Newsletter 2014-01-19: Campaigns Voting Round 2 and This Semester

January 20, 2015 in main, news, newsletter by Rob Hallam

Welcome Back and Thanks

Hello all! I hope everyone is getting back into the swing of uni- lectures, labs, assignments, essays, deadlines, dissertations… and of course Amnesty meetings!

Last week we had the pleasure of having our sides split at the SPB 2015 Launch. Thanks to Duncan and Joe for talking us through what happens at and the organisation of the SPB. Massive massive thanks to Billy Kirkwood himself for helping us launch it again this year with the preview, and to the two comedians – Ryan Dooley and Gary Faulds – who also pitched in to do us all a favour and share their brand of humour!

We can do them a favour in return by checking them out and lending them your support:

If putting together a night of comedy for hundreds of people sounds like a fun challenge (or a boost to the CV), email spb@guamnesty.org.uk and get involved!

This Semester

As you will see in the This Week section, on Tuesday we will be voting for the campaigns for this semester. We have decided to focus on two campaigns this time around as we actually don’t have a lot of time left this academic year! We also have a couple of collaborative events on which are already organised or in the pipeline; namely Syria Week at the end of January (the week after next!) and International Women’s Week at the beginning of March. We will be looking at human rights aspects from these issues and tying them into our weekly meetings.

You may also remember the chat we had last term about the Student Conference in February. We’re putting together a subcommittee to get the ball rolling with this; I know already the some are interested, and if you would like to be among them please let me know on Tuesday or by getting in touch.

As well as the Amnesty business we’ve got some other fun stuff coming up! We’re planning a fundraiser before the SPB, which looks like it’ll take the form of an open mic night. And at the end of term, according to annual traditions, we have our sponsored overnight trip to Arran!

This Week: Tuesday 20th January 2015 – Campaigns Voting

Remember the start of last term when we discussed and voted for campaigns? Well, we’re doing it again! You’ll hear about the choices on Tuesday, and if you have an idea for a campaign you can put that forward yourself – as happened last term in the form of the Ferguson and Food Banks campaigns, and some others we didn’t have an opportunity to do.

Without further ado, here’s the list:

  • Sri Lanka
  • Israel/Palestine
  • Stop Torture
  • Confucius Institute
  • My Body, My Rights
  • Russia
  • Free Speech

For a little bit more information you can have a look at the brief overviews we have for these campaign suggestions, and the folks who will be talking about them. Any of these would be interesting to focus on, but we only have time for two this term. Like Indiana Jones- choose wisely!

If you would like to put forward a campaign as a suggestion – like Sri Lanka at the top of the list there – you can can do this on Tuesday; but if you would be more comfortable with one of us talking it through please let us know and we’ll figure something out 🙂

Next Week: Syria Week

We’ve got a big collaboration next week, starting from Monday 26th January! That week is Syria week, which we hope will raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees and internally-displaced persons (IDPs). The conflict has been going on for nearly 4 years now, with hundreds of thousands killed and millions of refugees and IDPs, extensive destruction and no end in sight.

The week is full of events, and I hope you’ll join us for them all:

We’re really lucky to have GRASS, Oxfam, Unicef, Red Cross, the SRC and others pitching in to make this week happen.

Past Photos

Over the holiday break I went through a number of photograph sets which I had previous taken (or folks had taken for me- you now who you are and thank you!) but not yet published. I know folks have been keen to see some of these, so I appreciate everyone’s patience; going through and processing photos is a long task!

Enjoy these by clicking through and looking at the full set!

Jamnesty Preview / Bingo Photos

(full album)

Light Against Darkness – Syrian Children Art Exhibition Photos

(full album)

Jamnesty 2014 Photos!

(full album – see them all!)

Reclaim the Night 2014 Photos

(full album)

Thanks for Reading

This week following on from #JeSuisCharlie, we have the response to an Orthodox Jewish newspaper removing women from a photo of the solidarity march. Thrust and parry:

parody

parody2

#touché

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 2014-10-04: Important Announcement, Death Penalty and Many Events

October 4, 2014 in main, news, newsletter, spb by Rob Hallam

Hello again to everyone. Thanks to everyone who took part in the #DemocracyNowHK photo action last week. Those photos had a huge reach on Facebook and are being Tweeted out- showing that we stand in solidarity with those protesting and risking so much in Hong Kong. We’ve some important announcements in this week’s newsletter, so be sure to read at least those. It also means this week’s instalment is another lengthy bulletin; please bear with me!

** Important Elections Announcement! **

Tuesday 7th October

For the last couple of weeks we’ve been reminding you of the elections for 2x Ordinary Board member committee positions happening this Tuesday. In addition, our lovely Fundraising Officer Nikola has taken the difficult decision to step down as a committee member.

This means that the position of Fundraising Officer will also be available for election this Tuesday (7th October).

Nikola has been an enthusiastic member for the last couple years and did a great turn last year as Publicity Officer; and we are very sad to see such a talented person leave the committee. But we’re still happy as she will be coming along to weekly meetings!

Nikola

If you are interested in the positions available (OBM or Fundraising Officer), it may be of interest to read the position descriptions written for the AGM last year. This might help you decide if the role is for you. If you have ideas (and some of the folk I’ve talked to who seemed keen do) you can certainly go beyond the job description!

All the best to Nikola and good luck to anyone standing on Tuesday.

First Semester Campaigns

In other exciting news, we all discussed, debated and ultimately chose the campaigns we will be prioritising in the first part of the year. Up to Christmas (82 days at time of writing- start buying those presents now!) we will be focusing on:

  • Unrest situation in Ferguson, MO (starting in 2 weeks!)
  • Human Trafficking
  • Food Banks
  • and, if we have time, Human Rights in Russia

The voting was very close! It was really positive to both have suggestions from the group (as opposed to from the committee) and that they were taken on board to such a great extent. Please don’t be too disappointed if your preferred campaign(s) didn’t get selected- there is always next semester! We are also hoping to get a letter-writing lunchtime session up and running, as well as expanding how we do online actions. You’ll never be stuck for campaigning with GU Amnesty!

