Rob Hallam

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

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.

Rob Hallam

Newsletter 2014-11-23: Food Banks, JAMNESTY and Reclaim the Night

Special Notice

We are continuing our food collection for Maryhill Food Bank. Please bring along cans, jars and packets of food as you have been so generously doing. MFB have a particular preference for certain items that they typically run short of, so if you could bring any of the following in particular that would be even better: puddings, cereal packs, porridge, nappies, wipes, tinned fruit, pasta sauces, sweetcorn, peas, baby food jars or kids clothes. Thank you for continuing to support Maryhill Food Bank so generously!

Maryhill Foodbank support a lot of people with the food and items they give out. In the middle: the boxes of food generously donated by you guys!

Maryhill Foodbank support a lot of people with the food and items they give out. In the middle: the boxes of food generously donated by you guys!

Here we are with our second newsletter powered by MailChimp! I appreciate everyone’s patience while we work through the teething problems- last week’s newsletter initially went out unformatted, but a little wind-like coding brought a template into usability! The template still needs a bit of tweaking to get the margins lining up prettily, so continued patience is appreciated. As usual we would strongly welcome feedback; you can find our contact details on the website, or if you are reading this in email form you can simply hit reply!

I’d like to extend a huge thanks to Julie Webster who came down from Maryhill Food Bank to give us the thoroughly interesting and enjoyable talk and Q&A session. It drove home both how important the work they do is and how much of a difference it – and we – can make. A big well done to Seb for getting that organised! Enthusiasm for this campaign and our support is clearly still high, so I have high hopes for our collaboration with the SRC and other groups to do a big food drive!

I also want to say a big thanks to Joe for organising and Harry and the Hendersons for coming along to our lovely Jamnesty Preview Social last week! We got to hear some excellent tunes, which I look forward to hearing again on Wedesday!

This Week

It’s a big one with lots on this week folks!

Tuesday 25th November: Jamnesty, Different Aspects of Food Banks and LGBTI+/Homelessness

Tuesday 25th November 2014 5PM, QMU Committee Room 1

This week’s meeting will have a few different aspects relating to what we’ve been looking at with food banks, while still being new and fresh:
– A little spiel about what to expect from Jamnesty, with a last chance to buy tickets!
– A brief overview of the situation homeless people face with regards to food
– An intro and discussion of challenges facing LGBTI+ people who are homeless (with photo action)

Lastly, our intention is to visit supermarkets to do some food collection- we have asked Julie Webster for some guidance on this, so don’t be intimidated 🙂

Please also remember to bring along any plastic bottles you might have which we can put to good use for Jamnesty decorations!

Wednesday 26th November: JAMNESTY!

Wednesday 26th November 7PM, Stereo, Renfield Lane

It’s here! This week, it’s Jamnesty time:

Jamnesty Poster

It’s gonna be great

Everybody has been working so hard on this, I know it’s going to be a great night! We’ve all been looking forward to this for a long time, and here it is now. If you don’t have your ticket already, you can buy them online. We’ve got folks high-tailing back from London to make it to the night, so set aside some time and come along!

Thursday 27th November: Reclaim the Night

Thursday 27th November 2014 6:15PM, Starting at Botanic Gardens

Reclaim the Night 2013 (Crop)

Last year’s Reclaim the Night march… we totally didn’t miss the start and join in by intercepting the people marching. Nossir.

If you’ve read any of the newsletters for the past month you’ll already know about this march, but this is coming up this week on Thursday. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the march, and this year’s theme is women’s safety on campus. The march will take place from the Botanic Gardens on Great Western Road and will proceed to the STUC on Woodlands Road via University Avenue. After, there will be a rally at the STUC with speakers including Denise Mina, patron of Glasgow Rape Crisis centre and Vonnie Sandlan, NUS women’s officer.

More information is available from the Glasgow Rape Crisis website.

You can see photos from last year’s march which we took part in after a Tuesday meeting.

Coming Up & What’s On

End of Term: Christmas Caroling and Social

Day TBC

We’ve still to confirm a day for this, but we’re aiming for a couple of weeks from now. Every year we have a Christmas social and go out and sing some carols. We may hold both of these on the same afternoon/evening this year, so keep your eyes peeled for more details to follow. If you’re worried about singing or coming along to these as you don’t know folks too well please have no fear! We’re no orchestral choir (speaking for myself here!), and regardless of ability it’s a good way to get to know the rest of the lovely folks in the society.

