Tag Archives: Amnesty International UK

Christmas Concert for Human Rights

Christmas Concert for Human Rights: Sat 17 Dec at St Phillips Cathedral in Birmingham with AIUK Director Kate Allen

Report on Amnesty @ Pride London


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/

LGBT Rights in the Spotlight

Last night I attended the Central Birmingham Amnesty International group meeting. The guest speaker at the meeting was Kim Manning-Cooper who is Amnesty International UK’s Campaign Manager for both LGBT Rights and the Death Penalty.

The three main countries that AIUK are taking action on currently are Lithuania, Malawi and Turkey. Kim explained why these three countries are important. Lithuania has been important because it has introduced section 28 style legislation relating to the promotion of homosexuality. It has also recently seen Baltic Pride which took place last weekend after overcoming a legal challenge to the march. Amnesty activists from around the world took part in order to show solidarity and a photo is shown above. Activists from the UK including Kim and AIUK Director, Kate Allen, took part.

Malawi is important because two men have been arrested for holding a traditional engagement ceremony. If convicted they face up to fourteen years imprisonment with hard labour. This made me realise how lucky we are to live in such a tolerant and open society in the UK. You can write a letter on this case at http://amnesty.org.uk/actions_details.asp?ActionID=682 

Finally we had another piece of good news from Turkey where a judge had ruled that the LGBT organisation Black Pink Triange good stay open. The judge said it was because LGBT people also have the right of association so ruled against the application to close it.

For more information on Amnesty’s work on LGBT rights see www.amnesty.org.uk/lgbt

Central Birmingham Amnesty International are currently preparing to take part in Birmingham Pride Parade and collect letters for the Malawi case in the LGBT trust community tent on Saturday 29th May. To find out more contact them at amnestybrum@gmail.com or visit their blog at www.amnestybrum.wordpress.com – everyone welcome.

National Conference and AGM

This weekend i’m at th Amnesty International UK Conference and AGM. In order to give you an idea of what goes on here and update you on what Amnesty is up to I will be blogging on here and tweeting from www.twitter.com/wmai

Today i’ve been at the Regional Forum which is where the regional reps discuss what is going on in the local groups in their regions and feed back on the developments and policies of the AI UK section. We’ve been discussing the local groups strategy, how training should be developed and looking at resolutions for the conference. What is fantastic are the amazing work that Amnesty groups do and the amazing initiatives that go on. It will be great to hear directly from activists what they’ve been up to and meet the many friends I’ve made at past events.

If you are at the conference and reading this post do leave a comment.

Amnesty International UK Board Elections

For those of you who are Amnesty International members I’d like to remind you that ballot papers have been sent out for the Board elections. Do remember to vote as one of the strengths of our organisation is our democracy.

I Support Amnesty International Because…

I support Amnesty International because they focus on human rights violations across the globe. They don’t select a few countries and ignore all others. They don’t just highlight the fashionable country or the best known examples of human rights abuses. If you visit the international website (www.amnesty.org) you can find information on human rights violations on every country round the world. If you go the UK website there are 65 actions from a wide range of countries across the world (see www.amnesty.org.uk). I believe like Amnesty does that no nation has a monopoly on human rights and each and every one can do better. What do you think?

Reminder: Booking Deadline soon for National Conference in Warwick

This year’s annual Amnesty International UK Conference and AGM will be on the 9th to 11th April at the University of Warwick with the booking deadline being 12th March. From past experience I have found it inspiring and informative with lots of opportunities to meet other activists from across the country. With it being held locally I would like to encourage as many activists to go as possible and would highlight the concessionary places available for local an student group members. Highlights this year include speakers from Brazil, South Africa & India as well as keynote speaker John Kampfner, Chief Executive, Index on Censorship. For me the best speeches are from those people who have been supported by Amnesty and they demonstrate to me the importance and effectiveness of our work. To find out more go to www.amnesty.org.uk/agm

General Election 2010

The next General Election can take place no later than 3 June 2010, and conventional wisdom would suggest that the most likely date will be 6 May as there are already local elections on this day.

Why is it important?

The general election provides a unique opportunity for making contact with your local political candidates and raising their awareness of human rights issues. It is important that they are aware that they have constituents who care about human rights and believe that it should matter to their MP. 

What are Amnesty’s key concerns?

Amnesty believes respect for human rights should be at the centre of government policy and practice and urges all parties to make the following commitments in their manifesto:

  • The rights of women in the UK and overseas
  • Security and human rights 
  • The human rights framework in the UK
  • Human rights and poverty

To find out more and download our election pack go to www.amnesty.org.uk/election

National Conference 2010 Will Be At Warwick Uni

The National AIUK Conference for 2010 will be at Warwick University. I’d hope to see a lot of local faces with it being a local venue. Please book places ASAP particularly if you hope to get a subsidised place. Full details at www.amnesty.org.uk/agm

Christmas Concert for Human Rights

Christmas Concert for Human Rights