Amnesty Malvern Hills group’s major event for 2010 is a presentation of this important new documentary film, followed by a discussion and public forum led by two former Guantánamo prisoners, Moazzam Begg and Omar Deghayes, and the film’s co-director, Andy Worthington. The date is Tuesday 19 October at 7.30pm, at The Forum, Malvern Theatres.
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Bournville AI group are holding a fund raising concert with The Cantemus Choir on Saturday 9th. October at 7.30pm at Bournville Friends Meeting House -this will include actions for Burmese Prisoners of Conscience and for Ronak Safarzadeh. Please buy a ticket [£5] or better still volunteer to sell a few /help on the day . For more details contact Martin on email@example.com
Following on from our successful presence at the Birmingham Pride parade I joined the Amnesty contingent at the Pride London parade on Saturday. Well if you thought the Birmingham Pride was fantastic then this was something else altogether. The number of floats, groups, placards, banners and people taking part was amazing. The Amnesty presence in London wasn’t as creative as the local parade so no fabulous outfits. However, there was around 25-30 committed activists plus unconnected people who joined us, crowds asking for our stickers, placards waving, leaflets being handed out and the fantastic float. The float had a huge inflated rainbow in yellow, green and pink (see above), placards all over, flags on the rear and a stereo playing around ten songs with love in the title. The people taking part had great enthusiasm and energy. They came from London, Brighton and Bournmouth and no doubt elsewhere too.
One interesting difference to the Birmingham Pride event is that because it was an LGBT network organised group those taking part were mainly from the LGBT community but not exclusively. For me the low point was a dignified counter-demo organised by a group of Christians. They held placards suggesting the marchers were lets say misguided but the fact they are able to have their freedom of speech is to be applauded and they were outnumbered by the gay Christians in the parade. In some ways this all reinforced that human rights are for all of us whatever our religion or sexual orientation.
I would like to thank Kim Manning-Cooper and the activists from the LGBT Network who organised the Amnesty presence in the parade for their hard work planning what was a fantastic and enjoyable time at Pride London. To find out more about Amnesty International UK’s work on LGBT rights see www.amnesty.org.uk/lgbt
For the report on our presence at Birmingham Pride see the Central Birmingham AI blog at http://amnestybrum.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/proud-about-pride-2010/
Whilst looking around the Amnesty International UK website I noticed that our government is forcibly removing people from the UK to Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. Iraqi national forcibly returned include individuals from Ninewa (Mosul), Kirkuk, Diyala, Salah al-Din and Baghdad, areas considered particularly dangerous and, therefore, “unsafe” by UNHCR (UN High Commission for Refugees). If they are unsafe then why return them now? Why not wait till they are more stable and safe to return to?
If you agree with the UNHCR’s assessment (see http://bit.ly/9e7yji) then you can send an email to Damian Green, Immigration Minister at http://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions_details.asp?ActionID=702
On Saturday (10th July) the Central Birmingham Amnesty International group will be at Moseley Festival. Whilst there they will be fundraising through selling books and refreshments including iced tea and cakes. If you can volunteer your time on the stall, bake cakes or have books they can sell please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A couple of photos from my trip to London to join the Amnesty contingent at Pride London. Report to follow.
Great news! A group of boys from King Edward VI Grammar School, Stratford upon Avon has formed an Amnesty group and is staging an action in support of the Burma Campaign in the Bancroft Gardens, Stratford upon Avon between 3.30 p.m. and 6.0 p.m. on Friday July 9th.They are inviting Amnesty members and the public to make origami boats, sign them with a personalised message, and float them down the River Avon.
They are particularly keen to show their support of students Khun Bedu, Khun Kawrio and Khun Dee De who were arrested for peaceful protest. As leading members of a youth group they had organised local dissidents to release balloons, launch paper boats and spray-paint walls with their peaceful political messages. For these simple acts of defiance they were sentenced to between 35 and 37 years in prison.
It would be wonderful if as many members as possible could support this action. For more information about the Burma Campaign and this event go to: www.amnesty.org.uk/stratfordonavon