Light Against Darkness: Syrian Children’s Art Exhibition

St Mary’s Cathedral, Great Western Road, 21-30 November 2014

Light Against Darkness

An example of the art on display in ‘Light Against Darkness’ at St Mary’s Cathedral.

“The whole thing moves from the darkness and trauma of war to the light of the return to happiness and life.”
Brian Larkin, Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre

If you have 20-30 minutes to spare this week I would strongly encourage you to go along to the art exhibition featuring the work of Syrian refugee children at St Mary’s this week. We were in attendance for the launch on Friday (partly due to the relevance for our Syrian Refugee Week in January) and the art is incredibly moving.

Picture the usual crayon or paint drawings of kids, the type you would have done back in school. Houses, people, cars. Except here, the houses are broken. The people are lying down, surrounded by red. And instead of cars, there are tanks. Much of the art has captions to go with it. ‘I want to go home but it’s no there anymore’. ‘We hid in the basement but my grandfather was hit in the leg with shrapnel’. ‘I miss my town but I see it all the time on the news’. Heart-rending stuff.

I don’t want to describe it further as my words cannot do the experience justice. It’s not far (closer than Munros) along Great Western Road; about a block past Kelvinbridge subway. I’m not sure if Brian Devlin of the Children’s War Museum will be there through the week, but if he is – and I’m sure he would introduce himself – have a chat to him as well, as he can tell some of the story behind the exhibition.

There’s a related article on BBC News.

Photo Action for Prageeth Eknaligoda

One of the things we’ve been wanting to do this year is more online actions- things folks who cannot make the meetings can do from home (or the library!). Since people seemed interested in this, I thought I would include a photo action sent to us by Jim McDonald, the Sri Lanka Country Specialist at AI USA (you may have seen him post on our page before). Here’s the message:

Friends,

Prageeth Eknaligoda, a disappeared Sri Lankan journalist/cartoonist, is one of this year’s featured AIUK’s Write for Rights cases. See http://amnesty.org.uk/write-rights-prageeth-eknaligoda-sri-lanka

Besides writing the Sri Lankan government and sending a solidarity message to Prageeth’s wife Sandya, I’d ask that AIUK activists participate in a photo action for Prageeth. I’ve set up a dedicated page on Flickr for him; see http://www.flickr.com/photos/whereisprageeth. I’d like to get as many photos as possible on the Flickr page by Jan. 24 (the fifth anniversary of his disappearance), at which time I’d share the photos with Sandya and the Sri Lankan government.

Directions on how to do the photo action, along with a sample sign, can be found at http://www.amnestyusa.org/pdfs/AI_SL_flickr_photo_action_kit.pdf. People could use the sample sign or create their own signs saying “Where is Prageeth?” (in English or another language). As the directions say, photos can be emailed directly to the Flickr page. Or people could just send photos to me through Facebook, email them to me at jmcdonald@aiusacs.org, or send them to me through Twitter (@jmccdon).

Thanks a lot for any help anyone can give on this action. Take care.

The Flickr page has 275 photos at time of writing- let’s add GU Amnesty’s finest effort to that! Show them that Glasgow cares. Here’s my contribution:

Action for Prageeth

Instructions are in the Amnesty USA link above. We’ve nearly 1000 subscribers to this newsletter, so grab your phone or camera, write #WhereisPrageeth and send the snap to Flickr. If you’re tweeting, mention @guamnesty and we’ll give it an RT!

I should also mention that our friends over at the Strathclyde Uni Amnesty group are doing a film screening tomorrow, Monday 24th November at 6PM in the Lounge on Level 5 of their Union (it’s a big union!). The film is No Fire Zone – Killing Fields of Sri Lanka so if you are interested and have time I would recommend popping along and saying hi from us!

Strathclyde will also be taking part in the photo petition above – let’s get a whole bunch of photos in solidarity.

Request for Comments: FAQs

One of the great ideas our Website Officer Siuan had recently is to get a page started to answer some frequently asked questions; things like “What is a typical weekly meeting like?” or “How can I be involved?”. So to that end we’ve created a page for FAQs!

We’re still gathering the questions and writing the answers, so if you have a suggestion or a question, please either email us or use the form on that page. Thanks!

