Newsletter 2014-10-12: Election Results, Upcoming Events and CFCI Update!

October 12, 2014 in cfci, information, main, newsletter by Rob Hallam

Another week has flown in! Congratulations to our three new committee members:

  • Fundraising Officer Joe Clerke
  • Ordinary Board Sarah Bacom
  • Ordinary Board Seb Hammani

And my deep regrets to those who stood but were not elected- please don’t be too disheartened, we definitely still very much want and appreciate your input over the coming months! The main AGM will take place in the second semester for those interested in standing then. I hope you will be just as keen!

Thanks to everyone who helped making the banners for the death penalty demo on Friday; and my apologies for the confusion over the crafting session- due to issues with room bookings we decided to use the banners we already had plus the two that were made on Tuesday. A big well done especially to those who braved the intermittent showers to get all the #notodeathpenalty photos on Friday!

If all the death penalty campaigning has piqued your interest and you have ideas or want to get involved give us an email at campaigns@guamnesty.org.uk.

Tuesday 14th October: Film Screening of In Prison My Whole Life

5PM, Boyd Orr Building Room 222

In Prison My Whole Life

Please note the venue! We’re over in the Boyd Orr Building for the meeting this Tuesday. We’ll be watching the film In Prison My Whole Life, which we saw the trailer for last week. If you missed it, you can see it here:

(link for those reading in email: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7K3pdnsWmM)

The film deals with the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in July 1982 of killing a police officer. The title comes from the day in December 1981 of Abu-Jamal’s arrest- the day Will Francome (creator of the documentary) was born. We’re lucky to have Will Francome joining us via teleconference after the screening too. It should be a very good watch! More information and join the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/721239527960240/.

Wednesday 15th October: Death Penalty Debate with Dialectics

6PM, Boyd Orr Building

Rounding off our look at the death penalty (for the time being) will be this debate conducted by the Dialectics society. Join us for a discussion of how the death penalty is used internationally in what promises to be a very informative look at some of the issues surrounding extrajudicial killings, war crimes and mob justice.

Get more info and join the event on Facebook!

Reminder: AIUK Student Conference

November 1-2 2014, London

Student conference

Another quick reminder about the student conference coming up soon. We’ve got a few folks confirmed as going, so do get in touch if you want to come along! It’s a two-day dive into what Amnesty International is all about: campaigns, actions… and meeting and socialising with other groups!

Although the registration fee costs £20, we can apply to the SRC for a reimbursement on that so keep those receipts! There are workshops, campaign actions, discussions, socialising and much more. Let’s not forget we have an award to pick up for last year’s Secret Policeman’s Ball! Please let me know if you are interested in coming and we can try to make travel plans for the group.

Places go quickly so don’t delay! More information and booking link are available on the student conference page; if you are travelling down please let me know and we can book something all together!

GU GRASS Info

GRASS header

Since there was interest in GRASS last week after Kit filled us in on some upcoming events (Thanks Kit!) I thought it would be worthwhile to give a few more details for those that might be interested in what’s happening and the great work that they do.

So first of all, from their about page:

At Glasgow University, we use our position as a university society to help asylum seekers and refugees in the best ways we can. As Glasgow is a distribution centre for refugees, a strong network of support for arriving refugees and asylum seekers in Glasgow is really important. GRASS began in 1999 and has been working to improve the lives of refugees ever since.

You can find them on Facebook and their website is pretty informative for things like past and current projects. Also on Facebook is the event page for their Pub Quiz which Kit also mentioned.

Sleep-Out: Friday 24th October 2014

The annual sleep-out returns! GU Amnesty has long been involved in these and they’re a really good way to raise both money and awareness. Basically the idea is to meet up with sleep gear (bags/mats/etc), hang out for a bit in the evening to chat and listen to the music and/or theatre sketch (latter TBC!). Unfortunately it looks like it won’t be possible to use the Wellington Church as a venue this year, which is a shame as it was almost ideal! Despite this it will be going ahead in a couple of weeks, so dig out the sleeping bag and get sponsored!

