Ruth

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

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

Tuesday 25th February: Human Trafficking and Conflict Minerals

Hello lovely people!

I really hope that those of you who came to the Secret Policeman’s Ball on Saturday had a great night and to everyone who helped out – THANK YOU SO MUCH. The night was a huge success and we have Debbie, the SPB sub-committee and many others to thank for doing an amazing job. We’ll have an announcement of the total funds raised soon, but in the meantime you can check out all the photos!

In order to make next year’s even better, there is an anonymous online survey that you can fill in to give your views: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/D2K79F6

 

Next meeting: Tuesday 25th February, 5pm in the QMU

Human Trafficking in Russia

Duncan will be taking the first half of the meeting to talk about sex trafficking in Russia. We then have a letter-writing action as a follow-up to last week’s meeting by Euan from STOP THE TRAFFIK (Glasgow).

Conflict-Free Campus Initiative

There have been some developments in our efforts to get the University to support our conflict minerals campaign ! Well we have been invited to a meeting with David Newall (Secretary of Court) and Jo Gallagher (Head of Procurement), so that’s a start!

Conflict-what?

Last year we joined the global student movement for a ‘conflict-free’ campus. Read about the conflict-free campus initiative (CFCI) and what the campaign is all about.

I am aware that it has been quite a while since we discussed the campaign and we have quite a few new members so I will go over what the campaign is about as well as giving an update on some positive steps towards ‘conflict-free’ technologies.

 

GU International Women’s Week 3rd – 9th March

Tuesday 4th:

Women’s Rights 5pm

An Amnesty speaker will join us to talk about women’s rights.

Workshop 6pm: The role of the media in the socialisation on men and women and children

I will hold a workshop looking at how the media socialises women and men and children to think about women and womanhood.

Thursday 6th:

Rape Crisis Scotland Film Screening and Discussion

An event page with all the relevant details will be made soon, so save the dates!

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

Maisie has been organising our trip to Arran and needs to know exact numbers, so if you haven’t decided if you are going, please do by tomorrow!

Join the event or email us to let us know you are coming.

*walks/crawls up slowly, taking lots of breaks and eating lots of chocolate

Other news:

Document: International Human Rights Film Festival

There is a call for submissions to the annual Document Film Festival, so take a look to see how you can enter! http://documentfilmfestival.org/12/

8th – 9th March: Scottish Students Conference

This year Edinburgh University are hosting the Scottish Students Conference on International Women’s Day. Everyone is welcome; here is the event for the agenda.

12th – 13th April: Amnesty International UK AGM

Only one week left to book your place! All members of AIUK can attend the AGM so let us know if you are interested and we can all go together.

NB: The AGM is hosted annually in different parts of the UK so it may not be back in Scotland for another few years!

See you all tomorrow!

Ruth

Rob Hallam

To Russia With Love

While our very own Coca-Cola petition is doing swimmingly, there’s another one that the folks over At AI Norway have come up with that you might be interested in: To Russia With Love.

Each signature is marked as a dot on the picture above, and the goal is to fill the entire map of Russia with these dots.

All they’re asking for is age, gender and country. At time of writing the maps of Russia is just under 30% filled with the expanding heart- let’s help fill it further 🙂

Ellen MacAskill

The Whole Spectrum of LGBT Issues

What a great week for Scotland.

Even though it has been imminent been for some time now I cannot but be relieved, excited and proud that the last barrier has been broken. One of society’s most treasured institutions is becoming egalitarian. Finally. And with a record of 108 to 18 voting in favour, the decision was easy, without the MSPs being dictated by party whips. Scotland is the 17th country globally to fully legislate same-sex marriage, following England and Wales last year.

Also exciting is the amendment made to the first draft of the bill concerning trans couples. Last semester we had guest speaker Nathan Gale visit us from the Scottish Transgender Alliance. He spoke about how the proposed ‘spousal veto’ would stop people from having their gender confirmed off their own backs as a partner would have to confirm it for them. This breach of our basic autonomy was removed from the bill, making the bill fairer for the Ts as well as the LGBs.

You may also have noticed that the university are flying the rainbow flag on campus for the UK LGBT History Month. On Saturday GU LGBTQ+ celebrate this wonderful use for February with Queerfest. Check out their Facebook page for finalised details of the event and the afterparty.