Thanks for Reading

With everyone stressing out about exams, I thought this week’s ‘thanks for reading’ bonus reward value loyalty points members club perk should be something suitably anodyne:

Dog And Cat

D’aww

Not enough for you? Alright, have another one:

Dog and Cat 2

A particularly snuggly ear to be sure

And with that, I think the internet might have exploded. For those of you with deadlines who appreciate feline-based incentives, you might want to have a look at Written? Kitten! which rewards meeting word counts with cute kitten pictures. Everybody wins!

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.

Rob Hallam

Newsletter 2014-11-14: Food Banks Q&A, Jamnesty Preview, Newsletter Update

Special Notice

Special notice: We are still collecting for Maryhill Food Bank this week, so please keep up the generosity and bring along cans and packets of food on Tuesday at 5! Thank you!

The newsletter got sent out without formatting due to an oversight in settings, so this will probably be the second copy you receive- apologies for that! The template needs a bit of tweaking, but this will suffice for this week.

Welcome to another instalment of the newsletter! Hopefully this week the newsletter will actually reach more than half of our lovely subscribers (that’s you!); if you were following the situation or are subscribed to the mailing list with a Yahoo or Hotmail address, you’ll know that the newsletter wasn’t delivered last week. My apologies to anyone affected by this. In the meantime, we’ve moved to MailChimp for newsletter delivery.

There will be a bit of a transition while we get used to how MailChimp works. The design of the email version of the newsletter may change a bit, but hopefully delivery should be rock solid. If you have any feedback or want to report any issues please do contact us.

Last week saw the kickoff of our third chosen campaign for the first semester: food banks. This is a completely new campaign for us, so it’s really exciting to start getting our teeth into it. A big well done to Rebecca and Seb for putting together an interesting and varied meeting! It was extremely provocative. Those that missed the meeting or would like a reminder can find more info in our weekly blog writeup.

As I promised in the last newsletter, I will try and keep this as brief as possible, so on with the show!

This Week: More on Food Banks – Q&A and the Situation Elsewhere; Then Crafting!

Tuesday 18th November 2014 5PM, Committee Room 1, QMU

Maryhill Food Bank

Last week we saw the video wherein Julie Webster talks about Maryhill Food Bank, the running of it, some of the cases of people who use it and so forth. This Tuesday we’re hoping to get her along to the meeting to do a brief talk and Q&A session, which is a great opportunity to learn more about food banks in general and Maryhill Food Bank in particular. Get your thinking caps on for those questions!

We will also have a brief talk about the situation on food banks elsewhere- Sarah’s mention last week of laws prohibiting the feeding of homeless people caused a not inconsiderable amount of consternation, and we’ll take the opportunity to revisit that in a little more detail.

Lastly, we are at time of writing only 12 days away from Jamnesty! So after the food banks chat there will be a crafting session to bank the big banner for the night. If you could also save and bring any plastic bottles you have, we could really use those for decoration! Thank you.

Jamnesty Is Getting Near

Wednesday 26th November 2014, Stereo, Renfield Lane

Jamnesty 2014 Banner

You may have seen a number of brave souls enduring the wind and rain on Library Hill, going around shops and cafes and handing out one of our lovely fliers:

Jamnesty 2014 Flier FrontJamnesty 2014 Flier Back

These awesome folk are the people doing the flyering. Big time kudos to them all! If we want to pack out Stereo – which we do – we need to make people aware that this big amazing event is happening on the 26th. So if you haven’t already get inviting’! If you have them, please bring plastic bottles along to the meetings so that we can use them for decorations.

Jamnesty Social & Preview: MINI-JAM with Harry & The Hendersons and Twister!

Twister!
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/673470369433251/

So as above you’re all undoubtedly inviting your friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances and people on the street, telling them to buy tickets and spread the word further. But they’re not sure about the music, or how cool we are. Maybe they think it will be a night of proselytising? Well, you can allay their fears! We’ve got a preview social for you.

Come along and hear one of the fabby bands playing on the 26th – Harry & The Hendersons – and join us for bingo, twister, drinks and possibly more!

If nothing else, come along on the 26th and enjoy yourself 🙂

Coalition for Syrian Refugees Meeting

Wednesday 19th November 2014, 4PM, Fraser Building

We’re only a few weeks away from the end of term, and the Syrian Week is pretty close to the start of semester 2. The week is taking shape, but if you or someone you know would be interested in being involved in organising events for the week there is a meeting this Wednesday at 4 in the Fraser Building. Please feel free to come along even if you haven’t before.