The SurveyMonkey poll for the charity to be fundraised for in the sleep-out is here.

Jamnesty Update

Domi and Milia have been working hard to get things sorted out for Jamnesty in November, which is already shaping up to be a fantastic night! We’ve a number of options for venues, and the line up of acts is looking good. If you want to get involved there’s still time, just email jamnesty@guamnesty.org.uk.

SPB Update

As mentioned last week the SPB organisation is truly getting underway. Billy is totally on board with the plans and also wants to make this year bigger and better than ever!

Duncan will be organising another meeting of the SPB subcommittee this week – likely to be Monday afternoon – for those coming on-board (such as those who signed up on Tuesday- thanks to you guys!), so keep an eye on Facebook for the details on that. If you want to be involved, either get in touch via FB or email spb@guamnesty.org.uk.

CFCI News!

CFCI banner

The Conflict-Free Campus Initiative has been a campaign GU Amnesty has been at the heart of for over two years. Briefly, it aims to change University purchasing policy to favour electronic items (PCs, laptops, tablets etc) which are produced in a ‘conflict free’ way. This means that, for example, the minerals such as gold, tin, tantalum and so forth are extracted and traded in a way that doesn’t result in millions of deaths. You can read more about the background of the CFCI, conflict minerals and what’s being asked asking for in our petition or the other information we have on it.

The CFCI is now an inter-society coalition, much like the fossil fuel divestment group was. And much like the fossil fuel divestment group had a very good result result in the uni senate recently so did the CFCI! The senate agreed to set up a working group (much like it did previously with the fossil fuels group) to examine the case for implementing the CFCI proposals. It’s a big step on the road, but there’s still a ways to go. On that note:

Wednesday 29th October: Conference

‘Conflict in the Congo: Responses from the International Community’

4-6PM, Senate Room, Main Building, University of Glasgow

With several interesting speakers, this conference co-hosted by CFCI Glasgow, GHRN and Global Security Network is a great opportunity to find out in a bit more detail what has been going on in the Congo and what the response has been.

The event will be free and open to everyone, including all students and staff at the University, members of the Glasgow Human Rights Network and the Global Security Network, and anyone outwith the University who may be interested. The hope is that this event will provide an education to those who have little or no understanding of the on-going conflict in the DRC, as well as giving people from campaigning/academic backgrounds with a focus on the DRC or human rights and conflicts the opportunity to engage with a range of speakers who can discuss various aspects of international interventions.

It looks really great and I know that Ruth has put a lot of work into organising the event, so I would strongly recommend gong if you’re free at 4 on Wednesday 29th! You can always check out the CFCI Facebook page for more info and updates.

Glasgow West Comedy Night

Wednesday 22nd October, 7:30 PM, The Stand Woodlands Road, £7

Our friends at the wonderful Glasgow West Amnesty group are putting on their annual comedy night, which is coming up on the 22nd of October. I’ve been to these before and it’s a great laugh!

More info is available on the event listing page, and you might want to check out Glasgow West’s page as well.

Closing

This week the newsletter comes to you from Sandridge Barton, near Stoke Gabriel in Devon. Reflecting those environs, I will leave you simply with a photo facing down to the River Dart. Enjoy.

View down to River Dart
(Click for bigger size)

Get in Touch

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback you can always get in touch either via the website or on Facebook or Twitter.

Newsletter 2014-09-20: Welcome to GU Amnesty!

September 21, 2014 in cfci, information, main, meetings, newsletter by Rob Hallam

Wow, what a week! A most warm welcome to folks new to the newsletter and the group, and thanks to everyone who came by the Freshers’ stall and those who took part in the CFCI petition- it was very heartening to hear from so many keen people! Thanks to all the people who helped with the stall too, you rock.

On the Freshers’ Fair stall

So as a busy Freshers’ Week 2014 draws to a close, it’s time for me to make good on the promises made at the stall and to give details of the first meeting of 2014-15 and some information on what’s coming up in the next few weeks. I’ll try and keep this first newsletter of term short!

