Archive for the ‘Group news’ Category

Sad news

Posted: June 24, 2020 in Group news
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The Salisbury Amnesty group is very sad to record the death of one of its founder members, Michael Stokely.  He has remained a stalwart supporter and contributed to meetings right up to lockdown.  He was ‘in at the start’ and the group’s continuing success is due in no small part to his efforts.  He will be sadly missed.


We had a short meeting this month because the meeting date coincided with the Evensong at the Cathedral.  The minutes are attached with thanks to group member Lesley for preparing them.

March minutes (Word)

The two speakers from south America at the SW Regional conference (Pic: Salisbury Amnesty)

 


Annual Evensong held in the Cathedral

Update: 14 March.  Ben Rogers has kindly sent us the text of his talk which is attached at the bottom of this post.

The Salisbury group is grateful to the Cathedral for holding an Evensong once a year marking the work of Amnesty International and enabling us to nominate a speaker during the course of the service.  About 60 attended last nights service.  For many years the Cathedral has provided space for the group to display each month an appeal for a Prisoner of Conscience.  This month it is Ahmed Mansoor a human rights defender and POC who is in prison in Abu Dhabi.  The Cathedral has a window dedicated to the work of Amnesty.

We were delighted to invite Benedict Rogers (pictured) to speak who, among other things, has a particular interest

Ben Rogers at Salisbury Cathedral (picture, Salisbury Amnesty)

in North  Korea.  Ben is East Asia Team Leader of CSW, a Christian charity which promotes religious freedom around the world.

He said that the UN regards North Korea to be in a category all of its own as far as human rights are concerned.  It violates every single human right.  As a member of CSW, they were the first to call for a commission of enquiry and two years later in 2014, the UN did so.

The gravity, scale and nature of abuses has no parallel in the modern world he said.  The report found that:

North Korea had committed crimes against humanity and manifestly failed to uphold its responsibility to protect. These crimes entail “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.  Source, Wikipedia

In 2007, CSW produced a report A Case to Answer.  A Call to Act which concluded that the human rights situation in North Korea was a crime against humanity.   Although things seem bleak, he said there were some glimmers of light.  In a recent report, Movies, Markets and Mass Surveillance, it was noted that North Koreans were getting more information about the outside world.  They were beginning to realise that life south of the border was better.  There was anecdotal evidence that prison guards did realise the world was watching.

The regime saw Christianity as a particular threat.  Anyone caught practising it faced severe punishment or could be executed.  If a carol was allowed it would only be ‘We three Kims of Orient are!’

Those who did manage to escape to China were sent back to face severe punishment in the prison camps.  There were around 200,000 thousand people in the prison camps he said.  He ended with the famous quotation mistakenly attributed to Edmund Burke:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing

Ben Rogers talk (Word)

 

 

 


Some of the forthcoming events the group is planning.

These are always subject to change so please look here or on Facebook or Twitter for the up to date position before coming along.

Evensong  An event largely organised by the Cathedral which we have held every year now for quite some time.  12 March starting at 5:30 pm.  Free to come

Thrill of Love  This is a play at the Studio Theatre in Butts Road concerning Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK.  We hope to hand out leaflets at the event (subject to permission from the theatre).  We have abolished the penalty in the UK but from time to time, a desire to reinstate it emerges especially after some terrible crime or terrorist attack.   Amnesty is opposed to the penalty in all circumstances.  We publish a monthly report on the subject.  23 – 28 March

Citizenship day  Schools event 30 June.  If anyone from one of the local schools is reading this and would like us to do our presentation in your school, please get in touch.

Market stall  In Salisbury market place morning of 11 July starting early.  Goods to sell would be welcome and we can collect if needed.  No electrical items (we cannot sell them untested) or VHS tapes please.

Film, Just Mercy  Brilliant film concerning the racially segregated south of America and a black man sentenced to death for the murder of a white girl, a crime he did not commit.  Not shown in Salisbury.  Showing at the Arts Centre 4 November.

These are the things we have planned at present.  If you are thinking of joining us you would be most welcome and introducing yourself at one of the above would be the easiest thing to do.

We are keeping a watching brief on human rights issues in the UK because several ministers and politicians would like to see the Human Rights Act abolished.   

 


The minutes of the February group meeting are available thanks to group member Lesley for preparing them.  They contain details of our activities and forthcoming events.  These are listed towards the end and are a good opportunity for someone thinking of joining to come along and make yourself known.

February minutes (Word)

Group meeting

Posted: February 13, 2020 in Group news
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the monthly group meeting takes place this evening but note it is in Attwood Road not Victoria Road.  Starts at 7:30 and members and supporters welcome.


Lively meeting this month and we were pleased to welcome another new member.  We discussed the death penalty report; North Korea; the UK government’s possible changes to the Human Rights Act and forthcoming events.  We also discussed the closure of the neighbouring New Forest group which we hope may not be permanent.  Next meeting on 13 February.

January minutes (Word)


If you are interested in human rights and would like to join us you would be very welcome.  You will see our events at the end of the minutes so making yourself known at one of those would be a way to join.  It is free to join the Salisbury group.  One of our concerns is the new government’s plans to possibly weaken human rights especially when we leave the EU so helping us with that would be appreciated.

 

Monthly meeting

Posted: January 6, 2020 in Group news
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The January meeting takes place as usual this Thursday 9th January at 7:30 in Victoria Road, Salisbury. Supporters welcome.


The minutes of the December meeting are available thanks to group member Lesley for preparing them.  We discussed the recent activities we have been engaged in together with future events such as carol singing on Tuesday night.

December minutes (Word)


December meeting of the group takes place tonight, Thursday 12th as usual in Victoria road at 7:30.  Supporters and new members welcome but it is a working meeting.

We have the carol singing next week.