International Women’s Week 2015

IWW

It’s a while away yet – International Women’s Day is March 8th – but the planning for International Women’s Week 2015 will be starting soon. As with last year there will be an organising committee forming to coordinate all the various events, and if you’re interested please let us know by email. Otherwise keep an eye on Facebook as we will be posting information on meetings etc there.

It’s a great opportunity to be involved in a big-impact very visible event or the whole week of events, and last year there was a big team made of up of lots of different societies so you’ll have platy of support. Don’t be shy!

SPB Poster Competition Winner, Kaitlyn Hair!

We have a winner in the Secret Policeman’s Ball 2015 Poster Competition:

SPB 2015 Poster Competition Winner

Congratulations to Kaitlyn Hair for her winning entry! It’s bold and eye-catching, which is just what we want in a poster for a bold night of comedy! Kaitlyn wins two tickets to the Secret Policeman’s Ball. Well done to all the other entrants too; the quality of entries was high and it was a tough choice this year, as ever.

Upcoming Events

These are reminders from last week, but since most folk didn’t get the newsletter I reckon this is fair game.

GHRN: Sakharov Prize 2014

Thursday 20th November 5.30PM, Room 916, Adam Smith Building, University of Glasgow

Since this is coming up through the Glasgow Human Rights Network, I thought I’d mention it as it may be of interest to some to go along and hear about the nominees.

The European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is awarded every year to honour exceptional individuals who combat intolerance, fanaticism and oppression. This year the European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, who helps thousands of rape victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Students on the MSc Human Rights & International Politics course will set out the case for each nominee for the Prize. This will be followed by a Q&A session, a public debate and vote.

The discussion will be followed by a wine reception. Everyone is welcome. If you would like to attend, please register on Eventbrite.

These events are a good way to meet other folks involved in human rights work and research; or network 🙂

Reminder: Reclaim the Night March

Thursday 27th November 2014, Starting at Botanic Gardens 6:15PM

I mentioned this in a previous newsletter, but it’s worth bearing in mind.

This year’s march will take place on Thursday 27th November (that’s the day after Jamnesty!) with assembly at 6:15 PM outside Botanic Gardens on Great Western Road (opposite Oran Mor).

You can see photos from last year’s march which we took part in after a Tuesday meeting.

Thanks for Reading

Given the news this week, I thought the following image would be appropriate:

The image shows comet 67P/CG acquired by the ROLIS instrument on the Philae lander during descent on Nov 12, 2014 14:38:41 UT from a distance of approximately 3 km from the surface. The landing site is imaged with a resolution of about 3m per pixel.

The image shows comet 67P/CG acquired by the ROLIS instrument on the Philae lander during descent on Nov 12, 2014 14:38:41 UT from a distance of approximately 3 km from the surface. The landing site is imaged with a resolution of about 3m per pixel. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/ROLIS/DLR

1

For the first time, humanity has landed a robot on a comet. We have automated robots on the surface of Mars – Opportunity has been going for over ten years at this point – and now we have a robot on a comet. We may see a lot of terrible, desperate things as an Amnesty International group, but the way I see it is this is one of the things that makes you proud to be a human. Nice work, ESA.

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.

Rob Hallam

Newsletter 2014-10-31: Pub Quiz Success, Human Trafficking and Updates


Boo!

November is nearly upon us- where did October go? It’s practically Christmas already…

This week’s newsletter is coming to you all slightly early as I and other dignified delegates are London-bound for the Amnesty International Student Conference 2014! We’ll come back informed, motivated and excited (even moreso) about all things Amnesty.

Let me start by thanking everyone who came along to the Pub Quiz- although one team scored the most points*, in my view you are all winners for having braved the howling wind and rain on Sunday to come and support one of our fundraising nights. Pat yourselves on the back. Of course I’d also like to thank Joe and Seb for doing an excellent job of hosting, all the people who wrote questions, ran last-minute printer dashes, brought decorations along, helped mark, took photos, and everything else which helped the night run smoothly. And another well done to Joe for coordinating it all! Early tallies look like we raised over £200, so it was a very successful night!

  • I was later informed that the winning team re-gifted their winnings! You guys are the coolest; and I’ll sign papers to that effect!

