.2 Good news – Stop Torture campaign (MDS). On 4 October the European Parliament voted to close many of the loopholes in the EU laws prohibiting the trade in torture equipment (EU report on vote). This includes banning both the advertising and brokering of torture equipment – two of the three loopholes we targeted through our campaign. Closing these loopholes was something we prioritised as part of our Stop Torture campaign.

1.3 Treasurer’s report (JG). JG apologised for missing the October meeting. Recent outgoings:

  • £63 to cover our hire of the hall until the end of the year
  • £100 to Glasgow Daytime group to help with their postage costs
  • £400 to AIUK.

This leaves £770.60 in our account. We can send more to AIUK when we have paid our December postal expenses and considered AGM travel costs (Nottingham in April 2017).

2. Campaign updates & actions

2.1 Human Rights Act (MDS). The government has still not put forward their plans to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) but that doesn’t mean they have given up on this. Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, said in August, when asked about their plans to repeal the HRA and bring in a British Bill of Rights, that ‘We are committed to that. It is a manifesto pledge.’ This threat is still real, so we need to keep campaigning to ensure we keep the Act.

Please keep meeting your MPs and educating the public on the importance of the HRA – we have lots of resources to support you doing this. If you haven’t already, then sign the petition to Liz Truss.

2.2 Individuals at risk

Ali Aarrass (JF). To mark the 5th anniversary of Ali Aarrass’s conviction on 19 November, we wrote letters to the Moroccan authorities (see background). On 10 October Ali was transferred, for undisclosed reasons, to Tiflet II Prison, 60 km from Rabat, the capital of Morocco. His sister writes that he is suffering badly from isolation in prison. Please keep sending solidarity messages as well as books, newspapers, magazines and cartoons, in English, French or Spanish, on subjects such as nature and sport. Address: Ali AArrass, Numero d’ecrou 930, Prison locale de Tiflet II, Tiflet, Morocco.

Middle East (MDS). Amnesty has a petition calling on Theresa May to protect the children of Aleppo, who are being deliberately targeted right now. For many, especially those aged five and under, war is all they have ever known. Please download the children of Aleppo petition and get as much support as possible for this action.

Urgent Actions (MR). We wrote letters on the following cases:

(1) Sentences of Two Ukrainian Men Upheld After Unfair Trial (Russian Federation: UA 157/16)

(2) Venezuela: Arrested and prosecuted by military tribunal

(3) Ukraine: Detained rights defender’s family at risk: Emir-Usein Kuku, Meriem Kuku and Bekir Kuku

(4) Family Imprisoned For Selling Poppy Seeds (Russian Federation: UA 228/16)

We also signed a card to the family of Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov, who remains in prison in Uzbekistan. The country coordinator has asked the International Section for the latest information on Salidzhon, as it is a long time since we had any news. We look forward to an update.

2.3 Refugees campaign (MDS). The latest ‘I WELCOME’ Refugees campaign update includes details on a new Amnesty refugee report, information on the closure of the refugee camp in Calais and campaign materials.

3. Events

3.1 Write for Rights/Human Rights Day (MDS). As usual we will participate in the Write for Rights campaign at our December meeting. The Daytime group arranged to hold a public card-writing event at Hillhead library on 3rd December. We will hold a similar event at Partick library on 10 December to mark Human Rights Day. Volunteers for the stall are welcome. You can also download the Write for Rights campaign booklet to send cards from home.

3.2 Patrick Grady MP (MR). Patrick (MP for Glasgow North) had expressed an interest in the group so it was agreed that we should invite him to come to a meeting in the new year. He is the SNP spokesperson on international development and says he has a strong personal and professional interest in global justice and human rights issues. [The date has since been confirmed as our 9 February meeting, which will probably take the form of a group discussion, beginning at 8pm so that we can get our usual business out of the way first. At our January meeting we can discuss topics we want to cover with Patrick. We should also contact the Edinburgh office nearer the time to see if there’s any particular issue they want us to focus on or particular action they would like us to encourage Patrick to take.]

3.3 Scottish conference & skill share (MDS). Several group members were to attend the Scottish conference in Glasgow on 12 November (conference information is in the November minutes). MDS was driving to the Amnesty skill share in York on 26 November and was willing to take passengers.

3.4 Other group events (All). We intend to make the January meeting a planning meeting for the year. Among events to be considered: Patrick Grady’s visit; a letter-writing evening.

4. AOB

4.1 Secretary & group monthly mailing (MDS). We have a new secretary as RB kindly offered to take on this role. Thank you RB and thank you JF, who has stepped down after several years of much appreciated service.

4.2 AIUK updates (MDS)

2016 Amnesty gift catalogue. Amnesty groups get a 20% discount at the Amnesty shop. Just enter ‘AGP20’ into the discount code box when checking out to claim your discount.

Make a Will month (March 2017). Amnesty has started recruiting solicitors to provide a free will-writing service for supporters during March 2017. If you are a solicitor or know any solicitors that work in a firm with a will-writing team, please encourage them to sign up to the scheme.

4.3 Amnesty response to US Elections (MDS). Amnesty have published their response.

4.4 Good news: Linwood High School (MDS). MDS gave a talk to pupils at Linwood High School, the result of which is they intend to set up a school group. Good work, MDS.

Date of next meeting: Thursday, 8 December 2016.

November 2016 Minutes
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