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April 2022 Updates

Many thanks to MDS for these updates. If you prefer to read them as a PDF, you can do so here.

Welcome & Introductions

New Amnesty Activism Representative for Scotland

The group welcomed Amnesty's new Activism Representative for Scotland, Danielle McCall.

Danielle will be taking on this volunteering role, along aside existing Activism Representative, Malcolm Dingwall-Smith, to support Amnesty's local groups across Scotland.

Good news - Prisoners Of Conscience In Honduras Released

All the eight Guapinol defenders were unconditionally released in February 2022.

On 24 February 2022, the sentencing court of Trujillo ordered the release of the six Guapinol defenders (José Daniel Márquez, Kelvin Alejandro Romero, José Abelino Cedillo, Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, Ewer Alexander Cedillo and Orbin Nahún Hernández) that remained in prison following a favourable resolution of the Supreme Court of Justice on 10 February 2022.

Arnol Javier Alemán and Jeremías Martínez Díaz had been acquitted and released immediately on 9 February 2022.

Campaign updates

2022 Overview

Topics AIUK will be campaigning on this year include:

  • end Israeli apartheid
  • Ukraine crisis response
  • justice for Syria
  • save the Human Rights Act
  • freedom of expression – right to protest
  • refugee & migrant rights
  • homelessness

More details can be found at: http://email.amnestyuk.org.uk/files/amf_amnesty/project_58/2022_Planned_Campaigns.pdf

Nationality & Borders Bill

Thank you to everyone who has taken a stand against the most harmful aspects of this Bill. This piece of legislative vandalism, which will wreck the UK's asylum system, undermine international law and criminalise people for attempting to reach a place of safety, continues to progress through parliament.

On 22 March, MPs voted to remove all of the amendments added to the Bill by the Peers in the House of Lords - see here for a full list of these amendment and our parliamentary briefing.

One positive to come out of House of Commons debate, was a concession by the government to British nationality rights to Chagos Islanders. This is an issue AIUK has lobbied parliamentarians on throughout the Bill's passage.

The Bill will return to the House of Lords in April.  

Actions

Urgent Actions

US: WOMAN'S EXECUTION WOULD VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL LAW

Melissa Lucio, a 52-year-old Mexican American woman, is scheduled to be executed in Texas on 27 April 2022.

IOPT:PALESTINIAN LAWYER IN ARBITRARY DETENTION

French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hammouri has been issued a four-month administrative detention order.

SINGAPORE: EXECUTIONS RESUME – MORE MAY FOLLOW

Hangings have resumed in Singapore for drug related offences, after Abdul Kahar bin Othman was executed on 30 March. The previous day, the appeal for Malaysian national Nagaenthran Dharmalingam was rejected, and he is believed to be at risk of having his execution reset imminently.

Ukraine response – Monthly mailing

Please take and share the action

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/UkraineCrisis

Parliamentary briefing and MP letter: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/resources/invasion-ukraine-resources

Link to Crisis Lab monitoring human rights violations: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/03/a-guide-to-how-amnesty-verifies-military-attacks-in-ukraine/

Belarussian – Monthly mailing

Marfa Rabkova, Belarussian human rights defender. Demand she is freed.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/petition/belarus-marfa-rabkova-viasna/

British nationals in Iran – Monthly mailing

While Nazanin and Anoosheh have been reunited with their families, Amnesty continue to campaign for Morad Tahbaz and Mehran Raoof, who are still arbitrarily detained in Iran.

You can contact your local MP to:

  1. ask them to raise Morad's and Mehran's cases with the Foreign Secretary, asking for them to not be forgotten and calling for their release
  2. ask them to raise their cases publicly and mention Morad and Mehran in Parliament

IOPT – Monthly mailing

In a significant development, the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in the OPT published a landmark report concluding that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid. Due to his mandate, he was only able to look at the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories but his findings are similar to Amnesty's.

Here is Amnesty's response.

For International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Amnesty did a film shoot outside the Israeli Embassy where they renamed their street Apartheid Avenue and Palestinian dancers did a Dabke outside.

Here's Amnesty's film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2eydDZDjF8

Here is a new guest blog post from an activist in Gaza.

There is a new activist toolkit with ways to get involved.

Report back from Iftar and discussions of next steps

  • Group members attended a successful human rights iftar hosted in partnership by Amnesty, the Muslim Council of Scotland and AMINA.

  • The next step for the group could be to host a meeting focussed on some of the human rights issues highlighted at the iftar including the Uyghurs, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and Kashmir. This would allow those at the iftar who were interested in getting more involved to join the Glasgow West Amnesty group.

  • Post meeting note: While there was discussion of making this the focus of the May meeting, it will now be held at a later date.

Events

  • 19 March: UN Anti-Racism Day march, Glasgow

Group members joined this march.

  • 16 April: No to Offshore Detention, Glasgow

Group members planned to join this demo.

  • 24 May: AIUK Equality, Inclusion & Diversity training, Online

This will be an online session open to Amnesty activists. More details to follow.

  • 4 June: Tiananmen Square vigil, Edinburgh

There are plans for Amnesty to hold a vigil outside the Chinese consulate on 4th June to mare the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Other updates & AOB

  • State of the World report

The Amnesty International State of the World Review 2021/22 is available at https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/pol10/4870/2022/en/

  • Women's Rights Education Resource

Access and share Amnesty's new Women's Rights resources with educators, including sessions on gender stereotyping for Primary and Secondary students, online gender-based violence and women and unpaid care work.

Find the pack here.