I’d also like to extend our gratitude to Dr Marco Goldoni for kindly coming along to give us that very informative talk. I found the issues and conundrums raised fascinating and useful for framing future discussion around the role of the law in relation to race and human rights.

Lastly for this intro, I’d like to say congratulations to Ruth over at the Coalition for a Conflict Free Glasgow University (GU CFCI) for putting on an excellent conference. The speakers were very informative, with a broad base of the subject being covered. It seemed to inspire the folks who were there on Wednesday, and roll on the next Senate meeting! We will continue to support the CFCI, but if anyone is interested in working on that directly, get in touch with the group via their Facebook page and Ruth will get you involved.

This Week: Human Trafficking

Tuesday 4th November, 5PM QMU Committee Room 1

Human trafficking

This week we’ll be looking at Human Trafficking, our next chosen campaign for the first semester. We are trying to confirm another guest speaker for Tuesday, and we may also have a film clip to show you.

It’ll be another exciting meeting for our second campaign of the year (as chosen by YOU)!

Jamnesty Tickets On Sale Now!

Wednesday 26th November, 7PM, Stereo, Renfield Lane

Jamnesty 2014 Banner

I’m delighted to announce that tickets for Jamnesty next month are now available online. It will be a fab night of music and DJing for £5 (£4 without afterparty) which is a damn good price per hour of entertainment.

With music to blow you away from Chrissy Barnacle, Hannah Jackson, The Van T’s, Harry & the Hendersons, and Sunshine Social; and featuring DJing ’til 3 from Flore De Hoog, Heavy Daze, and DJ Hushpuppy.

Join the Facebook event and invite your friends. It’s going to be a big one – get booking now!

Reminder: SPB Poster Competition

Friday 31st October

Just a reminder that this week is the deadline for submitting entries to the SPB poster competition. The details are in a previous newsletter which you can find on our website.

The deadline is 31st October 2014 and the grand prize is two tickets to this year’s SPB. Plus the whole bunch of kudos and exposure of having your design plastered around the West End and online. We’ve had a couple of entries already, so get cracking! (If you can’t quite make it for Friday, send them in over the weekend and we’ll still consider them).

Please send your entries to spb@guamnesty.org.uk; and good luck to all entrants!

Syrian Refugee Week Update

26th Jan – 1st February 2015

Just a quick update on a meeting that the coalition held for the Syrian Week that’s being held at the start of next year. We are in the process of firming up events; the hope is that in collaboration with the other societies involved to have one each day. It’s very exciting to have other societies onboard and keen to organise things too- the collaborative spirit! The events that have been suggested so far include:

  • An introductory lecture
  • A workshop on the asylum seeking process in the UK that Syrian refugees would face
  • Documentary screening and Q&A
  • Panel discussion
  • Fundraising ceilidh
  • Pub quiz!

There may be more events added to this list as more societies get involved. We heard that the SRC are happy to endorse this as an official week of events, which is great news!

Thanks to Oxfam, GRASS, Unicef, GU Catholics Society and CFCI for coming along and getting stuff planned; and to Alex for chairing the meeting!

Submission to Smith Commission

Friday 31st October 5PM 2014

Smith Commission

We’re doing a short-but-important submission for the Smith Commission, as I mentioned at the meeting this past Tuesday. While we want to stay away from any thorny political issues; but given the Rights Referendum campaign that went on during the indyref we felt this was a huge opportunity to reinforce the call for and importance of human rights as part of any settlement process.

Update: We have submitted our recommendations, which I attach a copy of here.

GUAmnesty-SubmissiontoSmithComission

We would encourage individual members to read others submissions and make their own voice heard, which can be done through the Commission’s website. Let us know if you submit anything!

Online Petition: Urge DoJ Action on Lethal Force

Apropos of the work we’ve been doing on Ferguson, including all the great letter-writing everyone did, we thought it would be worthwhile to do an online action to follow this up as well. From Amnesty USA:

The ongoing protests in Ferguson Missouri have ignited a national conversation about the persistent and widespread pattern of racially discriminatory treatment by police across the United States, including unjustified stops and searches, ill treatment and excessive, and sometimes lethal, use of force.

The U.S. government must do more to ensure policing practices nationwide are brought into line with international human rights standards, including the use of lethal force, and to address systemic racial discrimination. The Department of Justice has failed to collect accurate, comprehensive national data on police use of force, including the numbers of people killed or injured through police shootings or other types of force.

