Is Baghdad a Safe Place to Return To?

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

Amnesty International at Moseley Festival

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 amnestybrum@gmail.com

Amnesty International @ Pride London

 

A couple of photos from my trip to London to join the Amnesty contingent at Pride London. Report to follow.

Burma Campaign Action July 9th in Stratford Upon Avon

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

DR Congo 50

Colours of the City (a local organisation who promote diversity in Birmingham) have organised an event to mark the 50th Anniversary of Congolese independence. Called DR Congo 50 – Past, Present, Future, the event will be a free debate on the country, held at The Drum in Aston, on Sat 3rd July, 6pm. The independence debate will focus onthe experiences of Congolese people after 50 years of being independent with a view of bringing out ways of empowering the Congolese community in the UK to engage with rebuilding their life in both the UK and the Congo.There will be 5 Speakers who are a mixture of professionals, politicians, teachers or “professors” and academics. Participants in the audience will be up to 30 people who will have opportunities to ask questions. The event is free and open to all. However, there are limited places, so you will need to register online at http://coloursofthecity.org/#/events/4541188561

If you can make it and are able to take an action please email amnestybrum@amnesty.org.uk

Thanks to Pete at Central Birmingham AI group for this information.

Troy Davis Hearing – Follow the Amnesty blog

Troy Davis has spent nearly 19 years on death row in the US for a crime he maintains he did not commit. In that time, seven of the nine key witnesses on whose evidence he was convicted have recanted or changed their testimony. Troy finally has the chance to present this new evidence – which could prove his innocence – to a court in Savannah. Stand in solidarity with Troy during his hearing, and send a message to Georgia that the world is watching and justice must be served.

Find out more by following the AIUK Death Penalty campaign blog at http://blogs.amnesty.org.uk/blogs.asp?bid=392 or following the Amnesty International UK Twitter account at http://twitter.com/amnestyuk

Human Rights Matter #1 – They Apply To All

Human Rights matter because they establish minimum standards of humanity that all of us are entitled to. The fact they apply to all of us means human rights are a driving force for equality between people. Each and everyone of us regardless of our position in the world can claim our entitlement. Whether someone in the rich world or a slum dweller they give each of us a claim on the world. What we as Amnesty activists can offer is solidarity to those least able to make their claim which gives them a better chance and helps protect the entitlements of others.

Candles in the Wind: poems for freedom from Shakespeare onwards

An evening of poetry supporting the work of Amnesty International

Devised by Roger Pringle. Performers include Greg Hicks, Jane Lapotaire, Mariah Gale and Richard Griffiths. (Actors’ appearances subject to availability)

Sunday July 25th 7.30 p.m.

at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon

Tickets £15 from Stratford-on-Avon Poetry Festival Box Office, (01789) 292176 www.shakespeare.org.uk

See CandlesA4Flyer for more information.

Art for Amnesty

Malvern Hills AI group’s annual Art for Amnesty event will be held from 21-30 August. Watch out for more information closer to the time. Find out more about the group at their website at http://www.wmai.org.uk/malvern/

Bianca Jagger on Vedanta in Orissa

In last weekend’s Observer magazine there was an article by Bianca Jagger on the Kondh community in Orissa, India whose very livelihood has been threatened by the arrival in 2008 of an aluminum refinery. The Vedanta company refinery now plan to build a new one and expand the existing one. The problem? The noise, the heat, the pollution of air and water, and the loss of the local tribe’s sacred land. And that international guidelines, processes and frameworks have been violated. And the population kept in the dark about the plans and their rights. This is why Amnesty exists to stand up for those who are kept in the dark and left with no voice. It is also why Amnesty’s work on economic rights matter because they are integrally connected to their democratic rights. To read the article visit http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/13/mining-aluminium-tribes-india-jagger

To find out more on the Amnesty website and to take action go to http://www.amnesty.org.uk/vedanta