Friday, October 30, 2009

16 days of activism against gender violence

Once again 16 Days of Activism is coming up quickly. 16 days of Activism begins on the 25th of November with International Day for the Erradication of Violence against Women and ends 16 days later with Human Rights Day on the 10th of December.

This year we will be encouraging people to campaign on two different campaigns:
-Stop domestic violence in PNG
- National Plan of action to eliminate violence against women

We have just received new materails for PNg such as placards, petitions, an activist toolkit and A5 flyers. Materials for the domestic campaign will be coming soon. Please let us know if you are planning on doing anything during '16 days' and you would like materials.

Cultural Awareness Training - TOMORROW!

Cultural Awareness Training
As part of the Demand Dignity Campaign, Amnesty International Australia will be hosting a one-day workshop on 31st October for all interested convenors, volunteers and activists. This interactive workshop will be presented by Grant Sarra who has spent twenty-six years of his life working exclusively with Indigenous people in Australia. He has developed a detailed knowledge and understanding of the issues that impact upon Indigenous Australians.

The workshop will help participants gain a greater understanding of the history of Indigenous Australians and what it is like to be an Indigenous Australian. It will be a valuable learning experience and we are encouraging everyone to attend.

When: Saturday October 31 2009 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Where: NSW Action Centre, Level 1, 79 Myrtle Street, Chippendale

Places are still available!!

Demand Dignity Exhibition

Amnesty International held an art exhibition from 20th October till 25th October, to celebrate the launch of the Demand Dignity campaign. The exhibition was held at TAP gallery in Darlinghurst and the opening night was a great success. Thanks to all those who attended, volunteers, organizers, performers, artists and TAP gallery!

Amnesty National Extraordinary General Meeting (NEGM)

Amnesty International Australia's National Extraordinary General Meeting will be held from Friday 27th to the Sunday 29th of November in Sydney.

The NEGM will include our traditional human rights conference components – such as workshops, plenary sessions with external speakers as well as our own, a public action and governance issues such as the passing of resolutions. Also, on the advice of the Youth Advisory Group in 2008, we are folding the Youth Summit into the NEGM. A key component of the NEGM will be looking at ways Amnesty International Australia can strengthen our democratic structures, processes and culture to better achieve our vision. To do this, the Board initiated the Strengthening Democracy Project which was conducted over the course of 2009.

Details around how to get involved, registration, accommodation, scholarships and the agenda can be found at
When: 28th-29th November
Where: Sydney Action Centre; Level 1, 79 Myrtle St Chippendale
RSVP: online registration

Aung San Suu Kyi - Successful Event

Last Tuesday 27th October, the Amnesty International Community Campaigns team and volunteers attended an event for Aung San Suu Kyi at the Opera House.
Amnesty along with 500 other supporters gathered in a 'stand for solidarity and freedom.'
Therese Rein, Janelle Saffin (MP) Lucy Turnbull and Claire Mallinson, National Director of Amnesty International spoke at the event, calling for Australians to use our liberty, to promote Burma's freedom.
SBS World News Australia covered the event:
Amnesty International Staff and Volunteers
A crowd of 500 gathered to show their support
Therese Rein, Lucy Turnbull, Janelle Saffin and Claire Mallinson
supporters included Amnesty International staff and volunteers, school students, and members of Australian Burmese community

Human Rights Workshop - Thanks!

On Friday 23rd October, Amnesty International held a Free Youth Human Rights Workshop, at the Rex Centre.

It was a great day where participants were able to hear from Amnesty staff and volunteers about our Refugee case work, campaigning and media activities, as well as participate in several workshops, where they gained skills in community campaigning, online activism, and working with the media.

We'd like to say thanks to all those who attended - and keep a lookout for more upcoming youth training events!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sri Lankan Refugees Rights Must Be Respected

The recent situation of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka has brought the refugee topic into the spotlight once more. Although boat arrivals make up less than four per cent of people who come to Australia seeking asylum, they never fail to create a political and media outburst.