Drinking Bird Loves Campaigns

And so am I.

As a side note, we have plans to work on both Syria and Women’s Rights in the second semester, due to collaborations with the Coalition for Syrian Refugees and International Women’s Week. Stay tuned!

This Week: Elections and Death Penalty

Tuesday 7th October, 5PM, QMU Committee Room 1

I’ve already covered elections in the special notice earlier in this newsletter; if you missed it please skip back a couple of paragraphs and read the info! We intend to kick things off with the elections first of all, as the prospect of speaking can make people somewhat nervous. Try not to stress too much about it though, we’re all friendly; and if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

12th Day Against the Death penalty

Thanks to the work of our Campaigns Officer Alex, we have a ready-to-go campaign for you all to get involved with before we start on our chosen campaign of Ferguson later on this month. Our first campaign is the worldwide abolition of the Death Penalty, a perennial favourite. We have a few events planned for this already!

Upcoming Events

Death Penalty-Related

Demo Against the Death Penalty

Friday 10th October, Library Hill

There will be a demo, probably on Library Hill on October 10th, International Day Against the Death Penalty. We have some decorations and such from our demo last year, but we’re always mad keen for banner-making!

Death Penalty Film Screening

Tuesday October 14th, 5PM, Venue TBA (Likely Boyd Orr Building)

We intend to screen a documentary or film as part of the death penalty campaign, which will happen a week on Tuesday. More details closer to the time.

Death Penalty Debate with Dialectics

Wednesday 15th October, Time/Venue TBA

This should be an interesting one. While the debate over the death penalty as an judicial option rages on, we and the Dialectics felt it had been overdone. So this debate will likely centre around extrajudicial uses of the death penalty- in times of war, in terms of mob/vigilante ‘justice’, and in the use of drones. These are all scenarios which have cropped up over again in recent times, and yet they don’t seem to provoke the same sort of response as killings carried out on the orders of judges.

Come along and join the debate.

Other Events

Academics at Risk Event (Reminder)

Monday 6th October, 3-6PM, Glasgow University Concert Hall

There is an event which may be of interest put on by GU Settlement to inform people about the work of CARA:

The University of Glasgow, with assistance from GU Settlement, is hosting a CARA (The Council for At-Risk Academics) awareness raising event.
The Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) has provided protection and support to refugee and ‘at risk’ academics for over 80 years. The defence of academic freedom continues to underpin CARA’s work assisting academics who, for reasons of persecution and conflict, are unable to continue their research in their countries of origin.
The event will be chaired by Prof John Briggs (Vice Principal and GU Refugee Champion) and Prof Alison Phipps (GU CARA Rep/ GRAMNet).
A representative from GU Archives will discuss the historical role that the University has played in supporting dispossessed and displaced people and there will also be the opportunity for round table and informal discussion.

UK Premiere: Beneath the Blindfold

Thursday 9th October, 6-8PM, GFT 12 Rose St

We’re lucky as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival to be able to attend the UK premiere of this documentary giving accounts of torture:

Screened in partnership with Document, the International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, four torture survivors from around the globe courageously tell the stories of their mistreatment and their subsequent attempts to move beyond these horrifying experiences. The film follows them as they build new lives and, despite the continued psychological and physical fallout from their experience, become public advocates for an end to torture.

See the information page for more details.

Student Forum at Document 12

Friday 10th October, 12-3PM, CCA Glasgow on Sauchiehall Street

This may be of interest to some as part of the Document 12 film festival on in Glasgow from 9-12th October.

On Friday 10th October from 12-3pm we have a FREE Student Forum in the Club Room of the CCA (Sauchiehall St). Presented in conjunction with GRAMNet and the Glasgow Human Rights Network, the forum will screen two documentaries taking different perspectives on the contemporary experience of Palestinian children: Stone Cold Justice (Dir. Gabi Weber) looks at the contrasting legal rights enjoyed by young Israelis and Palestinians in the context of increasing arrests of Palestinian boys by the Israeli police force, while Since I Was Born (Dir. LAURA DELLE PIANE) tells the story of 11-year-old Tamer growing up in Dheisheh refugee camp, The West Bank. The screenings will be followed by a discussion led by Beth Pearson, Keith Hammond and Dr. Naomi Head all from Glasgow Uni.

See the facebook event for more details.

Amnesty UK Student Conference

London, 1-2 November

Student conferences are always a blast! In a little under a month the UK Student Conference will kick off at Amnesty UK’s HQ in London. It costs’s £20, and 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!

Amneslunchtime Amnesletters

Weekly

I mentioned this at the meeting last week but in case anyone missed it, we’re intending to start up a weekly lunchtime letter-writing session in the Fraser Building. It’ll give us a chance to go a bit further in taking action on campaigns and harnessing the keenness of the group.

Details will follow once we’ve decided on a day. The intention is to tweet / say on FB when we are there and roughly where we’re seated.

Watch this space!

Secret Policeman’s Ball Update

21st February 2015!

It may only be the start of October, but we already have a date for all your diaries:

Saturday 21st February 2015 will be night we have our Secret Policeman’s Ball!

If you haven’t heard of the SPB before, the short version is that it’s a night of comedy (modelled on the ones put on by Amnesty international) and our biggest fundraiser of the year. It’s hosted by the ever-funny Billy Kirkwood, and we’ve won multiple awards for them over the years.