  • Human Rights online courses

As part of Amnesty's ongoing work to improve access to all the training and education Amnesty UK produces, they have created a new space on the website to find it all in one place. They are still fleshing it out and will of course be adding more training and education as it is developed.

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/education/activist-education

Next Meeting: Thursday 12th May 2022

Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/1HWPcWGNi

Categories
minutes

March 2022 Updates

Thanks to FL for these updates. If you prefer, you can read them as a PDF!

March Updates

Attendees at monthly meeting (10th March):

FL, CC, GC

Anti-Racism March, Sat 19th March

We're taking part in the Stand Up to Racism march on Saturday 19th March. Meet us at 11am outside the Park Gardens entrance to Kelvingrove Park (bottom of the granite steps, G3 7YE). We should be easy to spot with Amnesty International banners/ placards. Come and join us!

Any questions please email Mal (malcolm.ds@gmail.com).

Facebook event for full details: https://www.facebook.com/events/274432127988168/?ref=newsfeed

Saudi Arabia Campaign Updates (CA)

Raif Badawi

You might remember taking action for Raif Badawi a Saudi Arabian poet and activist, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website that allowed people to voice their views.

He was sentenced in 2014, and after too many years of unfair imprisonment we are happy to report that Raif was released last Friday. The conditions of his release - and the possible 10-year travel ban - are unclear at this point.

Reprieve Petition

Petition from the organisation, Reprieve, calling on Boris Johnson to cancel his trip to Saudi Arabia and condemn the killings: Reprieve

Local Group Update from AIUK

Please follow the link to read the latest Local Groups Update - Local Group Update from Amnesty UK

Issues covered in this month's mailing:

  • Board elections 2022

  • AGM role vacancies

  • Rise Up, a free campaigning course for 16-24 year olds

  • New online portal where you can access all of Amnesty International
    courses, training and resources in one place

  • Update on the Nationality and Borders Bill

  • Learn more about Israel's Apartheid against Palestinians

  • Amnesty's position on vaccine mandates

  • Human Rights Act consultation

  • Local group fundraising update

Ukraine Refugee Crisis: Call on the UK Government to do more!

With the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Ukraine, we need to ensure that the UK government steps up to support refugees. We want to see the UK play its part in strengthening international efforts to protect civilians and in bringing to justice those suspected of crimes under international law.

According to the UN refugee agency, more than 2.8 million people have fled from Ukraine since Russia's criminal invasion on 24 February. Amnesty believes the UK's deeply inadequate response to the Ukraine refugee crisis is evidence of a "corrosively anti-refugee attitude" within the Home Office. The Government is currently taking its Nationality and Borders Bill through Parliament, which will fundamentally undermine the UK's asylum system and damage refugee rights globally.

Please contact your local MP as soon as possible to encourage them to raise these concerns with the Prime Minister. On the link below, you will find a template letter and a briefing to send to your MP. There is also a template press release for you to send to local media to raise awareness locally and help put pressure on your MP and the government.

Ukraine Refugee Crisis Link

Amnesty AGM and National Conference 2022

This year's AGM will be predominantly virtual, and held on the 25th June 2022. The in-person activities will be taking place at the Human Rights Action Centre in London.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions at the Human Rights Action Centre, we will be asking those who can, to join virtually as there will be a limited number of spaces available to join in person. To join us in person, please register your interest here: using this Google Form

Urgent Actions

Thank you to MR for sharing these urgent actions.

China: Imprisoned Bookseller At Risk Of Ill-Treatment

Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai was sentenced on 24 February 2020 to 10 years' imprisonment and deprivation of political rights for five years, on the charge of "illegally providing intelligence to foreign entities". Since then, he has been denied access to his family and, having obtained Swedish citizenship in 1996, to Swedish consular assistance. There are grave concerns over Gui Minhai's poor health, and that he is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. The Chinese government must release Gui Minhai immediately; pending his release, he must be granted access to his family, lawyers of his choice, consular support, and adequate medical care.

imprisoned Bookseller At Risk of Ill-Treatment

Iran: Tortured Kurdish Men At Risk Of Execution

Anwar Khezri, Ayoub Karimi, Davoud Abdollahi, Farhad Salimi, Ghassem Abesteh, Kamran Sheikheh and Khosrow Basharat, all from Iran's Kurdish Sunni minority, are at risk of execution at Raha'i Shahr prison, near Tehran. They were convicted of "corruption on earth" (efsad-e fel-arz) and sentenced to death in grossly unfair trials marred by claims of torture to extract "confessions".

Tortured Kurdish Men At Risk of Execution

Singapore: Halt Resumption Of Unlawful Executions

The authorities of Singapore are poised to resume hangings, after a two-year hiatus linked to pending appeals and the COVID-19 pandemic. In violation of international law and standards, several people who were sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for drug-related offenses are facing imminent execution, and more executions may follow. The Supreme Court has been petitioned to halt the executions and there are concerns on the use of the death penalty on those with mental and intellectual disabilities. The government of Singapore must halt all scheduled executions, commute these sentences and establish an official moratorium on all executions as a first step towards full abolition of the death penalty.

Halt Reumption of Unlwaful Executions in Singapore

You can download the full PDF or click Take Action at the top of the page for a link to a pre-prepared email/letter action.

Keep checking the Urgent Actions sites for actions you can take from your home - Urgent Actions at AIUK

Next meeting

Thursday 14th April, Woodlands Methodist Church, Woodlands Road, 7:30pm. Full details in our Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/737MR4jN2

Please bring your face masks and do a lateral flow test prior to attending if you can.

You can also contact Freya (freya_lyte@hotmail.co.uk) with any questions.