Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Speakers Network Meeting Postponed

Dear All,
Unfortunately we are going to have to postpone the speakers network meeting originally planned for Wednesday 22 April.

I am pleased to say that we have been doing some work behind the scenes to prepare new speakers presentations and also plan to review the objectives and processes for the speakers network in NSW - a big thanks to John Pickup and our two Community Campaign interns, Kat and Danie, for their work on this and the work that is to come.

We will be in touch very soon with a new meeting time. Any questions please feel free to give me a call.

Kind regards,
m: 0431 481 038

Monday, April 20, 2009

Face to Face Fundraising Locations Week Starting 20/4

In the coming week the face to face fundraisers will be in the following locations:

Monday - Woden, Gungahlin, Epping, Beecroft

Tuesday - Woden, Gungahlin, Broadway, Gladesville

Wednesday - Woden, Gungahlin, Gordon, Milsons Point

Thursday - Woden, Gungahlin, CBD (Liverpool St/Park St)

Friday - Woden, Gungahlin, CBD (Farrer Place/Australia Square)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Group Planning Forms

Just a quick reminder to any of the action groups around NSW that haven't returned the the group planning forms that we still want them.

Send them in to Jenny Leong at the NSW Action Centre 79 Myrtle St, Chippendale, NSW 2008

If you have misplaced the original form just email or call us and we will email a new copy to you!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Older People and Human Rights and Responsibilities: Your Voice

This forum is an oppportunity for older people and community organisations to contribute to the National Human Rights Consultation. In December 2008 the Australian Government launched the National Human Rights Consultation to look at introducing a Charter of Human Rights. It is vital that any proposal include the interests of older people. Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) and COTA NSW present a forum offering older people and their community organisations the opportunity to contribute to the Consultation. The half-day forum will:
inform you of the current Australian human rights framework and gaps, encourage your participation — your story is important, and enable you to contribute a submission to the Consultation.

Wednesday 29 April, 10.30am - 12.30pm
Level 1, 280 Pitt St, Sydney (nearest cross street - Bathurst St)
Lunch provided

March Branch Committee Meeting

Update from Tori Edwards, Member of the NSW Branch Committee

March saw a packed agenda for the Branch Committee. As well as the usual items regarding event approvals and President and Treasurer's Reports, we spent time following up on our January Planning meeting and further refining our goals for the coming year.

In particular, the Branch Committee is keen to engage with local groups more, and each group has now been assigned a "buddy" on the Branch Committee, who by now has been in contact with them. This aims to have a point of communication for groups and their convenors, and to keep groups up to date with current campaigns.

The Branch Committee has also made plans to "hit the road" for some coming meetings, and to visit different areas of our region. Watch this space for where we're headed and when, and what activities we have planned for our visits!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Meet our Admin Intern!

Below is a little something about Celeste who will be with Amnesty as an admin intern helping Deb and Ruby with the variety of tasks they perform!

As an immigrant from the Philippines, I have seen what adverse effects violations of human rights can have. Originally from a Financial Services background, I would like to utilise my skills within an organisation, such as Amnesty International, which fights against such violations. I look forward to gaining exposure and experience within this internship, and hopefully to make a contribution as well!

Face to Face Fundraising Locations Week Starting 13/4

Just letting you all know of where the face to face fundraisers will be in the coming week:

Monday - Public Holiday

Tuesday - CBD (Barrack St/Wynyard St/York St), Wollongong Central, Corrimal

Wednesday - Marrickville, Newtown, Wollongong Central, Corrimal

Thursday - Neutral Bay, Mosman, Wollongong Central, Corrimal

Friday - Randwick, CBD (King St), Wollongong Central, Corrimal

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

CHINA: Time for Justice -- The 20th Anniversary of Tiananmen Square.

On the night of 3-4 June 1989, hundreds of civilians were killed and thousands injured during a military crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. Tens of thousands of others were arrested in the aftermath. Most have since been released, but dozens are believed to remain in prison.

The Chinese authorities have consistently failed to bring those responsible for these serious human rights violations to justice and have suppressed attempts to mark the anniversary of the crackdown. Public debate and discussion of the events is banned, and those seeking justice for the victims and their families have suffered police harassment, arbitrary detention and sometimes imprisonment.

