Ruth

June 2014: Amnestea in the Park, Stop Torture Campaign Launch, Refugee Week and more!

Happy post-exams stress!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the sunshine. If you are still in Glasgow, we have our final event of the year – Amnestea in the Park! – as well as an exciting campaign launch which we are co-hosting with Amnesty Scotland (see below). To those of you who have already left Glasgow for good, I wish you all the best. It’s been a fantastic year and a pleasure getting to know you all throughout.

At the end of the year, we are sending £1,700 to Amnesty International UK, which is an amazing amount of money, well done everyone! This will be added to our Raise-Off total, which you can see here (along with a photo from our SPB two years ago!).

We have had our official handover meeting, so this is the last newsletter from me. If there is any more exciting news over the summer, Rob will keep you posted!

Amnestea in the Park!

The event is up! We are going ahead on the 5th despite the variable weather. We have a backup plan in case it rains! Please check the event page on the day, if there is a change of plans we will post and include some phone numbers so you can call/text and be sure of what is happening.

Amnestea is a yearly end-of-term social event which is very informal and relaxed. Feel free to turn up when you are free during the day! Even if you are brand new to us, it is a great way to get to know the people in the group and relax for an afternoon. It´s about cakes, it´s about tea, it´s about music, it´s about bunting, it´s about people, and it´s about chilling out. Sun permitting, we will set up in Kelvingrove Park and stay for the afternoon. Hope to see you there!

An old photo of a previous Amnestea in the Park (it’s always this sunny!):

Amnestea in the Park 2010

Amnestea in the Park 2010

 

25th June 2014: ‘Stop Torture’ Campaign Launch, John McIntyre Building (Room 201), 6-8pm

GU Amnesty has been helping Amnesty Scotland to organise the launch of the global Stop Torture campaign in Glasgow. We will hear from various guest speakers including the Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael. Following the presentations, there will be drinks and nibbles with the opportunity to network.

More details will be added to the event page as soon as they become available.

Stop Torture campaign: http://www.amnesty.org/en/stoptorture

25th June 2014: CFCI Petition Finally Goes to Court!

Our Conflict-Free Campus Initiative petition is being raised by David Newall (Secretary of Court) at the next meeting of the University Court. SRC President, Jess McGrellis, will speak in support and the recommendation by the Secretary of Court will be to establish a working group to meet with representatives from GU Amnesty. This would allow for a report to be produced, outlining actions that should be taken by the University. This is very exciting news, and we have high hopes that this motion will be granted.

 

Other events and opportunities:

7th June 2014: Falun Gong Film Screening and Workshop, Hillhead Library

 

For those of you who missed our film screening in March, I strongly encourage you to go along and invite your friends. This eye-opening film exposes the brutal treatment of Falun Gong Practitioners by the Chinese Communist Party.

From Yuyu:

June is Glasgow Westend Festival month. Hillhead library offered us a slot for Falun Gong Introduction to public.  We will show visiters Free China: The Courage to Believe.  The workshop is free to public on 7th June, Saturday from 2:00 to 4:45pm.

Part 1: Screening of the award-winning documentary “Free China: The Courage to Believe”, stories of two Falun Gong practitioners who stood up for their peaceful belief. For taking their stance, they were imprisoned and tortured. The documentary sheds light on how Falun Gong practitioners hold on to the universal principles of Truthfulness, Compassion and Tolenrance.

Part 2: Falun Gong exercises demonstration – everyone welcome to join.

www.falundafa.org.

 

11th June 2014: Training to Volunteer with STOP THE TRAFFIK

Interested in volunteering with STOP THE TRAFFIK at the Commonwealth Games?

From Euan at Stop the Traffik:

We are delighted to be helping to bring the UN GIFT Boxes to Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games this summer. The Boxes are a wonderful means of raising awareness of human trafficking and equipping communities to spot the signs of this abuse. You can read more about the Boxes at ungiftbox.org.

We are looking for volunteers to help out with the Boxes. You don’t need to be an expert to volunteer but you do need to come along to our training session. We will be running through everything you’ll need to know at Cafe Phoenix on Woodlands Road in Glasgow on 11 June. Come along at 5.30pm and you’ll get a wee cup of tea or a coffee.

Contact stopthetraffikglasgow@hotmail.co.uk if you have any questions.

 

16th – 22nd June 2014: Refugee Week

Don’t miss out on the many exciting events taking place this year! Visit the website to see what’s happening in Glasgow featuring events run by our friends at Philanthrobeats and STAR Glasgow.