Tuesday 23 September: First Meeting (and Social) – Who are GU Amnesty?

5PM, QMU Committee Room 1 (3rd floor)

Our first meeting of the year! Come along at 5PM to the Queen Margaret Union on University Gardens (just at the bend), then take the lift or the stairs (both straight ahead of you as you come in the door) up to the third floor, turn left and enter the first room on the right and you’ll find us there. We are fairly laid back, so if you cannot make it for 5 or have to leave early that’s quite alright.

Just a heads up: we expect this meeting to be quite busy. Given the number of signups we had in the Fresher’s Fair we tried to book an extra room in the QM, but they were full. Please bear with us and if it is packed we do apologise; we will try to get another room for next week if this is the case.

We’ll be doing a proper introduction to GU Amnesty – who the committee are, what we do, and what’s coming up in the next few weeks. Because we’ll be chatting about who we are and what we do at the meeting I won’t go into much detail in this newsletter, so on Tuesday you don’t get a repeat of what I’ve said. If you can’t make the meeting, the presentation I’ll be showing will be uploaded so you can peruse it at your leisure. Since there will probably be some questions at the meeting I’ll try and address those on here too. In the meantime though, you can find a comment I wrote about what a ‘typical meeting’ is on the website if you want to get a heads-up.

If you aren’t sure of how to find where we’re meeting or have any other questions, please either email us or ask on Facebook or Twitter.

QMU Map

Welcome to GU Amnesty – First Social @ Old Schoolhouse!

Tuesday 23rd September, 6:30/7 PM, Old Schoolhouse, Woodlands Road

Following on from the first meeting will be our first social of the year. We’ll walk down after the meeting, but you are welcome to join us straight there if you can’t make the meeting. If you don’t know it, the Old Schoolhouse is on Woodlands Road just at the roundabout, across from the St Andrews building.

Come along for a bit and say hi! One of things our members talk about is how good it is to hang out with Amnesty folks, and this is a great opportunity to do it. It’s also good to know the folks who will be be turning up to meetings, demonstrations and events.

The Old Schoolhouse also does food if you’re feeling peckish by then!

OS Map

Upcoming Events and Information

Election of Ordinary Board Members

Tuesday 7th October

I’ll talk a bit more about this at the meeting, but we will be electing ordinary board members in a few weeks time on 7th October. Have a think about if you want to stand for a position (there are two OB positions available), as you’ll be expected to say briefly why people should vote for you. Don’t stress though, everyone is friendly!

It’s a position with a flexible role, meaning you can get out of it what you want from it; and it’s good way to be more closely involved in the minutia of actually running the society. If you’re considering it but not sure and it all seems a bit nebulous don’t worry, there are a couple of weeks in which to make up your mind and well get a previous ordinary board to explain what’s involved.

Activist Mixer (Tomorrow/Sunday)!

Sunday 21st September, 5PM onwards, Curler’s Rest Byres Road

Short notice and reminder! There is an activist mixer on Sunday 21st September in Curler’s Rest on Byres Road (by the subway). Invitations have gone out to a number of activist groups on campus, so there will be a mix of different groups doing good work. It’s a great opportunity to find out about what other societies are doing, and to network; we as a group tend to work with a number of familiar faces so it’s useful to meet these good folks. Come along for a bit if you’re passing and say hi.

Next Week (Tuesday 30th September)

After the introductions this week we’ll be looking at campaigns on 30th. This will involve chatting about campaign suggestions and voting on what ones we want to prioritise. More details in next week’s newsletter!

For those of you who made it this far, reward yourself by watching a video of some goats balancing on a wobbling sheet of metal:


(link for those reading this in email form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58-atNakMWw)

Goats are awesome.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback you can always get in touch either via the website or on Facebook or Twitter.

BBC News – Gold market breaches ‘covered up’ (Newsnight Whistleblower Report)

February 26, 2014 in cfci, Human Rights News by Rob Hallam

A timely article given the latter part of today’s meeting on the front page of BBC News as part of a Newsnight report on conflict minerals failings in Dubai:

BBC News – Gold market breaches 'covered up'.