SPB 2014 LaunchSPB 2014SPB 2014 Afterparty

More details will come over the next few weeks and months, but there’s plenty to be doing in the meantime- publicity, decoration, organisation. If there’s any aspect of this huge event you’d like to get involved with – looks great on the CV, by the way – please let Duncan or me know. Duncan is heading up the organisation of the SPB this year, for which we’re all very thankful!

Well Done For Reading Reward

This week’s ‘thanks for reading’ bounty is one for fans of Rube Goldberg machines (that’s a Heath Robinson machine if you’re on this side of the Atlantic). Some of you may have seen this before, but it’s so delightfully done I could watch it again and again.

(link for those reading in email format: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w)

See you all on Tuesday for the elections and Death Penalty!

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 2014-09-14: Freshers’ Week, First Meeting and Beyond!

September 14, 2014 in events, information, main, meetings, news, newsletter by Rob Hallam

We’re back! September has arrived and the new term is nearly upon us. This is a busy time for everyone and a really important time for us with new members and a whole bunch of events to kick off the new academic year.

Freshers’ Week

15-21 September 2014

Freshers’ week is one of the most important parts of the year for us- chances are high if you’re reading this that you’ve at least wandered by our stall during Freshers Week one September! If you’ve an hour to spare (or more), please come along– it’s a great way to meet the new faces who’ll be coming along this year and would really help us out. Get in touch with us either via email, Facebook or Twitter; or if you prefer you can fill in the Doodle: http://doodle.com/65zgchrx98mvgwun#table. Let us know, we’ll really appreciate it. If you don’t, well:

Stern Bird is judging you

But if you are able to lend a hand, then:

Happy Bird sez well done you

Avian persuasions aside1, if you can come along that would be great and we’d love to see you there.

The Freshers’ Fair Stall

16-17 September, 10-4, Randolph Hall

We have booked a stall which will be in Randolph Hall on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th September from 10 AM to 4PM. Wearing our best smiles we’ll be chatting to Freshers about what we do, our meetings and events, and generally looking like the society that everybody wants to join.

Collaboration with STAR & CB – ‘Journey to Safety’

Wednesday 17th September, 3-6 PM, Body Orr Building Room 213

One of the other things we’ll be helping with is a very exciting workshop on the asylum seeker process organised by STAR over the course of a few hours on Wednesday afternoon 3-6 in the Boyd Orr Building (room 213). It’s a really good way to get a quick feel for the process; it’s be done in previous years and extremely well-received. STAR Glasgow and Crossing Borders will be taking people through the stages.

If you’d like to come along and take part I’m certain you’d find it a useful and positive experience. Or if you’d like to help out we could use folks to take people from one station to another (no prep work needed- script you can read from provided!) that would be really helpful. Let us know as mentioned above.

Activist Mixer/Social

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

Thanks again to Kit of STAR, 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.

(Provisional) Activism Talk

Thursday 18th September, Afternoon

Although this is provisional, we are hoping to do a talk on activism on the afternoon of 18th of September. We’re discussing with the SRC what we can do, it would be good to see some familiar faces in the crowd if it does go ahead. Keep an eye on the website, Facebook or Twitter for updates on time and venue.

First Meeting of 2014-15!

Tuesday 23rd September, 5PM, QMU

Fun! Excitement! Presentations!

We’ll be kicking off the academic year with our first meeting on Tuesday 23rd September in the QMU at 5PM. We’ll be giving an overview of what we do for new members, introducing the committee and giving information about upcoming campaigns, events- which includes the election of two ordinary board members. This is a committee position which gives even greater opportunity to be involved in the planning and direction of GU Amnesty.

First Social of 2014-15

Tuesday 23rd September, 7PM onwards, The Old Schoolhouse, Woodlands Avenue

Following on from our first meeting we will be having our first social. This will be held at The Old Schoolhouse in Woodlands Road after the first meeting (roughly 7PM). If you don’t know where it is, don’t worry, it’s close by and we’ll walk you there. It’s a really good way to get to know folks – invariably the members of GU Amnesty are great folk to hang out with as well as outstanding campaigners!

Other Upcoming Events and Info

We already have a number of exciting things planned for Freshers’ Week and our first campaign, but there are plenty of other things going on which you might be interested in.

GHRN Events and Bulletin Information

If you haven’t heard of it, you should check out the Glasgow Human Rights Network.

The Glasgow Human Rights Network aims to bring together researchers, practitioners,
members of civil society organisations and policymakers who address human rights issues.

Their events can be very informative for those looking to go a bit deeper into human rights issues, especially those that see themselves either working, pursuing further education or researching in the field.

The latest bulletin had too many events to list here, but if you are interested you can find details on how to subscribe to their website, linked above. If there’s any difficulties finding the details, please get in touch with us and we’ll help you out.

I Am Troy Davis Community Book Club

21st September-10th October 2014

On September 21, 2011, the State of Georgia put Troy Davis to death despite a compelling case of innocence. To mark the 3-year anniversary of this travest9thy of justice, and to deepen and widen the discourse about the human impact of the death penalty and criminal justice system, we invite you to participate in a worldwide Community Book Club between September 21 and October 10, World Day Against the Death Penalty. Through hundreds of intimate gatherings across the country and the world, Troy’s story will reach and impact thousands of new people.

The case of Troy Davis is one we’ve campaigned on in the past, and it continues to be a focal point in the case for the abolition of the death penalty. If you’re interested, please take the time to have a look at I Am Tro Davis and the Community Bookclub. The death penalty is a campaign we will return to in October. If you’re interested in more information or the book please contact our campaigns manager Alex or the good folks at I Am Troy Davis above.

Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival

1-19 October 2014

There’s a film being screened on 9th October, the UK premiere of Beneath the Blindfold telling the stories of four torture survivors. As a heads-up, we have a death penalty-related event putatively pencilled in for the same day, but details will follow and it may be of interest.