Over in Russia, the future does not look so bright. The Sochi Winter Olympics kick off on Friday and activists and campaigners are being dealt with unfairly so Putin can avoid a scene. Pavel Lebedev was detained during the Olympic Torch relay for waving a rainbow flag. He is one of many who will be victimised for taking a stand. Last year legislation was passed which makes the promotion of ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations amongst minors’ punishable by law (Is that what they call it these days?). Homophobia is being further institutionalised when the opposite should have happened years ago.

A certain tension is hanging around the Winter Olympics as both sides of the ethical dispute wait to see what will unfold. We can only hope that Putin’s attitude can be recognised as an example of how not to use power.

coke-petition

Speaking of power: the internet. Isn’t it great sometimes? We love a petition here at Amnesty so naturally, we have jumped aboard the Change.org band-wagon. Following Coca Cola’s refusal to withdraw sponsorship from the Sochi games, despite much lobbying and deliberation, Dom conceived an idea for a petition to encourage them to symbolically repent. His brainchild asks Coca Cola to put a rainbow on their cans to represent the global LGBT community which they have ignored in their alliance with the Games.

The ‘Put a Rainbow On It’ petition has been a success, gaining more than 8000 signatures in a week. At the time of writing, the figure stands at 8,284. If your signature is not already on it, please add it and help us to reach 10,000. Below is a link (warning: refreshing the screen to watch the number grow can become addictive).

http://www.change.org/CokeRainbowFlag  

We take one step forward and Russia takes two steps back. If we keep up the good work they will catch up one day.

Rob Hallam

Lush’s ‘Sign of Love’ Photo Petition

Thanks to everyone who held the pink triangle for Lush’s Sign of Love photo petition! A quick description from Lush’s website:

We believe in love for everyone, between everyone. As part of our Sign of Love campaign, Lush are creating photo petition books which we will send to Russian embassies worldwide on the 14th February – the international day of love.

If you want to take part but didn’t get a chance, see the link above or send us your photos and we’ll pass them on to Lush.

Ruth

German Olympians will wear rainbow-colored uniforms in Sochi | For The Win

During a runway show in Düsseldorf Tuesday, German Olympians revealed vibrant new uniforms that are being called a “silent protest.”

via German Olympians will wear rainbow-colored uniforms in Sochi | For The Win.

Rob Hallam

Photos from Jamnesty!

Another BIG BIG THANKS to everyone who made Jamnesty such a wonderful night. Particular gratitude is extended to the performers (Yew, Chrissy Barnacle and Flying Penguins) who were universally excellent and who kindly agreed to perform at our charity event. It was mentioned during the night, but if you enjoyed them please check out their stuff –  they all have stuff to listen to FOR FREE (or you can pay what you want) so go for it:

And a big well done to everyone else involved as well- those who helped organise, co-ordinate, make decorations, put up decorations, take down decorations and ensure the smooth running all made it possible. You all know who you are and you all put in a lot of effort so you all share in the success.

(click on an image for a full-size popout)

Lastly, thanks to everyone that came along- you can’t have a gig night without an audience! Whilst it was a fun, entertaining night it touched on important and serious issues- equal marriage, LGBT rights in Russia and everywhere, the Transgender Day of Remembrance and the minute’s silence. These are matters close to many that were there.

 

AI UA 267/10 Russian Federation: Woman Disappeared in the North Caucasus

WOMAN DISAPPEARED IN THE NORTH CAUCASUS

RUSSIAN FEDERATION

Zalina Elhoroeva (F)

On 22 December, Zalina Elhoroeva was taken away by armed camouflaged men wearing balaclavas in the North Caucasus, Russia, according to two witnesses. Her family has filed complaints with law enforcement agencies, but Zalina has not been seen since, and her whereabouts are unknown.
Zalina Elhoroeva (Yelkhoroeva), aged 30, was travelling by taxi from Valdikavkaz in North Ossetia to Nazran in Ingushetia in the North Caucasus, accompanied by her brother’s wife. According to her family who received information from Zalina Elhoroeva’s brother’s wife and the taxi driver, on the way through the village of Chermen the road was blocked by four vehicles (models UAZ and VAZ-2114) which are often used by law enforcement agencies.