Dubai’s biggest gold refiner committed serious breaches of the rules designed to stop gold mined in conflict zones from entering the global supply chain, a whistleblower has revealed.

The article gives a good level of backgroun info as well as reporting on the Dubai situation. That someone had to resign and blow the whistle on the auditing practices goes to show quis custodiet ipsos custodes applies as much to the conflict mineral supply chain. There needs to be vigilance and pressure at all levels.

Ruth by Ruth

Meeting on Tuesday 29th October and our Pub Quiz Today (Sunday)!

October 26, 2013 in cfci, events, information, main, meetings, news, newsletter, spb by Ruth


Hi everyone,

Welcome to our new members! It’s lovely to still have people joining the society. If you missed the meeting, you can read Ali’s blog on what happened.

I hope you are all remembering our PUB QUIZ TODAY!! Looking forward to seeing you then! We will be starting at 7.30pm in Jim’s Bar, QMU and those of you who are bringing home-baking, thank you in advance, we will add them to the stall with our tote bags.

Conflict-Free Campus Initiative

If you didn’t make this meeting (2 weeks ago), you can read the blog to see what this is all about. Some people who were there said that they would ask certain lecturers if they would support the campaign – please do this is you haven’t already. I will also remind folk on Tuesday!

Next meeting – Tuesday 29th 5pm, QMU

We have been unsuccessful in finding another meeting room for Tuesday so will still be in Committee Room 1.

Unfortunately the Equality Network and Scottish Transgender Alliance do not have anyone who can come and talk to us on Tuesday, but there is a small chance of getting a speaker towards the end of term leaving us with the opportunity to show a recent documentary featuring Stephen Fry who has travelled to various countries where the gay community face persecution, violence and potentially the death penalty.

As this is officially our final LGBT rights meeting, we were hoping to finish with a quick letter writing action to the International Olympic Committee to send with our photos.

Debbie will be bringing along our previous Secret Policeman’s Ball posters so that we can think about the design for this year, and for those of you who want to enter the competition, this is an opportunity to get started!

November Campaign – Women’s Rights with a focus on India

For those of you who have just joined us, we voted this as our 2nd campaign of the year. At Tuesday’s meeting we will have a discussion about what particular topics to cover in our meetings in November and possible campaign actions we want to do.

Day of Silence

Wednesday 20th November – Day of Silence

‘The National Day of Silence is a day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.’

Although the date for this is in April and focuses on schools in the USA, we thought this was a brilliant solidarity action and even better when we can end our Day of Silence with our Jamnesty gig.  We will invite the LGBTQ+ Society to take part with us and anyone else who wants to join in is welcome to, so spread the word!

Love is a Human Right Jamnesty

Wednesday 20th November, The Halt 2 (Woodlands Road), 7.30pm

Well the banners are looking amazing! Thank you to everyone last week who helped make them J Ali is printing off all of our LGBT campaign photos as well so that we can stick these up all over the venue.

We are going to start selling tickets for this event because the Halt 2 need to know numbers in advance in order to organise staffing for the night. For this reason we decided to make tickets £3 in advance and £4 on the door- so remember to get yours on Sunday at the Pub Quiz, or at our next meeting.

See you later on!

Ruth

Ruth by Ruth

Glasgow University’s Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI)

October 20, 2013 in cfci, main by Ruth

At our meeting on Tuesday 15th October we looked at our conflict minerals campaign that we ran last year, and are continuing this year. ‘Conflict minerals’, namely Gold, Tin, Tantalum and Tungsten, form the direct the link between the technologies that we use every day, including mobile phones, laptops, and cameras, and one of the worst conflicts in the world right now. Our electronic goods need these minerals to function but at the moment they come with the cost of human lives.

