Many thanks to FL for the minutes. As ever, you can read them in PDF form if you prefer.

Thursday 8th March 2018 — International Women’s Day

Apologies: JG, JGi

Attendees: FL, AL, RH, A, RB, MR, CC, KW, CA, JC, SD, MDC, DP, AH, DM

Guest speakers: Roza Salih and Pauline Kelly

Roza Salih is one of the Glasgow Girls. Click here for a short article about the Glasgow Girls.

She gave a really passionate talk covering following topics:

  • The story of the Glasgow Girls — how it all started, the actions
    they took and their achievements

  • Other campaigns Roza has been involved with including campaigning
    for the right to education for asylum seekers in the UK. In
    particular, the barriers to going to university. Her campaigning led
    to the University of Strathclyde becoming the first Scottish
    university to offer scholarships for asylum seekers

  • Kurdistan — Roza originally came from the Iraqi part of Kurdistan.
    She explained to the group about the current situation in Kurdistan,
    including the human rights abuses against the Kurdish people. Roza’s
    activities focus on building solidarity between Scottish trade
    unions and the Kurdish people. ‘Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan’
    has a Facebook page and website where you can go for
    more information about their activities, including their initiative
    to build a ‘Scottish school’ in Kubane.

  • Roza recommended ‘Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and
    Women\’s Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan’ as interesting reading for
    people who are interested in this area.

  • Roza’s priorities for continued campaigning on the asylum system in
    the UK include — devolution of migration matters to Scotland,
    personalizing and humanizing the system and raising public awareness
    about the asylum process here.

  • Roza is currently working for Chris Stevens MP doing casework. She
    also continues to talk to young people, especially girls, about the
    Glasgow Girls, inspiring them to campaign on the issues which are
    important to them.

  • In the Q&A, we discussed what it was like being involved with the
    Glasgow Girls Musical, what the other Glasgow Girls are up to now,
    and the reasons why the Glasgow Girls were so successful.

Pauline Kelly is the Media, Campaigns and Human Rights Education Officer
at the Amnesty Scotland office. Pauline gave us a short update on the
following upcoming activities and events of Amnesty Scotland:

  • The Family Reunion Bill — it’s not too late to get in touch with your MP, particularly if they
    are not an SNP MP (the SNP fully support the bill and
    have committed their attendance). It is very important that at least
    100 MPs turn up on the 16th March to support the bill.

  • 28th April — Scotland Welcomes Refugees! More details to follow.

  • Mid-June — Refugee Festival, potential collaboration with the
    Scottish Refugee Council. More details to follow.

  • Scottish Amnesty e-newsletter — should be ready in the next few
    weeks! Send Pauline or Malcolm any content. The Scottish office also
    welcomes feedback on the layout/ content.

  • Wee Write — Amnesty at the Aye Write! Festival talking to children about
    human rights through literature took place this week and was very
    well attended.

Treasurer’s report

£563.71 in the bank.

Secretary’s report

Update from FL.

Amnesty International Annual Report

‘The State of the World’s Human Rights 2017/18’ is now available to
download as a PDF at the website.

It covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of
the state of human rights in the world today. While the findings remain
shocking, it is the events such as those highlighted in the report that
galvanised people across the world to stand up in the face of adversity
and make their voices heard.

Chile: Solidarity with Rodrigo Mundaca

This World Water Day (22nd March), take action
in support of Rodrigo Mundaca and the Defence Movement of Earth,
Environmental Protection and the Access to Water (MODATIMA) in Petorca
Province, Chile and tell Rodrigo and other members of MODATIMA that you
stand in solidarity with them in their fight to defend their community’s
access to water.

Selfie frames

Following winning the Marsh Award in 2017, Bournemouth, Poole & Christchurch Group have produced a range of A1 size selfie frames such as ‘Love is a Human Right’, and ‘We Welcome Refugees’.

The group have used them at their local Pride and other events. The group has offered
to create frames (using existing designs) for other groups.a

We decided as a group to order a couple of frames for our refugee
campaigning and Pride.

Updated guidance on data protection and fundraising for local groups

Download fundraising update here.

More info on data protection here.

Past events

Activist Political Effectiveness Training – Feedback

AL and FL

We attended day one of this free training, provided by Amnesty, on
17th February. We both found it really informative and useful (even if
it was quite a lot of work for a Saturday!) The training covered:

  • Who is your MP and MSP(s) and what they do

  • What to campaign on for human rights

  • What you can achieve for human rights with your MP

  • How to write to your MP

  • How to have an effective meeting with your MP

The second training day in in April/ May. The training is currently in
the pilot stages. When it is rolled out more widely, we will let the
group know. In the meantime, if you would like a copy of the notes, ask
FL.

Another News Story, CCA

CC

This documentary talked about the media coverage of the refugee crisis
and was shown as part of the Glasgow Film Festival. We had a stall at
the screening. Although not many people stopped at the stall, most took
away a bag which included action cards and information on AIUK’s I
Welcome campaign.