Armed camouflaged men in balaclavas who spoke native Russian requested to see their papers, following which they took Zalina Elhoroeva into a silver-coloured VAZ-2114 and drove her away without any explanation. The driver was told to drive to “Chermenskii Krug” (a checkpoint on the administrative border between North Ossetia and Ingushetia, staffed by armed law enforcement officers) and wait for her. However, Zalina Elhoroeva did not appear.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Zalina Elhoroeva was travelling to Vladikavkaz to visit her brother, Timur Elhoroev, who had been transferred from a hospital to a pre-trial detention centre by a law enforcement agency earlier in December. He was in hospital following an incident on 18 November in Nazran when unknown men opened fire at a car in which he was travelling during which he was badly wounded and the driver killed. According to human rights centre Memorial, Timur Elhoroev’s father is unaware of what charges have been made against his son.

Amnesty International has received numerous reports from Ingushetia, Noth Ossetia and across the North Caucasus in Russia of people being detained by masked members of law enforcement agencies who refuse to introduce themselves and explain the reason for the person’s detention and where he/she is being taken to. In a number of cases, after a period of initial incommunicado detention the family later learns that their relative is under investigation and being held by police or other law enforcement agencies. In other cases, such persons’ whereabouts have never become known to the family.

Enforced disappearance is a crime under international law violating the right to recognition as a person before the law, the right to liberty and the security of the person, the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the right to life.

The security situation in the North Caucasus is volatile, with violence affecting Ingushetia and North Ossetia. Armed groups have been launching sporadic attacks against law enforcement officials, but have also targeted civilians indiscriminately in suicide bombings. In September, a car bomb in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia-Alania, reportedly killed at least 17 people and left over 100 injured. There are also regularly reported allegations that law enforcement officials use unlawful methods to combat armed violence which often involve violation of human rights. Alleged cases of disappearances, unlawful detention, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and extrajudicial execution are regularly reported from across the North Caucasus.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Russian or your own language:
* Urging the authorities to establish Zalina Elhoroeva’s whereabouts and ensure her safety;
* Expressing concern that she may have been subjected to enforced disappearance;
* Calling for a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the circumstances of her possible enforced disappearance, including identifying and bringing to justice those responsible for it.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS TO: (Time difference = GMT + 4 hrs / BST + 3 hrs)

Minister of Interior
Lt-Gen A. F. Akhmetkhanov
Ministry of Interior of North Ossetia
Pushkinskaya street 10V
Vladikavkaz 362004
RSO-Alania, Russian Federation
Fax: +7 8672 53 45 54
Email: mvdosetia@rambler.ru
Salutation: Dear Mr Minister

Prosecutor of North Ossetia
Mr Vladimir Pavlovich Vekshin
Prosecutor’s Office of RSO-Alania
Pushkinskaya street 8
Vladikavkaz 362004
Republic of North Ossetia – Alania
Russian Federation
Fax: +7 8672 53 23 72
Email: info@procuror-osetia.ru
Salutation: Dear Mr Prosecutor

Head of UFSB RF for RSO-Alania
Maj-Gen Oleg Yatskov
Directorate of the Federal Security Service for North Ossetia
Mordovtseva street 6
Vladikavkaz 362040
RSO-Alania, Russian Federation
Fax: +7 8672 53 41 76
Salutation: Dear Maj-Gen Yatskov

For all numbers above, if a person answers, say clearly “FAX”.

PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEAL TO:
Mr. Alexander V. Sternik.
Embassy of the Russian Federation
13 Kensington Palace Gardens
London W8 4QX
Fax: 020 7727 8625
Email: office@rusemblon.org

PLEASE CHECK WITH THE UK SECTION IF SENDING APPEALS AFTER 04 FEBRUARY 2011.

Individuals At Risk Programme
* including Urgent Actions

Tel: 020 7033 1572
Fax: 020 7033 1503
Email: iar@amnesty.org.uk
Web: www.amnesty.org.uk/cases

Amnesty International UK
Human Rights Action Centre
17-25 New Inn Yard
London
EC2A 3EA