The CFCI is a global student movement that takes a consumer-directed approach to demanding an end to this conflict. It focuses on the Democratic Republic of Congo where some of the most grave human rights abuses are taking place throughout the process of mineral extraction under the control of armed rebel groups. These armed groups operate by locating a mineral rich area, forcing the people off the land to build a mine and setting up boundaries to control access in and out, as well as fighting for control of pre-existing mines. Once control of a mine has been established, the local people can be forced to work in the mines for as little as $2 a day or nothing at all. These armed rebels often set such high taxes for anyone wanting to leave the mining area that it prevents people from escaping and effectively keeps them hostage.

This conflict has been ongoing for over two decades, during which time over 6 million people have been killed, hundreds of thousands of women have been raped, children have been recruited as child soldiers as well as being forced to work in the mines and local communities have been used as slave labour and terrorised by armed groups who are making an estimated $144 million each year in the trade of conflict minerals.

As part of Enough Project’s ‘Raise Hope for Congo’ campaign, the CFCI aims are to raise awareness of these atrocities on campus and demand that our universities amend their investment and procurement policies to prioritise companies that are taking steps towards a ‘trace-audit-certify’ system to ensure that the minerals used to make their electronic goods are not coming from conflict areas.

You can look through the presentation to see what we discussed and watch friends of the Congo’s documentary ‘Crisis in the Congo: Uncovering the Truth’ which we showed at the meeting.

Last year we got the SRC to pass a motion, made our own campaign video for a Conflict-Free Glasgow University and started a petition to David Newall and Anton Muscatelli, requesting a change in procurement and investment policy. We also contacted various MSPs to support the campaign, resulting in a Motion being launched in the Scottish Parliament by Patrick Harvie MSP who also came on campus to be interviewed about this movement.

At the end of the meeting, members wrote letters to David Newall to ask that he continues to work with us to pass a resolution in support of the CFCI at the University of Glasgow and help put pressure on companies to invest in sustainable and ethical sourcing of their minerals. We will also start working towards another demonstration on campus and documentary film screening to continue to raise awareness
of the situation in Congo and the power that we have as consumers to bring about change.

Week 4 Presentation: CFCI

October 15, 2013 in cfci, information, presentations by Rob Hallam

Ruth by Ruth

Petition for a Conflict-Free Glasgow

February 9, 2013 in actions, campaigns, cfci, main, petitions by Ruth


CFGlasgow BannerWatch our campaign video on YouTube.

GU SRC Motion on Conflict Free Campus

Petition to: David Newall (Secretary of Court), Professor Anton Muscatelli (Principal)

Gold, tin, tungsten, and tantalum are found in the electronic products we use every day, such as computers, mobile phones, and MP3 players. These minerals are now known as ‘conflict minerals’ because they are extracted from mines controlled by armed groups who use violence and mass rape to control local populations. These armed groups generate an estimated $144 million each year by trading in conflict minerals 1.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the countries worst affected by this illicit trade, with an estimated death toll of over six million2; and hundreds of thousands of women and children having been raped 3. Children are also forced into mines, undertaking heavy labour and 80% of the population lives on 30 cents or less per day 4. The sheer scale of this forced labour amounts to modern slavery.

This is a conflict that major electronics companies have known about for nearly two decades, yet little has been done to prevent the use of conflict minerals in our everyday technologies. While it is an inescapable reality that we are all going to keep using our mobiles and other essential consumer electronics, this should not be at the expense of fuelling the deadliest conflict in the world. Companies that use these minerals in their manufacturing processes must ensure that these minerals do not come with the cost of human lives.

Glasgow University Amnesty International has joined Raise Hope for Congo’s Conflict-Free Campus Initiative (CFCI), a global movement of students campaigning for peace and justice in the Congo. By encouraging university officials and stakeholders to commit to measures that pressure electronics’ companies to responsibly invest in Congo’s minerals sector, we are voicing the University of Glasgow’s collective demand for certified conflict-free products.

While we recognise that a more multifaceted and comprehensive plan of action is needed to solve the current crisis in Congo, ending the largely unrecognised illicit extraction and trade of conflict minerals will certainly remove a major economic incentive for numerous state and non-state sponsored militias. The direct link between war in Congo and the consumer products we use every day gives our University enormous power to demand change from electronics’ companies. By issuing a resolution supporting the conflict-free movement, the University of Glasgow would amplify and strengthen efforts calling for companies to trace, audit, and certify their supply chains to ensure their products do not support a minerals trade that is benefiting militia groups.