Go ahead and sign the petition now.

Thanks to Sarah for pointing the petition out!

Reclaim the Night March

Thursday 27th November 2014, Starting at Botanic Gardens 6:15PM

Reclaim the Night 2013 (Crop)

This is a month away but it’s worth getting on everyone’s radar now, which is code for “I hope you enjoy being reminded about this for the next four newsletters”.

This year’s march will take place on Thursday 27th November (that’s the day after Jamnesty!) with assembly at 6:15 PM outside Botanic Gardens on Great Western Road (opposite Oran Mor).

I’ll give more details closer to the time, and we’ll be looking for folks to come along and carry banners or candles. It’s a fairly short march but it always has a good atmosphere, so whether you’ve been before or not come along!

You can see photos from last year’s march which we took part in after a Tuesday meeting.

More Photo Updates

In case you missed it, the pub quiz photos were published from last week.

Because of the talk by Dr Goldoni on Tuesday and the group work afterwards I only managed to take one photo on Tuesday!

The photos from the Conflict in the Congo conference hosted by GU CFCI will go up on their Facebook page soon, but in the meantime please enjoy one sample below!

Pub Quiz
Meeting 6
Conflict in the Congo Conference

Thanks for Reading

This week’s bonus comes to us courtesy of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies / University of Wisconsin-Madison, where one of the many visualisations they produce is a composite total-precipitable water graph:

Map of world showing total precipitable water

(click for bigger version)

Now ain’t that real purdy? You can see more on the MIMIC-TPW page.

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.

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

 

 

Rob Hallam

A Few Photos from EGM/Syria Meeting

These shots of the room were taken before the documentary, not after- otherwise the expressions would be quite different.

Ellen MacAskill

Syria: A Humanitarian Crisis Three Years On

Syria has been in the headlines this week. It has been in the headlines for three years now. And the humanitarian crisis in a country wreaked by civil war only continues to get worse.

Why has more not been done? Why does the conflict persist? What can we do to help?

After a screening in Tuesday’s meeting of BBC Panorama’s ‘Saving Syria’s Children’, I think I speak for us all when I say we were left harrowed, speechless, and asking these questions.

On the following day the UK government announced plans to take in 500 of the most vulnerable refugees – with Nick Clegg insisting that this was an exhibition of our “open-hearted” nature – and the Glasgow University Coalition for Syrian Refugees hosted a panel discussion. The title:

‘Syria: I Can Still See Hope’

The CSR is a collaboration of societies on campus, including Amnesty International, put together to raise funds and awareness for Syria’s plight. Five speakers on Wednesday gathered to inform an audience of students and answer their questions.

First to speak was Kurt Mills, a senior lecturer in social sciences and representative of the Glasgow Human Rights Network. He tackled the day’s headlines straight away: 9.3 million Syrians need assistance and the few hundred that the UK are willing to help is a mere 0.0008% of our own population. Mills said that we should demand more than this “cynical ploy” and stop relying on the £600 million that we have donated in aid. Monetary aid is helpful, yes, but it ultimately keeps Syrians “bottled up” in an unsafe country.

Three speakers from charities stood up to describe the challenges of the situation and emphasise the good work that is already being done. Tristan Jones from Medicine Sans Frontiers outlined the struggle to deliver medical care in a warzone where hospitals themselves have been targeted. A dwindling number of doctors and resources tackling a huge number of casualties means that basic needs are often not met. MSR have been sending doctors to hidden locations, and giving vaccinations to children and antenatal care to women.

From British Red Cross, Patrick MacIntyre told us about the work of the charity in conjunction with Syrian Arab Red Crescent. They work under the principles of “impartiality and neutrality” to provide aid such as medicine, food and hygiene. An Emergency Appeal for Syria was first launched in 2012 and has been extended since.

Amby Karamchedu, president of GU UNICEF, focussed on the work being done to help children in refugee camps, such as Zaatari in Jordan, and in Syria itself. Crossing the border does not guarantee security for Syria’s 6 million affected children. UNICEF’s current aim is to “winterise” the camps so that refugees can deal with the extreme climate. Education is often neglected in Syria and the surrounding refugee camps, despite its benefits for the future of the country. Amby mentioned that campaigner Malala Yousafzai travelled to New York to urge UNICEF executives to increase focus on basic education.