The government has refused to hold a public inquiry into the events of 4 June 1989, despite international appeals. No independent investigation has been carried out, and no one has been brought to justice for their role in the crackdown.

Amnesty International is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of those still imprisoned in connection with the 1989 protests, and for a full and impartial inquiry into the events on 3-4 June 1989, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice and providing compensation to the victims and their families.

What is a Tiananmen Rose action?

Years after the Tiananmen Square crackdown, an anonymous Chinese student who participated in the 1989 demonstrations posted a message on the internet explaining her ritual of gathering a bouquet of six white and four red roses each year to mark the anniversary of Tiananmen Square. She wrote of her hope that one day she would be able place such a bouquet in Tiananmen Square, to publicly commemorate the victims without risking reprisals from the authorities.

The six white roses are understood to symbolise purity of heart and the sixth month of the year (June). The four red roses symbolise the passion of their beliefs and the fourth day of the month. Red and white roses are now seen as a symbol of the calls for justice for the victims of the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square. In particular, a bouquet of six white rose and four red roses has become known as a June Fourth bouquet.

Amnesty International Australia would like to replicate this symbolically by asking you to create your own Tiananmen Rose action, making copies of it and asking people you know to sign one, and sending it back to Amnesty International so we can present it to the Chinese authorities on your behalf.

An A4 template of the rose action (4 roses on 1 page), with the slogan 'Time for Justice' written in English and in Chinese characters, will be sent to action groups with the action circular. You can photocopy these templates onto red or white paper or cardboard, cut them up into individual actions, ask people to sign them, and send them back to Amnesty International.

An action circular detailing more of the action, what you as an individual or as a group could do, will be sent to action groups. If you need to talk to someone, please contact your Community Campaigner or call 1300 300 920.

Meet the Interns!

It is with great pleasure and excitement that we introduce the two new NSW Community Campaign Interns. Kat and Danie will be working out of the Sydney Action Centre for the next three months helping us do everything that we do!


Working for some form of international organisation that helps people in some fundamental way has long been an aim of mine. After working for two months in India with an organisation that worked with children I knew that I wanted to fight for human rights, especially looking at the rights of the child. Getting this internship at Amnesty is proving to be an amazing way to learn by immersion. I feel as if I am constantly a part of something incredibly important and am discovering new ways that Amnesty is helping all the time.


Having migrated from a country that constantly finds itself in a cocktail of political, economic, and social turmoil, I know I'm in the fortunate position to be active in changing that situation, even in a small way; and that is what I'm working towards. After graduating from my undergrad, backpacking through Europe, and generally being a restless Generation Y-er, I decided to do my Masters in a vocation in order to be able to contribute to a wider movement that strove for a common good in a practical way. The thought of being a part of an organisation that did exactly that just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Guantanamo Bay: Where to from here?

Come and join us for a roundtable discussion exploring where we have been and where we can go from here.

Speakers who will lead the discussion include:
Katie Wood: The campaign coordinator for Amnesty International Australia’s Human Rights and Security Campaign the campaign into closing Guantanamo Bay.

Ben Saul: Director of the Sydney Centre for International and Global Law, and senior lecturer at the University of Sydney.

Aloysia Brooks: An intern at Amnesty International who is using the experience and knowledge she has gained through a Masters of Human Rights, and ongoing campaigning on the human rights issues surrounding the situation in Guantanamo Bay, to provide updates and blogs for the Counter Terror with Justice campaign.

When: 5:30pm, 23rd April, 2009
Where: NSW Action Centre, Level 1/79 Myrtle Street, Chippendale, NSW, 2008
RSVP by email to: nswaia@amnesty.org.au; or phone: 8396 7670

Demand Dignity Campaign: Call for Volunteers

We are calling for volunteers to become involved with Amnesty International’s newest campaign – Demand Dignity

What is Demand Dignity?

Over the next five years, the global Demand Dignity campaign aims to ignite a movement on rights and poverty. It will highlight poverty as a human rights violation, focusing on:

- Indigenous Australia

- Maternal mortality

- Global slums

- International financial institutions

- Corporate accountability

Key Dates for 2009
- May 2009: International Demand Dignity Campaign Launch

- June 2009: Dignity Book Launch

- July 2009: NAIDOC Week

- October 2009: Demand Dignity NT Campaign Launch, and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

How to Get Involved

If you would like to be involved with the campaign, please contact NSW Community Campaigner, Jenny Leong at jenny.leong@amnesty.org.au

What will happen next?

