Posts Tagged ‘Salisbury’


Salisbury Concern for Israel, Palestine is holding a Zoom event

SCIP is holding a Zoom meeting on 29 April 2021 in which the Jerusalem academic, Jeff Halpen will speak about his ideas for the future of Palestine. Jeff is the author of Decolonising Israel: Liberating Palestine. Zoom opens at 18:45. He will be joined by three other guests. Details on the link below:


Boris Johnson’s reaction to the ICC case and Palestine

Palestine Briefing – parliamentary newsletter and briefing service


Johnson declaration undermines ICC inquiry into Palestine war crimes


Boris Johnson took a sudden last-minute decision this week to oppose the International Criminal Court inquiry launched last month into war crimes that may have been committed in the West Bank and Gaza since 2014.
While declaring his support for the ICC, the Prime Minister said this particular inquiry was “an attack on a friend and ally of the UK’s”.

In the past the ICC has turned down Palestinian requests for inquiries into Israeli conduct in Gaza and the West Bank on the grounds that Palestine was not a state. This situation changed in 2012 when Palestine was recognised as a state by the UN and again in 2015 when it was accepted as a member by the ICC – and the UK did not vote against either.

The Palestinian request for an inquiry – made in 2015 – took five years to be processed and even in 2020, when the chief prosecutor was ready to launch an inquiry, she asked a panel of judges to rule whether the ICC really had jurisdiction. Germany put forward counterarguments, as did Hungary, Brazil and Australia, but the judges ruled last month – in March 2021 – that there was no jurisdictional problem and therefore the inquiry could go ahead. Again the UK did not publicly oppose.

On the day of the announcement the Israeli prime minister launched a diplomatic offensive, summoning all his ambassadors at a weekend and ordering them to set all other work aside and lobby their host governments to block the inquiry. The lobbying appears to have been successful. That is why the Prime Minister’s announcement, which is of vital, even existential, significance to a Palestinian state, was made neither in Ramallah, nor in Jerusalem, nor even by the Foreign Secretary in the House of Commons, but in a letter from Downing Street to the Conservative Friends of Israel.

Palestinian ambassador Husam Zomlot said: “It is clear that the UK now believes Israel is above the law. There is no other interpretation of a statement that gives carte blanche to Israel. If ‘friends and allies’ are exempt from international law, there is no foundation for the rules-based global order.”

Two questions now arise. The Middle East minister made a statement about the ICC inquiry on March 2nd which made no mention of a change in policy. What happened since then to change the Prime Minister’s mind?

Secondly, Scottish QC Karim Khan takes over as ICC Prosecutor in June and will be responsible for conducting the inquiry. Could the Prime Minister’s letter conflating UK support for reform of the ICC with the UK’s new-found opposition to an inquiry be intended to influence him?

Dear Stephen, Eric and Stuart,

As you are aware, the UK is a strong supporter of the ICC in line with its founding statute. We have been working with other countries to bring about positive change at the Court’. This process has been driven by our ambition to strengthen the ICC. The election of two highly qualified UK nationals, Judge Joanna Korner QC and Karim Khan QC, to the roles of Judge and Prosecutor to the ICC respectively, will help serve reform. This was a key priority for the UK, demonstrating our enduring commitment to strengthening the Court and serving international justice.

As a founder member of the ICC, we have been one of its strongest supporters and continue to respect the independence of the institutions. We oppose the ICC’s investigation into war crimes in Palestine. We do not accept that the ICC has jurisdiction in this instance, given that Israel is not a party to the Statute of Rome and Palestine is not a sovereign state. This investigation gives the impression of being a partial and prejudicial attack on a friend and ally of the UK’s.

Yours ever, Boris


We decided to reconvene via Zoom for a group meeting in March 2021 and ended up having a great deal to talk about. The minutes of that meeting are available thanks to group member Lesley for writing them up. The group will be taking a great interest in the forthcoming debate in parliament where it looks as though the government will be using the cover of Covid to limit the right to demonstrate and to give the police and Home Secretary greater powers to limit such demonstrations. We are also keeping a watching brief over the plans to alter the Human Rights Act, promised in several Conservative manifestos.

We were pleased to welcome a new member. New members welcome of course and leaving a message here or on Facebook is the best way.

March minutes (Word)


Meeting via Zoom

TONIGHT!

After an absence of a year, the group is to hold a meeting on Zoom next Thursday, 11th March at 7:30 pm.  It will mostly be a working meeting but any local supporter is welcome to join.  If you would like to, leave a message here or via Facebook or contact one of us.


Physicians for Human Rights website added to the list of sites (at the bottom of the page)


Farrants singing in an earlier year

Last evening we went carol signing in Albany and Belle View Roads in Salisbury with a group of singers from the Farrants.  It was a bit touch and go whether we would do it this year and we certainly had to scale things down.  The singers had to observe distance rules and of course we could not go close to doorways.  We were delighted with the response though and several family groups stood in their doorways to enjoy carols sung by a choir of dedicated singers.  With thanks to the Farrants, group members Jonathan, Joanna and Lesley for helping.  This is around the 15th year we have sung carols in this area of Salisbury.  

We would like to wish all our supporters and followers, a Happy Christmas and a safe New Year.

19 December 2021

 

 

 


Christmas tree festival

The Salisbury group took part in the annual Christmas tree festival organised each year by St Thomas’s church in the city.  Our photo was taken in the Cathedral and was placed in front of the Amnesty candle which stands in the Trinity Chapel.  We are grateful to the Cathedral for allowing us to place it there.  All the entries can be seen by clicking this link.

Tree featuring Human Rights Defenders

 

 

Welcome!

Posted: November 4, 2020 in Death penalty, Film
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If you come here following the film Just Mercy shown at Playhouse, welcome and the case we referred to can be accessed from this link.   It concerns a singer in Nigeria who is at risk of execution.  As was explained, Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all circumstances.  It is not a deterrent and mistakes which are many, cannot be rectified once someone has been executed.

The group produces a monthly report on cases and issues surrounding the penalty around the world and the most recent can be found here.  We have also published a review of a discussion organised by Amnesty concerning the World Day Against the Death Penalty, (which Amnesty themselves have used), and this can be found here.

There are concerns that there is a desire to resume the death penalty in the UK and some politicians have said so but in the case of the Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, she has said she no longer supports that position.

You may have heard of Reprieve and the work of Clive Stafford Smith in USA.  Clive represents many people on death row some of whom were convicted on flimsy or circumstantial evidence.  Unlike in the UK, police in many US States are under no obligation to reveal evidence which points to the suspect’s innocence.  Clive’s fascinating book Injustice is reviewed on this page.

The Salisbury group is not just concerned with the death penalty but with human rights issue generally.  We are concerned at the government’s desire to abolish the Human Rights Act especially when we leave the EU and we shall be campaigning on this if it comes to fruition.

We are not doing any face to face activities at present for obvious reasons but new members are welcome and following this site or Facebook or Twitter @salisburyai is something you can do.  When normal times resume, we hope to get back to campaigning work.

Just Mercy

Posted: October 26, 2020 in Death penalty
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Film Just Mercy to be shown on 4 November at 7pm in the Playhouse with an introduction by a member of the Salisbury group. For further details and how to buy tickets see the Wiltshire Creative post.

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)