From Scottish Refugee Council:

World Refugee Day Concert:  20th June 2014. The line-up is Young Fathers, Balkanarama and Skipinnish – all representing the rich and eclectic mix of cultures in Scotland today.

We’ve got 200 early bird tickets for sale now at the rate of £12 / £10. Once these go all tickets will be £15 / £12. All funds raised go to Scottish Refugee Council and British Red Cross to support our continuing work to provide support to refugees in Scotland.

Here’s the link:
https://www.facebook.com/events/642783769135246/

 

That’s all from me! Thank you to everyone for an incredible year of all things Amnesty. I hope you will stay involved with human rights activism next year in Glasgow or wherever you are. Good luck to Rob and the new committee, I know they will have many more new and exciting events for us to look forward to next year!

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to get in touch over summer if you have any ideas for next year, or have any news/events that you want to share with us.

Big love from the committee 2013 – 2014,

Ruth xx

Ellen MacAskill

Human Trafficking in the UK and Beyond

Hear “trafficking” and of what do you think? Women being shipped around South East Asia for sex work? Crowded sweatshops in India?

These are undoubtedly huge issues but the extent of human trafficking today is more far-reaching than many realise. On Tuesday’s meeting we kicked off our new campaign with a visit from Euan of Stop the Traffik, who volunteers in the Glasgow branch of the international charity. The grassroots group raise awareness in communities to make it more difficult for traffickers to slip through the net.

Key points from the talk were as follows:

–          Trafficking should not be confused with an immigration problem.

–          Trafficking equals slavery.

–          Traffickers’ prerogative is the exploitation of vulnerability.

On the same day that we held our meeting, the National Crime Agency released a report which shows that the number of trafficked people in the UK has more than doubled in the past year. They stated that their estimate numbers will be far below the actual number, which remains hidden from view. Euan suggests that the increased statistics may be down to an improvement in detection processes. Apparently there are more slaves in the world today than there ever have been in the past.

Victims of trafficking can be lured by the promise of marriage or work. They can be forced into prostitution, unpaid labour, domestic slavery, or crime activity. Violence, rape and induced drug and alcohol addiction are all used as weapons of control. Psychological control is a less detectable but equally dangerous method.

Euan gave some specific examples of trafficking in the UK. One young Nigerian girl was promised marriage in the UK but found herself being forced to work in a brothel. When she became pregnant, she was forced into abortion, then later turned out onto the street. In another case four Czech men seeking work were enslaved in Birmingham and made to live in slum-like conditions.

The internet has put vulnerable victims within the reach of traffickers in ways that were not previously possible. The “business” is the second most profitable of all organised crime. When considering why the industry is catching up with drug-dealing in terms of money quanitites, Euan says: “You can sell a body again and again.” These chilling thoughts can go some way to explain why the problem continues to grow.

Stop the Traffik are focussing on two international campaigns at the moment, targeted at the cotton industry and the chocolate industry. Fairtrade branding only refers to the picking and harvesting of the cotton. The manufacturing stage goes un-policed and many Western clothing chains are oblivious to the fact that people in the factories they buy from have been trafficked or are being underpaid. Children, particularly in West Africa, are often used to collect cocoa beans for no payment. One Amnesty member from Ghana suggests that people there might give their children to family members to be worked on their farms for nothing, so the children themselves are not aware that they are being abused. Consumer awareness can put pressure on ignorant Western companies to decrease demand for cheap labour and tackle the problem.

In April, Stop the Traffik will be lobbying at the Scottish Parliament to push a proposed bill which addresses the issue. Amongst other things, it outlines a new victim support service and a single coherent definition of what human trafficking is. Unfortunately the Scottish Parliament have not yet backed the bill, instead turning attention to Westminster’s Modern Slavery bill, which is more focussed on crime rather than the implicated human rights abuses.

If you are in Glasgow during the Commonwealth Games, look out for Stop the Traffik’s ‘Gift Boxes’ popping up on the streets, which lure in passers-by with an attractive exterior then reveal to them the realities of human trafficking on the inside.

Have a look on http://www.stopthetraffik.org/ for more information.

 

On a brighter note: SECRET POLICEMAN’S BALL!

Hopefully you have all got your tickets by now and are looking forward to an evening of jokes and merriment.

If not then get them for the reduced advanced price of £5/7 (with after-party) up until midnight on Friday by clicking here:

http://www.guamnesty.org.uk/spb-2014/

Also if you missed it and want a taster for the event, here’s an article that qmunicate let me write about why it will be so wonderful:

http://qmunicatemagazine.com/2014/02/11/secret-policemans-ball-stand-up-for-human-rights/

See you there folks.

Ruth

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

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