The most moving speech of the night came from a courageous man who cannot be named. From the ancient city of Damascus, he fled Syria when he became endangered by the state. Many of his family and friends have met their fate since the uprisings of 2011. Recounting his story, he was overcome with emotion to the point of nearly breaking down. He urged us to recognise the “Syrian holocaust of the 21st century”.

His words silenced the room. The reaction was unanimous. No matter how many statistics we can reel off and pounds we can donate and articles we can read – nothing compares to the scale of personal tragedy that the Syrian conflict has inflicted.

The Q and A session proved interesting, with Mills pointing out that sending aid becomes more futile the longer the political situation goes un-addressed. We were urged to take individual action by donating what we can, informing ourselves and writing to MPs and newspapers.

When the question turned to the uncertain future of the country, the refugee concluded that he “can see hope as a Syrian”. The end of the conflict may not be imminent or quick, but we must continue to do all we can to give hope to Syria and its people.

If you missed the panel discussion but are interested in the Coalition for Syrian Refugees, look them up on Facebook for information and get involved at two fundraisers this Saturday the 1st, the Challenge and the Ceilidh.

 

P.S. Hello, I’m Ellen, GUAI’s new and first Press Officer! I’ll be updating the site weekly with blog posts and all the Amnesty chat you could ever need and more. See you Tuesday!

Ruth

Tuesday 28th January: EGM, Guantanamo Bay and Syria

Hello all,

This one is coming early as there is an important announcement about the EGM NEXT WEEK. The committee has decided that we would like to create the new position of Press Officer, as there is great importance of using media outlets to publicise our campaigns and events- which is something that we have not achieved due to a lack of time that everyone else on the committee experiences because there is so much else going on! Given the very exciting news that we have received in response to our LGBT rights campaign and petition to Coca-Cola, we felt that the creation of this position couldn’t wait until the AGM in March. Read on for more!

We have an updated Doodle poll for our Guantanamo Bay demonstration next week so please update your availability! http://www.doodle.com/fr7gq32u4xr2rkq6

Next meeting: Tuesday 28th January, 5pm -7pm Room 433 St. Andrews Building

**We are back in the same room as last week**

Extraordinary General Meeting

There will be two positions open:

Campaigns Coordinator – responsible for overseeing the campaign actions. The person with this role will help to research the chosen campaigns and coordinate any events in collaboration with other societies/organisations. Be prepared for lots and lots of emailing.

Press Officer – responsible for engaging with student and local media as well as updating our Facebook/Twitter accounts. The person with this role will work closely with the Campaigns Coordinator and Publicity Officer to put together press releases, blogs and update Amnesty International UK with our news and planned events. AIUK has published resources to help with writing press releases and support this role.

Anyone can run for these positions and if you are interested, then you are welcome to email us and we will be happy to answer any questions.

– After the meeting we will be heading for a drink to welcome the new committee members so everyone is invited for that.

Guantanamo Bay documentary and Syria presentation with guest speakers

Last week we heard a very interesting and useful presentation on the history of Guantanamo Bay and so next week we will show a 15 minute documentary that takes a closer look at the treatment of prisoners who are still held there, the ongoing hunger strikes and the campaign for the release of British resident Shaker Aamer.

The last part of the meeting will focus on Syria with a presentation by Jana. We are also inviting some of the guest speakers from the Panel Discussion which will be held the next day so that those of you who cannot make it have still had the opportunity to hear from other organisations that are working on the to help those affected by the conflict.

Coca-Cola Petition Update

Dom has now launched GU Amnesty’s petition to Coca-Cola through Change.org, requesting that they put the LGBT rainbow on their products to truly support LGBT people as they continue to sponsor the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Not only was this a fantastic idea in the first place, but it has received special attention from the staff at Change.org who have been in contact with us to establish a plan to promote the petition further. They have told us that there are people within the USA and Ukraine who have expressed a desire to help promote the campaign, so this is very exciting news!

1)      Please sign and share with friends!

2)      Join our Thunderclap!

Coalition for Syrian Refugees Events

GU Amnesty are a member of the GU Coalition for Syrian Refugees, a group formed last year to hold events to raise money for charities who are providing aid to those affected by the conflict in Syria.

Wednesday 29th January: Panel Discussion 7-9pm, Boyd Orr LT 1

“Syria: I can still see hope”

This is shaping up to be a fantastic event so I hope you can make it!

Chairperson: Assaad Al Achi from the Syrian Non-Violence Movement, a group that AIUK is working with and supporting.