Get in Touch

There’s lots on in the coming week or two, and even more beyond but this newsletter has to end somewhere! There will be more coming next week, and every week after that. Well done for making it to the end this time. Your picture rewards are the two birds included above.

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


  1. Photos taken in my back garden this week. 
Ruth by Ruth

Israel: Collective punishment will not bring the justice that murdered teens deserve | Amnesty International

July 1, 2014 in Human Rights News, news by Ruth

\u201cBut justice will not be served by Israel seeking revenge by imposing collective punishment, or committing other violations of Palestinians\u2019 rights. Rather, the Israeli authorities must conduct a full, thorough and impartial investigation that leads to the prosecution of those suspected of being responsible in fair trials.\u201d<\/p>\n

via Israel: Collective punishment will not bring the justice that murdered teens deserve | Amnesty International<\/a>.<\/p>\n”Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Newsletter 2014-06-18: Amnestea Mark 2, Stop Torture Launch, Other Upcoming Events and Things of Interest

June 18, 2014 in events, information, main, news, newsletter, spb by Rob Hallam

Hello all! I hope everyone that’s still here has been enjoying the frankly stunning weather we’ve been having in Glasgow, and for those who have gone home already I hope the weather’s good there too. Despite us being out-of-term there’s quite a bit on! Briefly: we’re having a small social gathering in Kelvingrove park on Friday 20th, there’s the “Feast of Stories” as part of Scottish Refugee Week on Saturday 21st; Stop Torture Campaign launch on Wednesday 25th with Amnesty Scotland; a ‘Scotland as a Good Glocal Citizen’ Amnesty Scotland event on Monday 30th; and some other upcoming things and opportunities for everyone- whether in
Glasgow or not!

It’s a long one even from looking at that paragraph, so if you get to the end of the newsletter there will be a surprise! Ooh, the suspense.

This Friday 20th June Afternoon: Social in Kelvingrove Park / AKA ‘Amnestea Mark II’

We had a great time at the last Amnestea back at the start of the month. Thanks to Ruth for hosting us when the weather just didn’t want to cooperate. So in the spirit of getting the sunshine that we missed out on last time, we figured we’d have a relaxed social gathering in Kelvingrove Park this Friday afternoon. We’ll aim to kick off after lunch (maybe 1 or 2 PM) which we will announce on FB and Twitter, but please feel free to turn up whenever suits- we have at least one or two joining us onice they escape from work! Also, don’t feel you have to bring or bake anything – we had our fill of confection last time around!

A table *full* of cakes biscuits sweets and tea!

And if you aren’t in Glasgow but feel like joining in the spirit of things, please take a selfie of yourself with some tea or a picnic or of a teapot and send it to us or tweet it to us or get it to us somehow! Might sound a bit silly on the face of it but we’d like to build a library of “people being involved with GU Amnesty” even when not in Glasgow.

Wednesday 25th June 1800: Stop Torture Campaign Launch – John McIntyre Building Room 201

Exciting times next week – we’re playing host to Amnesty Scotland’s launch of the Stop Torture campaign. With canapes and Alistair Carmichael, Secretart of State for Scotland, as a confirmed speaker it promises to be an interesting launch for a campaign that is right at the heart of Amnesty International’s work. If you’re in Glasgow or within travelling distance please come along. You can find the event page on Facebook as ever.

Please note that this is in Room 201 (downstairs) in the John McIntyre building rather than the more usual venue of the Williams Room.

Also on Wednesday 25th June: CFCI Goes to Court

As <a href=”http://www.guamnesty.org.uk/2014/06/june-2014-amnestea-in-the-park-stop-torture-campaign-launch-refugee-week-and-more/>Ruth mentioned in the last newsletter, our CFCI petition is finally making its way to the university court. After the SRC passed a motion of support we hope that Jess McGrellis can convince the court of the miportance of the motion and the need for change. Fingers crossed.

Coming Up on 19th July: Glasgow Pride!

<a href=”https://www.guamnesty.org.uk/2012/07/pride/>GU Amnesty are no strangers to Pride. We will be marching again this year, and our friends over at the Glasgow West Amnesty group will hopefully be joining us 🙂 We will post up more details about where and when to meet closer to the time. Please note that tickets for the main event (not the parade!) are £5 this year, which the Pride Glasgow website notes is due to decreased grant funding this year. It’s a shame, but if they don’t have the same level of funding I think a fiver to cover such a massive event is very reasonable. One day our SPB will be just as big– more on that later…

Other Events

Saturday 21st June: Feast of Stories

This event is going on as part of Scottish Refugee Week and sounds fab. I’ll let the description speak for itself:

Tales of Migration and Welcome

Come and celebrate the rituals of sharing food and storytelling with people and organisations in Glasgow who welcome refugees and asylum seekers! I would really appreciate if you can share this on your fb page as well.

There will be tales about migration and welcome from seasoned storytellers, alongside a delicious, local and organic meal cooked by volunteers on the day. There will be space to share your own story, as well as music, poetry and maybe even dancing. Proceeds will go to a local charity.

Saturday 21st June, 7pm-11pm
Kinning Park Complex 43 Cornwall Street Glasgow, G41 1BA

Price on a sliding scale from FREE – £15. Booking essential!

For more information about how to get involved and how to book a place, please visit: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/feast-of-stories-scottish-refugee-week-2014-tickets-10965912339 or contact bridgetholtom@hotmail.co.uk

Monday 23rd June: Free Online Course – Right Versus Might in International Relations

Looks very interesting, we had a chat about this at Amnestea and folks were very keen on it. More info: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/right-vs-might. Check it out!

