Annual Report 2016

Annual Report 2016

(written by group chair Huw Kyffin)

Canterbury Amnesty Group Chair’s Report for 2016

At the start of the New Year this report reflects on the activities of the last year.

Meetings  We held meeting every month except August.  The December meeting was an informal opportunity to meet friends, to watch short films about Amnesty’s work and to sign cards as part of Amnesty’s annual Write for Rights campaign. Average attendance at the other 10 meetings was 11 which is down from 15 for 2015.  In order to help us widen the range of activities we have bought a projector which enabled us to show the films in December.

Urgent Actions  Each month we send letters to appropriate officials in support of individuals suffering human rights abuses.  This year we sent letters to Vietnam, Congo, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Iran.  Thanks to Jackie Edwards’s skills and contacts we have been able send letters in some local languages.

Country support    After many years supporting Human Rights in Burma we decided this year to change our focus to the Philippines where the new president Duarte’s regime is attacking human rights.  We have been helped by Sheila Jones who has been able to communicate with activists in Tagalog, the main language there.  In October we had a talk on the Philippines from Rachel Alcock, Amnesty’s Team leader for South East Asia.

Human Rights Act  The Government has still not enacted its commitment to repeal the Human Rights Act.  We established the Canterbury and District Human Rights Network (CADHRN) and have had two street stalls where we collected over 300 signatures and sent them to the relevant minister, Oliver Heald.  The campaign continues.

Campaigns     

Women’s Rights   The women’s rights group has been active.  The highlight was the women’s rights conference in the Simon Langton Girls’ School attended by 200 pupils from 6 schools. We had a major input into this event.

Stop Torture  The Stop Torture campaign officially ended during this year, but we were very active within it and are continuing to monitor cases such as Ali Abbass in Algeria.

School visits     These have continued, led by Peter Owens.  There is a considerable demand for these and we have now established additional support for Peter through Huw Kyffin, Huw Jones and Chris Burke.

Fundraising   In March Stancie Smith organised a Quiz Night which raised £416.  Barbara Rogers has organised two Poetry and Plonk evenings which raised about £200, and has placed Amnesty tins in some local shops.    We ran a car park day in Whitstable which raised £130 for Amnesty. 

External Links  Huw Kyffin and Jean Barber are members of the Canterbury Link group which enables various groups to work more effectively together.  Four members attended the SE region Conference in February.  Abby Tuxworth-Grant attended the Annual Conferee and is hoping to be elected soon to the Amnesty executive.  We had a stall at the Refugee Tales event at the University of Kent in July.  We have had letters published in the local Gazette on the Hope not Hate campaign , Human Rights in Azerbaijan and in support of refugees.  The play that we prepared in 2014 on Conscientious Objectors in WW1 has been adapted by friends in Oxford and was presented successfully there.

Communications   Clara Citro is now responsible for our website and Twitter account.  Amelia-Rose Hamilton manages the Canterbury Amnesty Facebook account.

2016 has been the most depressing year politically that I can remember – with Brexit and Trump’s election; and the appalling murder of Jo Cox.  No doubt Amnesty will be even more active during 2017 as the consequences of Brexit and Trump make themselves apparent. 

There will be no shortage of issues for us to get involved in.

With best wishes ,   Huw Kyffin,     Chair

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