Other speakers include:

Kurt Mills, Convenor of the Glasgow Human Rights Network

A guest speaker from Syria, supported by the Scottish Refugee Council

Oxfam UK

Unicef on Campus

Friends of MSF Glasgow

Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/573301232761988/

Saturday 1st February: The Challenge and Ceilidh

The Challenge is for team of up to 4 people who are enjoy a little competition – all in the name of raising money for various funds for Syrian refugees. Registration is open from 12noon and teams will be given a list of challenges to complete in about 2 hours. The challenges are to be filmed on a smart phone and the winners will be announced at the ceilidh.

The ceilidh is happening in QUDOS at 7pm. Of course there is a raffle with some fantastic prizes, and this event will round up all our efforts and hopefully see a considerable sum raised for our cause.

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

Our multi-award winning night of comedy is back. Once again we are bringing you the biggest student charity fundraiser on campus, hosted by Billy Kirkwood.

Our afterparty is being kindly hosted by Philanthrobeats who have recently gained official charity status and have raised money for many excellent causes since their first club night in 2012. Check out their website to see their events and how to get involved!

This year looks to be even bigger and better – remember to get your tickets in advance! Here’s the event page for those on Facebook and website page for those who aren’t.

Other events

An opportunity with HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust)

**The deadline for this is the 28th January**

Do you have a passion for human rights and a talent for art, writing or campaigning? Enter the HART Scholarship Competition 2014.

The Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) works to provide lasting change through aid and advocacy for those suffering oppression and persecution. The communities we work with have little presence in the international media, and the humanitarian situations they face are largely unknown and unreported. Many live behind closed borders, meaning it is difficult for aid and support to get in, and for information to get out.

We are calling for essays, artwork and campaign strategies which focus on the political and humanitarian situations faced by our partners around the world, and which raise awareness of human rights violations.

HART Scholarships will be awarded to winning entrants, including the chance to see your work published or exhibited, or to put your campaign plan into action, a cash prize and an invite to tea in the House of Lords. For more information, please visit www.hart-uk.org/campaigns/hart-scholarship-competitions.

14th – 16th February: Students for Co-operation: Founding Conference (Birmingham)

Details on Facebook

This Week’s Meeting: Syrian Civil War, SPB and More

Hey everybody,

We’ve got another interesting week ahead of us, our main meeting is going to focus on Syria and we’re making a start on the table decorations for the Secret Policeman’s Ball. So if you want a varied and full session of human rights action, come along and meet us at our usual time a place Tomorrow – 5pm – QMU – Committee Room 1.

This Week’s Meeting:

Jana is gong to give us a presentation on the Syrian Civil War in a human rights context. It is the other end of the spectrum from what we heard last week about refugees and it’ll be a great opportunity to get an insight into the kind of conflicts that so many people flee.

Siuan is going to be organizing a group, getting stuck into the decorations for the SPB. We’re going to try to sort out candles based on the amnesty logo so if you’ve got any jam jars kicking around, please bring them along.

Nathan is going to go along to the QMU events committee to run our ideas for the after party past them, if any of you are keen to get involved in running club nights, this is a great opportunity.

Louise is going to be sorting out the PR rota and taking any tickets or money you guys have from the SPB.

Coming Up:

STAR are having Michael Collins from the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns along to give them some training on Wednesday. If any of you were inspired by our meeting last week this is a great opportunity to get some training.

On the 30th January – Glasgow Friends of Tibet are Screening ‘Dreaming of Lhasa’ (http://www.facebook.com/events/462818350444455/) which is a film about former polical prisoners in Tibet.

On the 31st Kate Allen, UK Amnesty International Director is giving a talk in the Wolfson Medical Building. Tickets are free but you need toregister ( http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5151251532/eorg) – fun bonus there are drinks afterwards.

The busiest day of GU Amnesty history 9th Feb: Scottish Student Conference – during the day Secret Policeman’s Ball – 7:30pm Secret Policeman’s Ball Afterparty – party o’clock (11:30pm)

Rob Hallam

On The Summary Executions in Aleppo

Kristyan Benedict on the Amnesty UK blog has an excellent write up on the human rights abuses that are going on in Aleppo while the fighting in the city continues. It is a long piece but well worth a read.

Link: Justifying abuse kills hope for a human rights revolution in Syria

Still from video