(Change of Date) Monday 30th June 1830: Business and Human Rights: Scotland as a Good Global Citizen

Another event by Amnesty Scotland, this is on at The Lighthouse in town and also looks really interesting. Please note it was moved from 23rd June to 30th due to unforseen circumstances. More details on the event page:

Modern day slavery, forced labour, human trafficking, the illegal arms trade- these are all human rights abuses resulting from unscrutinised and irresponsible business practices. This is an opportunity to hear from both sides of the Scottish Independence Referendum debate as to how they will ensure that Scotland stands for human rights.

Guest Speakers:

  • Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for External Affairs and International Relations
  • Robert Brown, Liberal Democrat Councillor for the Rutherglen South Ward of South Lanarkshire Council
  • Chaired by Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK’s Programme Director – Economic Affairs

Tickets are free but you need to book via eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/business-and-human-rights-scotland-as-a-good-global-citizen-tickets-11929323929

Opportunities

Those of you who were around at the AGM a couple months back and heard the speeches will know that we’ve some big plans for next year. For those of you who weren’t at the AGM… we have some big plans for next year! I’d like to talk about those a bit over the summer as we hash out the ideas and figure out what’s going to work. As ever, if you’ve an idea please contact us and let us know 🙂 In the meantime, here’s a couple of things to consider getting involved in:

SPB Subcommittee

Last year our lovely former VP and SPB Convenor Debbie White took charge of the running of our Secret Policeman’s Ball, which is a major night of comedy modelled on the one also held by Amnesty UK. She did a fantastic job but I’m sure she’d be the first to point out the contribution of the SPB Subcommittee. It’s much more than just being a pair of helping hands, it’s an opportunity to shape a really big event. One of the things Debbie pointed out is it’s a great thing to see your ideas realised and to take ownership of the event. Plus it’s a great thing in terms of experience to talk about in interviews, cover letters, personal statements and the like.

GU Amnezine

For those who aren’t familiar with our incessant puns, we’re also planning on doing an Amnesty Magazine this summer in time for Freshers’ Week. We’d like some quotes from members to give people a taste of what it’s like, for example:

  • meetings
  • memorable campaign actions
  • favourite events
  • one important thing you learned

If you’ve 30 seconds to dash off a sentence or two on one or more of those headings, or anything else, that would be great! And because it’s so easy to forget I will probably mention these topics again over the course of the summer.

Naturally, if you’d like to be involved with either, please let us know!

The Surprise

Well done for making this far! Or for skipping ahead to the end to see the reward. Either way, you deserve some pictorial fun. I already mentioned <a href=”https://www.guamnesty.org.uk/2014/06/photos-from-amnestea-2014/>Amnestea and the photos from there, but there are now finally photos up from the ceilidh the other week, including this gem of someone really enjoying themself:

A jump and heel click

But since you all are avid readers of the website you’ve probably seen the ceilidh photos already. So here’s something different, our dear friend VP:

putin_rights

Yeah. Thanks for reading folks!

Ruth by Ruth

Amneslunch and Ceilidh Coming Up, Local Opportunities and Global Campaigns News

April 15, 2014 in events, information, main, news, newsletter by Ruth

Why hello there,

Sorry for the delay, I was waiting for news and updates before sending this newsletter – and now we have news aplenty! Our events are at the top, and then there are some good looking opportunities and actions that we have been asked to share with you, followed by some wonderful human rights news and campaign successes sent out by AIUK at the beginning of this month. Happy reading!

May: Amneslunch!

We are planning to start our new lunch club on the 1st May, as a simple casual, drop-by and say ‘hi’ kind of thing. Join the event to let us know if you think you’ll make it along at some point and suggest things that we can do/talk about. Also, we haven’t confirmed all the dates so let us know when you would like us to be there.

Saturday 24th May: Ceilidh for Red Cross Tracing Service

STAR Glasgow, GU Amnesty, and GU Red Cross are hosting their annual ceilidh fundraiser at the end of exams this year! As well as the usual ceilidh dances, we’ll be having a whiskey toss (where you can win a bottle of whiskey!), and a raffle with prizes worth up to £40!

As usual, all funds raised on the night will be going to the Red Cross International Tracing Service – this service helps reunite families and loved ones who have been displaced by conflicts around the world. They do a lot of great work, and you can read more about it here:

http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/Finding-missing-family/International-family-tracing

Tickets are £3 if you buy them beforehand, or £4 on the door. Tickets can be bought from anyone in the STAR, Amnesty, or Red Cross groups.

Rights Referendum Campaign: Keeping Human Rights in the Debate

From Amnesty Scotland:

In the run up to Scotland’s Referendum on Independence, we have launched our Rights Referendum campaign calling for any future Scottish Government to respect and safeguard human rights at home and abroad, regardless of the outcome of the vote.

It would be fantastic if you could join the Rights Referendum campaign and mobilise students from around Scotland to take action by contacting local MSPs and Scottish MPs, asking your representatives to show their support for human rights. Here’s the link to our action on the Amnesty website:

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/scotland-scottish-independence-referendum-human-rights?from=issues

AHRI Human Rights Conference: Call for Submissions

From the Glasgow Human Rights Network at Glasgow University:

The Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI) calls for the submission of proposals for papers to be presented at the AHRI Human Rights Conference to be held in Copenhagen on 29-30 September 2014.

“Human Rights under Pressure: Exploring norms, institutions and policies”

Papers can be presented on any topic related to human rights and should be unpublished. Interdisciplinary projects and jointly authored papers are welcomed. Proposals for entire pa- nels (up to four papers) are equally welcome, indicating the title, abstract and author of each paper as well as proposed chairs and discussants.

Deadline for submission of abstracts and panel proposals is 1 May 2014. Submissions should be sent to ekni@humanrights.dk. All abstracts will be reviewed by the AHRI Programme Com- mittee and selections announced by 1 June 2014. Formal registration for the conference will be possible from 1 June.

This is only a snippet of the email that was sent. If you are interested, please reply to this email and I will forward you the rest of the information.