Letter Writing

CC

Thanks to AL for hosting another enjoyable letter writing evening at his
at the end of February.

Upcoming Events/ Speakers

Aye Write Festival

https://www.ayewrite.com/Pages/default.aspx Glasgow’s annual book
festival running from the 15th – 25th March

We are hoping to have a stall. If a stall is not possible, we will try
to organize a social instead. TBC.

Prisoners of Conscience

Ali Aarrass

J brought round a card for the group to sign as it was Ali Aarrass’
birthday on the 4th March. If you would like to send a message to Ali,
the address is:

Ali Aarrass

Numero D\’Ecrou 930

Prison Locale de Tifelt

Tifelt

Morocco

Ali Aarrass Junior Action

Please see this PDF for a junior action aimed at children aged 7-11.

We would be grateful if you could circulate this to junior scools, clubs, etc!

New POC — Volunteer needed to be contact person

In the last meeting, we voted to request a new POC to campaign for as
well as Ali. We are looking for a volunteer to be the contact person for
the group. This involves giving your contact details to the Amnesty
office. They then send you any updates and campaign ideas for you to
relay to the group.

Actions

Azza Soliman

FL

The group signed action cards for Egyptian women’s rights defender:
https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/speak-out-for-egypt-womens-rights-defender-azza-soliman/

Norway: stop Taibeh’s deportation

Message from friends of JG:

You will remember that we mentioned to you last November that we joined
a demonstration against the Norwegian government’s eagerness to return
Afghan refugees to Kabul, which for some unfathomable reason the
government thinks is safe. The demonstration was fronted by 18-year old
Taibeh Abbasi, a student at the Trondheim Cathedral School (the same
sixth-form college that Kristina attended). Now the Norwegian high court
has found that the government is not acting illegally in returning
Afghan refugees to Afghanistan, and the Norwegian Parliament has
rejected a motion that young Afghan refugees with temporary refugee
status should be allowed to stay on in Norway after they reach the age
of 18. Well, it may not be illegal to throw them out, but it is morally
despicable in my view.

*Last Wednesday the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board
(Utlendingsnemnda) has ordered that the Abbasi family must leave Norway
by 11 March — in less than three weeks’ time. The family consists of
the mother, her 20-year old son Yasin, her daughter Taibeh and her
younger son Ehsan, aged 15. The family is well integrated after six
years in Norway. Taibeh and her brothers speak good Norwegian. Yasin has
been working in a restaurant here in Trondheim and paying taxes, but the
Immigration Appeals Board have rescinded his work permit and last week
he was forced to give up his job. For Taibeh it will mean having to
leave in the middle of the school year without being able to take her
final school exams. An Ehsan is at school and only a year older than
Aurora. *

Taibeh and her younger brother have never been in Afghanistan. They
were born in a refugee camp in Iran before coming to Norway. The
Immigration Appeals Board admits that the children have a strong
attachment to Norway, which is normally a strong case for children being
allowed to stay, but then it goes on to say that because they have
adapted well to Norway they will have no problems adapting to life in
Afghanistan!. The Immigration Board claims that they have their father
in Afghanistan, yet the family say they have no knowledge of his
whereabouts. The Board also says that because Yasin is of age he can
also function as a male supporter and protector for his mother and two
younger siblings. The Board concludes that although there are strong
humanitarian grounds for granting the family permanent residency in
Norway, they have decided not to because of “immigration regulation
considerations”.

Amnesty International has mounted an international campaign against
Norway in this matter. During the last week in January, 18,000 people
signed it, including 3500 from abroad, and sent an appeal to the
Immigration Appeals Board to rescind its decision. Here are the links to
this action as well as other information from Amnesty:

https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/save-taibeh-from-deportation/

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/norway-devastating-blow-afghans-parliament-rejects-asylum-proposal

https://www.amnesty.org/en/i-welcome-community-2/stories-of-welcome/activists-in-kenya-tell-norway/

Other urgent actions

Thanks to MR for supplying the urgent actions.

Detainee missing in Venezuela

Indigenous peoples advocate arrested in India for ‘sedition’

Withheld evidence at issue as execution nears in USA

20 relatives of Uighur journalist detained in China

Amnesty AGM Resolutions

CC

7-8th April, Swansea University.

As a group, we discussed and voted on the resolutions for the AGM. Those
attending will then vote on behalf of the group in Swansea.

Please see the PDF version of the minutes for the full info on how the group votes were used. Please note this only applied to the group vote, not individual votes.

Remember that if you are a member of Amnesty you also have an individual
vote. Click here for information.

Next meeting — Thursday 12th April**

Guest speaker – Ulrika Schmidt. She is the Amnesty Co-ordinator for
Europe. She works on the human rights issued faced by Roma communities.
We are also hoping that Ulrika will be joined by a representative of
Friends of Romana Lav — an organisation for the Roma community in
Glasgow. TBC.

March 2018 Minutes
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