The University of Glasgow’s Sustainable Development Policy 5 states:

“The University of Glasgow recognises the significance of sustainable development in global, national and local contexts and acknowledges a commitment to the protection of the environment and the conservation of our natural resources.

“The University is concerned about the effects of its decisions and actions on the quality of life, the economy and world poverty, as well as the environment and natural resources.”

The University has agreed to adopt the following actions:

“To build partnerships and create local information networks for sharing experience and knowledge of sustainability, and to contribute to national and global discussions of sustainability issues”

We the undersigned call for the University of Glasgow to action the proposals set out in the SRC Motion for a Conflict-Free Campus, which are:

  • To call for the University to give priority to companies who implement due diligence when sourcing their minerals – tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold – from the Democratic Republic of Congo, when considering vendors for future electronic product purchases
  • To call for the University to express and foster a strong commitment to purchasing products that have been certified as ‘conflict-free’, upon considering the future procurement of electronic devices, once commercially available.
  • To call for the University to express a strong commitment to purchasing electronic products from companies that respect and promote human rights throughout the products’ lifecycle including the mineral extraction and trading phases.
  • To call for the University to issue formal letters of inquiry to contracted electronics suppliers on the status of company efforts to address mineral supply chain transparency and accountability.
  • Attempts to address these issues of transparency and accountability should pay heed to these guidelines, developed by the University of Pennsylvania Conflict-Free Campus Initiative, instructing companies to:
    1. Strengthen company management systems (including establishing and distributing a supply chain policy);
    2. Identify and assess risks in the supply chain;
    3. Design and implement a strategy to respond to identified risks;
    4. Ensure independent third-party audits of supply chain due diligence at identified points in the supply chain;
    5. Disclose publicly supply chain due diligence and findings.
  • If these approaches fail to bring change in a reasonable amount of time, the University should give purchasing preference to compliant companies as well as consider not renewing contracts and divesting from non-compliant ones.
  • To mandate the Students’ Association to do all of the above in their sourcing of electronics.

Petition for a Conflict-Free Glasgow

PETITION TO: DAVID NEWALL (SECRETARY OF COURT), PROFESSOR ANTON MUSCATELLI (PRINCIPAL)

We would like to see the University of Glasgow make the pledge to be ‘conflict-free’ as a step towards promoting peace in the Congo. This move would make the university the largest Conflict-Free University in the UK and a leader in the market for conflict-free products.

‘Conflict minerals’ - gold, tin, tungsten, and tantalum - are found in the consumer electronics that we use every day, such as computers, mobile phones, and MP3 players. They originate in countries like Congo, where they are extracted from mines controlled by armed groups who use violence and mass rape to control local populations. It is estimated that over 6 million people have died since 1998, making this the deadliest conflict since World War II.

Glasgow University Amnesty International has joined the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative, a global movement demanding that companies exercise due diligence and take responsibility for their supply chains by not sourcing minerals from Congo’s conflict-ridden mines.

We the undersigned request that:
The University of Glasgow actions the requests outlined in the SRC Motion for a Conflict-Free Campus thereby issuing a resolution supporting the conflict-free movement.

[signature]

120 signatures

Share this with your friends:

   

  1.  http://www.jww.org/conflictareas/congo/overview/conflict-minerals
  2. http://www.caritas.org/activities/emergencies/SixMillionDeadInCongoWar.html
  3. http://www.jewishworldwatch.org/conflictareas/congo/overview/women-under-siege
  4. http://www.friendsofthecongo.org/images/pdf/fact_sheet.pdf
  5. www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_142656_en.doc

From the ‘Set’ of our CFCI Video

February 3, 2013 in cfci, photos, videos by Rob Hallam

Thanks to Patrick Harvie who came along and was patiently filmed. Patrick has been excellent for his support for our CFCI push and on other issues (you might be interested in his about page).