New NGO for Maternal and Children’s Rights

From the Glasgow Human Rights Network at Glasgow University:

A new NGO is being established, specialising in maternal and child rights, particularly for Reproductive Health Rights Education, initially in Malawi and Scotland, but not exclusively so.  The aims include reduced HIV, improved maternal health and reduced maternal mortality, through female empowerment.

If you are interested in finding out more and might be interested in supporting these objectives, please contact Gordon MacPherson at scunner1320@yahoo.co.uk.

Great News on our Amnesty Campaigns!

In recent weeks, we’ve had good news on a whole host of campaigns, from the release of Hakamada Iwao in Japan, to the UK ratifying the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Human Rights Council voting for an inquiry into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, the UK has welcomed the first of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees to be granted sanctuary here – the direct result of all our campaigning as a global community.

Arms Trade Treaty

2nd April 2014 marked the one year anniversary of the UN vote and saw 18 governments, including the UK, jointly deposit their signed ratification papers at a special ceremony at the UN. That brings the total of ratifications up to 31, well over half way to the 50 we need.

There is now every likelihood that we will see the 50th ratification as early as this autumn, allowing the treaty enter into force well within two years of its adoption. For an international Treaty, that’s actually that’s pretty good going. Read more.

Syrian Refugees

After months of weak arguments and refusal to share responsibility for resettling some of the escalating numbers of Syrian refugees, the government has eventually done the right thing. The announcement comes after a combination of months of lobbying work from our refugee specialists and the incredible response and action taken by Amnesty supporters. Read more.

Hakamada Iwao – the longest-serving death row prisoner.

Hakamada is, for the first time in nearly half a century, experiencing life outside of a detention centre. He has serious mental health problems after his time on death row, having spent the previous 46 years awaiting execution every single day; Japan gives its prisoners no forewarning of their execution – many find out just minutes before they are hanged. We hope that soon Hakamada may experience justice that is nearly half a century overdue. Read more.

War crimes in Sri Lanka

On 27th March 2014, the UN Human Rights Council voted to establish an inquiry into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka, something we have all fought long and hard for. After a certain amount of wrangling with the rules and filibustering, the Resolution was passed with 23 states in favour, 12 against and 12 abstentions. Read more.

Jailed for posting on Facebook: Jabeur Mejri now freed in Tunisia

Jabeur was part of our 2013 Write for Rights campaign and nearly 12,000 of you signed our petition calling for his release. Thank you, your simple act has made a massive difference. Read more.

Jailed for supporting LGBTI teenagers: Elena Klimova now freed in Russia

In January this year, Elena Klimova was charged under Russia’s new anti-‘gay propaganda’ law for running Children 404, a website offering support to LGBTI teenagers. Read more.

Mozambique takes positive step towards outlawing rape in marriage

In March this year, the parliament of Mozambique was close to ratifying a Criminal Code that would permit rape within marriage. Not only would the proposed law allow impunity in existing abusive marriages, but if a rapist were to later wed an unmarried victim (including girls as young as 12 years old), the abuser would escape prosecution altogether. Thankfully, authorities in Mozambique have publicly stated they will not follow through with these proposals. Read more.

 

Whether you are having a good rest or cracking on with coursework and revision, I hope it’s all going splendidly.

Ruth

 

 

Ruth by Ruth

Committee Elections 2014-2015

March 20, 2014 in main, news by Ruth

Tuesday 25th March is our AGM and the following positions will be elected:

President
Vice President
Secretary
Treasurer
Campaigns Coordinator
Fundraising Officer
Publicity Officer
Press Officer
Website Manager

**2 x Ordinary Board Members will be elected at the beginning of the academic year.**

The current committee have given a short description of their role in the hope of giving you a good idea of what each entails, however, there is always the opportunity for committee members to expand the roles if that person has other ideas and/or new projects arise.

If you want more information, please drop us an email! mail@guamnesty.org.uk

President (Ruth Brown)
The president has overall responsibility for the activities of the group and chairs the weekly committee meetings. Much time is dedicated to supporting each committee member in their role so it is necessary to have a good knowledge and interest in all aspects of how the society is organised and operates. The President facilitates the society meetings but all committee members play an important role in organising and running these meetings. Each week a newsletter must be written and sent to the membership detailing the group’s upcoming activities as well as promoting relevant events. It is also up to the President to take responsibility for all the resources (awards, materials, banners etc) that are passed on to each new committee.

This year has been so successful that it’s hard to choose one event that I enjoyed the most. For the campaigns, I liked hearing from all of our guest speakers, and also taking part in the various photo actions. As for the fundraisers, I thought Jamnesty was fantastic!

 

Vice-President (Debbie White)
As Vice-President, I support the President, feed in ideas and generally help with the organising of meetings and events. In the first few weeks I helped to lead meetings as we had so many people we had a splinter group in Committee Room 2.

This year, I took particular responsibility for organising the Secret Policeman’s Ball and managing the SPB sub-committee, which was great fun! (It isn’t always the VP’s responsibility; last year, our Vice President organised the Scottish Students’ Conference instead)

 

Secretary (Jana Sweeney)
Secretary mainly does a lot of the behind the scenes organisation. You’ll be in control of the email account, checking and responding to emails, making sure people are aware of various events and checking their own emails. If there is letter writing, you’ll be the one to post the letters, so you’ll creep out your local post office by constantly posting letters to various Heads of States! Also have to take minutes at all the committee meetings! During the summer, you’ll be dealing with all the affiliation documents and over the year you’ll be checking our post cubby in the SRC. You also have to assist any other member of the society with admin tasks they need doing and just generally running a lot of small tasks throughout the year!

My favourite thing this year was running the Pub Quiz with Duncan!

