Yesterday I had a wonderfully inspiring day at conference. I’ve met members of local groups from the region including Malvern Hills, Telford, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Bournville, Central Birmingham and Wythall. The day started with Way Min from Burma lighting the Amnesty candle and a round-up of the past year from Tom Hedley, Chair of AIUK and Kate Allen, the AIUK Director. Kate Allen said ‘The moral courage of Amnesty’s activists here and elsewhere keep the candle burning for human rights’ and the determination, enthusiasm and passion of our members at the AGM certainly backs this up.
The day moved on with sessions including working parties on the various resolutions and discussion and voting on some. Andy from Bournville was impassioned in support of his motion on LGBT Rights saying we shouldn’t shy away from holding the Catholic Church to account on their record because they are powerful and we might upset them. I also attended a session on Amnesty at 50 with the anniversary being next May (2011).
The key note speaker was John Kampfner, Chief Executive of the organisation, Index on Censorship who discussed how in many countries people appear to accept the loss of freedoms in exchange for prosperity and security. He questioned how effective this was and why people succumb to authoritarianism. To find out more on Index on Censorship see http://www.indexoncensorship.org/
The action for the day ended with an action on Shell where through our passionate calls for Shell to Put out the Flares both in English and Ebo (I assume the native tongue in the Niger Delta region) we put out the flares in Warwick. I would anticipate photos and video of this action on the AIUK website in the coming days. We then relaxed and socialised. Looking forward to what today has to offer.