If you email us expressing your interest in this campaign, we will be in touch with you within a couple of weeks to let you know what our plans are in preparation for the launch in May and when we plan to have our first meeting.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Great news! Last week, the Australian Government gave its support to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Here’s a run-down of what has happened and where you can learn more.

In her speech at Parliament House, Jenny Macklin described the adoption as “another important step towards re-setting relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

The Declaration recognises “the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples,” and “provides a standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect.”

In an official statement, Amnesty International Australia has unequivocally applauded the decision, and urged the government to continue to take positive steps on Indigenous rights. Andrew Witheford, Government Relations Manager for Amnesty International Australia, said that the principles in the Declaration should be used in “reforming the law, policy and programmes relating to Indigenous Australians.”

Speaking of which, Amnesty International Australia is gearing up to launch our Demand Dignity Campaign. Demand Dignity will draw attention to human rights violations caused by poverty, and highlight the basic right to an adequate standard of living – the right to food, water, housing, health and education. As part of this campaign the Amnesty in Australia has been undertaking research and meeting with Aboriginal communities in relation to the Northern Territory Intervention. To learn more about Demand Dignity, please see our other post calling for volunteers.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Changing Lives: A Human Rights Act in the UK

At the recent NSW regional catch up Howard the convenor of the Central Coast Group raised a challenge with campaigning on for a Human Rights Act: how do you make it tangible and meaningful to people?

The best example I have seen of this is the report done by the British Institute of Human Rights. This report gives individual case studies about how the Human Rights Act in the UK has impacted on peoples lives and improved their human rights.

Download it here: http://www.bihr.org.uk/documents/policy/changing-lives-second-edition

G20 Blog stream

I have added a G20Voices blog stream because this site www.whitebandaction.com is an amazing example of the use of technology to communicate and campaign...check it out!

Speakers Network Review and meeting

Below is an email I sent to the volunteers in our NSW speakers network.

If you are interested in getting involved in the speakers network or you have ideas to share please feel free to join us for the meeting.

Dear Speaker,

I would like to thank you all for the effort you make to spread the AI message through taking on speaking engagements.

I think it's time to review the operation of the network to make sure that it aligns with the rest of the AI Australia organisation and that we are using the network to maximise the benefit from the time and effort you put into the network.

I have put all requests for speakers on hold until such time as this review has been completed and we are all totally confident that we are providing the best possible representation of Amnesty International.

As part of the review I would like to:

1. Review all materials for consistency and relevance of content and conformity in design and style
2. Implement a quarterly meeting for all speakers to improve communications within the group and to make sure all speakers are up to date on topics. Attendance at 2 of the meetings will be mandatory for speakers.
3. Better match requests to speakers capability ensuring that the speaker is comfortable to speak at the level of detail required.
4. Implement a more detailed review of requests to make sure we maximise the speaking opportunity. This may include declining some requests where we consider it to be outside the realms of AI.

I would like to schedule the first group meeting for 18:00 22nd April 2009 at the action centre. I am currently working on the agenda and will publish this as soon as possible. Should you have any items you would like to add to the agenda please let me know so we can discuss.

In the meantime I would ask that should you receive any requests that do not come through the speakers network you notify me of the request.

Jenny Leong

NSW Community Campaigner

BAGM for the Diary

The NSW BAGM will be on the weekend of 16/17 May - put a note in your diary now!

What is the NSW BAGM? It is the NSW Branch Annual General Meeting.

Anti Death Penalty Network Meeting

When: Thursday April 02 2009 6:30 PM

Where: NSW Action Centre, Level 1/79 Myrtle Street, Chippendale, NSW, 2008

More than two-thirds of the world’s countries have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice as of 2008. Unfortunately, there are still 59 states that practice executions, most of which are carried out in neighbouring Asia.

Would you like to be part of a group of enthusiastic volunteers who stand up against the death penalty? Please come along to our first meeting in 2009, where we will determine the orientation and strategies for this year’s work and plan our upcoming events. Help us to create a fresh start to our campaign in NSW! All welcome – we hope to see you there!