 

Treasurer (Duncan McNab)
The role of treasurer involves managing the group’s finances, collecting and depositing money that has been fundraised, and keeping an accurate record of expenses and the like. It generally more technical/practical stuff. The majority of my  in the role is away from meetings in terms of counting money going to the bank and so on. Beyond that you’re kind of free to help however you can in the group.

My favourite amnesty thing I was involved with this year was probably writing and hosting the pub quiz with Jana. It was good fun. Also counting money is quite therapeutic.

 

Campaigns Coordinator (Ali Cooper)
Campaigns Coordinator has responsibility for investigating and planning our various campaigns that run throughout the year.  Keeping on top of emails and researching changes and updates in the relevant areas is crucial.  Coming up with interesting ways to promote campaigns and (importantly) thinking of specific ways GU Amnesty can confront these issue is key. Providing a support role to other committee members in research/investigation is also important.

I really enjoyed the challenge of organising the panel discussion “Syria: I can still see hope”.  I got to meet some fantastic speakers and whilst getting them initially involved was challenging it paid off and the event was a great success.  *** Dom needs a mention here! – I only took on the role from him recently from him and I had big shoes to fill: Coca-cola petition on Change.org, Jamnesty etc!

 

Fundraising Officer (Maisie Peebles)
The role of fundraiser involves the managing of events that raise money for Amnesty International UK. This person must organise fun and exciting events that bring people along and are a financial success. Therefore, it includes liaising with the unions and various managers of venues and bands in order to find the best possible places and people to take part in our many fundraisers. It involves a lot of emailing and researching in order to draw together the most effective plan for the event. This year we have had a pub quiz, Jamnesty, carol singing, Secret Policeman’s Ball, cake stalls, sponsored hillwalk on Arran and there is still a ceilidh and Amnestea in the Park to come!

I enjoyed the Love is a Human Right Gig Night the most as it was the best way to chill after the stress of organising it.

 

Publicity Officer (Nikola Cabanova)
Publicity Officer promotes the activities of the society.This person takes care of the Facebook page, Twitter and Tumblr (posting updates about meetings, Amnesty activities, photos from the events, creating events). Although some of the tasks are often shared between the members (if someone is busy) it is publicity officer who is required to make some of the promoting material such as making the poster, flyers and sharing these on social media.

E-mailing is a big part of each of the committee member’s role. The Publicity Officer uses it to communicate with other university societies, student bodies and institutions about possible ways of promoting Amnesty events and causes. A big part of this role is also all the crafts. This consists of storing the material, buying new one (paint, brushes, cards etc.), organizing the banner and poster making part of the meetings and making sure the material is used well, is not wasted and nothing gets lost.

I would say that my favourite part was going to the Art store, where we got most of our craft material from, seeing people getting their hands all dirty and climbing on the tables while painting banners and carrying our massive LGBTQ+ posters around the campus to give it to each respective student body who supported our campaign while it was extremely windy. One piece of advice: no task is ‘done’ until it is really done. If you get a task at the beginning of the year which is not extremely urgent it does not mean you can push it down or even out of your ‘to do’ list.

 

Press Officer (Ellen MacAskill)
This role involves writing about all the great stuff we do every week. The blog on our website is the most regular task. It’s anything between 500-1000 words about what we did at the meeting, or any other campaigns and events. It is also up to the press officer to get our news out and about in other publications. This could be by going along to pitch meetings for Qmunicate and the Glasgow Guardian, or by emailing press releases about our events to wider outlets. Starting this year, there will be a GU Amnesty magazine which the Press Officer will help put together and more recently, there has been an opportunity to get involved with Subcity Radio.

Basically you’ll be the one scribbling away furiously during talks, then finding an appropriate use for said notes later on. The role is relatively new so there is all sorts that you could do with it. There are some press-related guidelines from Amnesty UK which I’m happy to pass on when necessary.

 

Website Manager (Rob Hallam)
I am responsible for keeping the website up and running- from posting photos (that I take mostly!), to emailing newsletters, to online ticket sales. The aim is to ensure the website contains an up-to-date record of all the great things we’re doing through the year!

One of my personal highlights – you could pick any part of the year and it would qualify – would be getting the brand-new ticketing system up and running. Not only was this one automated more than the previous system, generating and sending the tickets without intervention; it gave us proportionally more money. Bonus! Not to mention it got me a mention – complete with an unforgettable ‘Captain Website’ slide – at the SPB.

 

[To be elected in October 2014]

Ordinary Board Member (Alex Pancheva)
As one of the Ordinary Board Members, I had the chance to do many small things such as researching campaigns, emailing speakers, publicizing events, and arranging meetings. Your main responsibility will be to help the other committee members but at the same time you can take the tasks that you would enjoy the most. This position will give you insight of how the society functions, and you will get an idea which position would be suitable for you in the future.

This year has been amazing, and we’ve done a lot, so it’s difficult to choose one favourite moment or event. In terms of campaigning, I enjoyed the demos (for example, going around the campus in an orange jumpsuit is a must). As for the fundraisers, I enjoyed both Jamnesty and the SPB.

 

Ordinary Board Member (Domi Bacanskaite)
Initially as an ordinary board member I wasn’t sure what my responsibilities were, but now that I think of it, one of the best things about this position is that you can help out with many different things and see what it is you enjoy doing most – and what you are best at! It’s a good place to start with the committee and later on you know what other positions you’re interested in. I was the Amnesty representative in the International Women Week’s committee, and organised two events: a talk by our previous member and a qualified Amnesty speaker Elena Soper about women’s rights in Afghanistan, together with a workshop by our president Ruth about the socialisation of young people and the media; and ‘Consent’ film screening with a guest from Rape Crisis Scotland.

My favourite moments must have been those of Jamnesty though – I was stressing out beforehand, but everything went well and we ended up listening to a lot of great music (and raising money at the same time!).

