Posts Tagged ‘Salisbury’


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)

 

 

 


PAST EVENT

Cathedral Evensong takes place this evening (Thursday 12th) at 5:30.  We are delighted to welcome Ben Rogers to give the address.  There will be an opportunity for participants to sign a petition on leaving if they wish.

Joining

If you were thinking of joining the group, this would be an opportunity to make yourself known even if you do not wish to take part in the service itself (Amnesty is not a religious group).  Several members will be around to great you.


This is an extract of the HRW 2020 report for Europe focusing on the UK.  Seeing all the issues grouped together in this way makes for shameful reading.

The UK’s planned exit from the EU (Brexit) strained democratic institutions and put human rights and the rule of law at risk.  In September, the government was forced by parliament to publish a key planning document outlining potential impacts of the UK leaving the EU without an agreement (known as “no-deal” Brexit).  Its publication raised serious rights concerns including those related to access to adequate food and medicine, fuel shortages, interruptions to social care for older people and people with disabilities, possible public disorder, and the risk of increased dissident activity in Northern Ireland. The government accepted that a “no deal Brexit” would have the greatest impact on economically vulnerable and marginalized groups.

In September, the Supreme Court ruled unlawful the government’s five-week suspension of parliament earlier the same month, leading to parliament’s recall.  The government was forced by law adopted by parliament in September to seek an extension to the UK’s membership of the EU aimed at avoiding a no-deal Brexit.  Government sources criticized the Supreme Court ruling and threatened to ignore the binding law requiring an extension request.

The extension was granted by the EU27, and the Brexit date at time of writing was the end of January 2020 (now taken place).  Parliament was dissolved in November after opposition parties agreed to a December 2019 general election (which had yet to take place at time of writing).

In May, the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty published a report on the disproportionate negative impact of austerity-motivated spending cuts, combined with social security restructuring, on the rights of women, children, older people, and people with disabilities living on low incomes.

Reliance on emergency food assistance grew.  The country’s largest food bank charity network, the (Salisbury based)Trussell Trust, reported distributing 1.6 million parcels containing a three-day emergency supply of food across the country.  The Independent Food Aid Network reported that, at time of writing, at least 819 independent centres were also distributing food aid.

The UK continued to detain asylum seeking and migrant children.

In October legislation passed by the UK Parliament to decriminalize abortion and provide for marriage equality in Northern Ireland in 2020 came into force when the region’s devolved government failed to reconvene having been suspended since January 2017.

More than two years after the deadly Grenfell Tower fire in London that killed 71, there has been little accountability for the deaths or the fire.   In October, the findings of the first phase of the public inquiry into the fire were published, focusing on the day of the fire.  A criminal investigation was ongoing at time of writing.

In February, a new counterterrorism law entered into force, including measures that criminalize viewing online content, overseas travel and support to terrorism and could result in human rights violations.  UK authorities continued to exercise powers to strip citizenship from UK nationals suspected of terrorism-related activity.

In July, the government refused to establish a judicial inquiry into UK complicity in the CIA-led torture and secret detention.  At time of writing, no one in the UK had been charged with a crime in connection with the abuses.  In November, a media investigation found evidence of a cover up by UK authorities of alleged war crimes by UK forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Human Rights Watch)


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)