Change of speaker:
We regret to tell you that we have had to cancel the planned talk on The Life and Times of a UN Weapons Inspector as the speaker, Brian Johnson-Thomas, is stranded abroad due to the air traffic disruption caused by the volcanic eruption, and is unlikely to be able to return home in time. We hope it may be possible to reschedule this talk for a later date.
However, we are more than pleased to have instead a talk by Dr Trevor Trueman on The Challenge to Human Rights in Ethiopia. Trevor is an expert on this subject, has a specialist knowledge of the Oromo people of Ethiopia, and has acted as an expert witness in many UK immigration tribunals involving Ethiopian refugees.
As before, the talk will start at 8pm, immediately following the AGM of Amnesty International Malvern Hills Group at 7.30pm, on Thursday 29 April at Malvern Baptist Church Hall, Abbey Road, Malvern WR14 3HG
Been to a workshop about getting human rights on the politcal agenda in the run-up to the General Election. It is important with an average of 350-400 Amnesty members in each constituency that we use them to our advantage. Amnesty International UK is encouraging us all to use them as a chance to influence, gather intelligence and develop relationships with the candidates standing.
We had an interesting session sharing our tips and ideas on how to do this. Being polite and persistent in your communication was highlighted as being important. Finding out their individual interests and playing to them was mentioned. Also discussed was making sure to thank them when they support you, sending handwritten letters and encouraging other constituents to contact them on human rights issues too. Social media can be useful too.
If you want to take part in putting human rights on the politcal agenda please visit www.amnesty.org.uk/election and of course leave any comments below.
PS I’ve used the hashtag above so other delegates can see this post on Twitter.
I support Amnesty because they stand up for human rights not political parties. I enjoy being part of Amnesty International because they stand up for human rights without picking political favourites. They advocate for human rights and challenge all parties to support them. With a General Election coming up in this country I believe it is important to take advantage of this strength to take our message to all candidates standing. Human rights does resonate across the political spectrum demonstrated by a lobby for an arms trade treaty I attended a few years ago where all three of the main party leaders in the UK came out in support. If you want to find out how to lobby your election candidates do see www.amnesty.org.uk/election
On Wednesday 24th February 2010, Brian Fargher passed away. Brian was both a personal friend and chair of the Bournville Amnesty International Group. Brian had been involved with Amnesty for over 5 years and was a dedicated human rights activist. For me the most memorable action we were involved in was when he coordinated a public action to protest against human rights violations in China in June 2008. The event led to 450 red carnations with messages being sent to the Chinese Embassy. Pictures of that day can still be found at http://chinaactionday.blogspot.com/ and i’ve included one above. He was a great believer in local groups working together and his legacy goes on in the close relationships that Central Birmingham and Bournville groups have maintained to this very day. In addition he regularly lobbied Edgbaston Labour MP, Gisela Stuart on human rights issues. Brian as well as being occassionally stubborn could be incredibly warm and funny too. Brian, I thank you for the great memories and believe your life made a positive difference. I hope others who read this blog will leave their own comments and tributes. His funeral will be this Thursday 2.30pm at Sutton Coldfield Crematorium and all are welcome to attend. If you are unable to attend and wish to make a contribution to his chosen charities please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
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?
Last week Amnesty hosted a panel discussion in London about whether developments in technology was good for human rights. The event was tweeted under the hashtag #aitech with participation from those in the hall and others from around the world. A few themes seemed to emerge, including that technology was a tool and whether it was good or bad depended on the person using it – i.e. that it could be used to allow better access to information but also to repress and control. There was a debate about whether it was a right and the digitial divide between rich and poor was highlighted which brought the question of whether the internet could be seen as a right. In terms of activism the phrase ‘slacktivism’ came up with an example given of people putting ribbons on their avatars but taking no other meaningful action. The evening ended with action being take for bloggers in Azerbaijian which i’ve highlighted here previously. For a lengthier analysis of the debate see http://blogs.amnesty.org.uk/blogs_entry.asp?eid=6085
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