 

Ruth by Ruth

Conservatives promise to scrap Human Rights Act after next election | Law | The Guardian

February 21, 2014 in Human Rights News, news by Ruth

Conservatives promise to scrap Human Rights Act after next election | Law | The Guardian.

A threat becomes a promise, and a very dangerous one at that.

Ruth by Ruth

Tuesday 18th February: STOP THE TRAFFIK Presentation and the Secret Policeman’s Ball!

February 17, 2014 in main, meetings, news, newsletter by Ruth

Hi everyone,

Thanks to those of you who took part in the Guantanamo Bay demonstration last week – it was wet and drizzly but we still managed to get around campus a bit! Here are the photos and blog. There was actually an article in The Guardian last Tuesday about a legal challenge to the force-feeding of detainees, which many are being subjected to. Here is a short video that describes this brutal practice.

If you haven’t yet voted in the Rector election, here are some responses from candidates about their commitment to human rights.

http://www.guamnesty.org.uk/2014/02/rector-candidates-supporting-human-rights/

http://www.guamnesty.org.uk/2014/02/university-rector-elections-2014/

Next meeting: Tuesday 18th February, Committee Room 1, QMU

Human Trafficking

We are starting our next big campaign by having a discussion about recent cases of human trafficking  in the UK. A guest speaker from Stop the Traffik Glasgow is coming to give a presentation and we can discuss ideas for campaigning on this issue.

Visit https://www.stopthetraffik.org/uk for more information.

 

Saturday 22nd February: GU Amnesty’s 6th Annual Secret Policeman’s Ball + Afterparty hosted by Philanthrobeats!

 

IT’S HERE, IT’S FINALLY HERE!!

I hope you all have your tickets by now and are bringing along friends/neighbours/relatives. If not, get them online: https://www.guamnesty.org.uk/tickets/

Last Week of Publicity

We will be flyering all week so please give us a hand if you have time to spare, and take a bundle away with you from the meeting to hand out in all your classes. Remember that we are having a bake sale on Wednesday 11am – 4pm for further publicity, so please bring cakes and/or enthusiasm! https://www.facebook.com/events/1469560646588794/

We will also need people to help us set up on the night so if you are free beforehand then your help would be much appreciated!

GU Amnesty Climbs Goatfell!! 29th-30th March

Well we certainly tried last year but it was quite snowy…However, fingers crossed we’ll make it to the top this time!

This is a great trip and a great way to raise money. The walk isn’t too difficult so if you are keen but unsure then I would encourage you give it a try! Of course, if you have any questions then send us a message. Here’s the event page.

Don’t forget…

 

Action for Change, AIUK HQ London, 28th Feb – 1st March

Booking is now open and it’s FREE! Let us know if you are keen and we can help you to arrange travel to London.

See the event page and website for details of the agenda and the booking form.

 

Finally, one of our members is raising money by JUMPING OUT OF A PLANE, and all for a great cause. Louise would love some more sponsors, so have a look at why she’s doing it and chip in if you can.

 

Keep wrapped up in those ponchos,

Ruth

Ruth by Ruth

Rector Candidates Supporting Human Rights!

February 16, 2014 in main, news by Ruth

As you can read from Dominyka’s post, all of the candidates have expressed a commitment to promote human rights on campus. However, we have received further information from  candidates Alan Bissett and Kelvin Holdsworth that show their interest in some of the big campaigns that we have supported as a society. Whilst we are not officially backing any candidate, we agreed to pass on this information that was sent to us.

[Voting will take place this Monday and Tuesday.]

Alan Bissett

‘…in 2013 my solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe was shortlisted for an Amnesty International award, and I also co-wrote a pamphlet for Scottish PEN entitled Freedom of Expression in the New Scotland, exploring issues of censorship and press freedom.

‘I will be running a campaign which stresses equality, focusing on gender imbalance at various levels in the University and the status of refugees and immigrants.  I have already tried to tackle the disappointingly all-male selection for Rector, but only being elected would fully enable me to do this.

‘I held a Q&A in the QMU last week, which was very productive, and I spoke to representatives from Crossing Borders and STAR about the problems facing asylum seekers and refugees at the university, such as them being treated simply as ‘foreign students’, regardless of their particular needs and vulnerabilities.

‘I do of course recognise the excellent work which has been done by Amnesty students on the CFCI initiative, and would hope to carry this forwards if elected Rector.  Indeed, I spoke about this very issue in my latest interview with Qmunnicate magazine.’

 

Kelvin Holdsworth

‘In recent months, the human rights issue that I’ve been most connected with is the campaign for Equal Marriage where I’ve been one of the consistent campaigners in favour of marriage equality since long before the major equality organisations got involved in Scotland and in a workplace which is directly homophobic, sexist and discriminatory. Fighting those issues within church circles has kept me fairly busy over the last few years and it is good to be able to celebrate successes – the passage of legislation to allow bishops to be elected in my church without regard to gender, the Equal Marriage legislation passing at last at Holyrood are very public joys. Alongside those I’ve been involved in advocating for gender equality in less public roles in the church as well as campaigning against religious voices who encourage discrimination in Africa that leads to both violence and a situation where HIV prevention work cannot take place.

‘In recent months, I’ve been outspoken about human rights abuses in Commonwealth countries ahead of the Commonwealth Games in the summer. My call for politicians to be challenged to raise human rights issues with overseas leaders coming to Glasgow this summer was covered on the front page of the Herald newspaper at Christmas as well as in a very helpful leader article – see here: http://kelvin-holdsworth.co.uk/human-rights-and-the-commonwealth-games/

I’ve invited Peter Tatchell to my church in July to give a public human rights lecture and look forward to using that even to raise the profile of human rights just when the Games are beginning.’

 

It’s great that candidates are taking human rights seriously and I hope you find this information useful.