Around 250 Sri Lankan refugees were making their way to Australia when they were intercepted outside Java and held in Indonesia. They have refused to leave the impounded boat, held a two-day hunger strike, and threatened suicide if they are not resettled.

Immigration Department figures have shown between 85 and 90 per cent of boat people are found to be genuine under the United Nations 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol. As a regional power, Australia needs to continue to take a leadership position to ensure that asylum seekers within our region are treated in line with international human rights obligations.

Australia is at risk of facing international shame if our Government were to be complicit in the human rights violations of asylum seekers in our region. We are sending a dangerous message that the rights of refugees come second to domestic political agendas.

Please take action and send a letter or email to Kevin Rudd; our government has an obligation to ensure all asylum seekers have access to assistance from the UNHCR, access to a fair and timely process for determining their status through the UNHCR, and freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention – all of which is now at risk while the Sri Lankan asylum seekers are forced to remain in Indonesia. For more information:

Additionally come and support the
Rally to Say No to Rudd’s Indonesian Solution!

12.30pm Monday 2 November
Immigration Department, Lee St (Railway Square end of Central Tunnel), City

Speakers include:
Sylvia Hale (NSW Greens MP)
Tamil Association
Ian Rintoul (Refugee Action Coalition)

Called by Refugee Action Coalition
Contact Ian on 0417 275 713

“Refugees are not just numbers, they are people and deserve to be treated with humanity” –Mary Vernon

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Irene Khan - Book Launch - Invitation

(click to enlarge)
Irene Khan - Sydney Book Launch - INVITATION

When: Monday 16th November; 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Where: Domain Theatre, Level 3, Art Gallery of NSW


Monday, October 26, 2009

Face 2 Face Locations

Face 2 Face Locations for the Week Starting Monday 26th October

Monday: Summer Hill; Parramatta

Tuesday: Cronulla; Liverpool

Wednesday: Kingsford; Coogee

Thursday: Rose Bay; North Sydney

Friday: Dulwich Hill; Newtown

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stand Up - October 16th

Last Friday some Amnesty International campaigners met in Victoria Park to enjoy the sunshine, a picnic feast and most importantly to Stand Up Against Poverty. This was our contribution to Anti-Poverty Week which ran from the 11-18th October, we hope that you had the chance to attend one of the various events around NSW.

Stand Up is the world’s largest mobilisation. It's a worldwide initiative seeking to end poverty, address its causes and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. In 2008, 117 million people worldwide joined together through Stand Up (a Guinness World Record!!), including over 207,000 Australians who participated in Stand Up events around the country.

We didn't have millions or thousands of people with us on Friday but our crowd of 32 were very proud and enthusiastic to be part of this global movement to End Poverty. Together we urged our leaders to act now to achieve and exceed the MDGs and to commit to the reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act to stop the discrimination existing in the Northern Territory. We hope we were joined by masses around the globe Standing Up and Speaking Out about injustices in the world.

"We will continue to Stand Up, not just today but everyday to say: No More Excuses, End Poverty and Inequality Now"

Face 2 Face Locations

Face 2 Face Locations for the Week Starting Monday 19th October

Monday: Kotara Westfield; Muswellbrook - near CBA;

Tuesday: Kotara Westfield; Newcastle - Hunter Mall; Shopping Centre

Kotara Westfield; Nelson Bay;

Thursday: Kotara Westfield; Singleton;

Friday: Kotara Westfield; Newcastle - The Junction;

Saturday: Kotara Westfield; Newcastle - The Junction;

Friday, October 16, 2009

Talkback Radio Training Session

We are holding another talkback radio training session via telephone, this time for the refugee network. Activists are invited to call a telephone conference phone number to learn talkback tips and practice advocating Amnesty's messages on asylum seeker issues on air. Session will be with media trainer Richard Fitzgerald and AIA media and public affairs coordinator Caroline Shepherd.

When: Tuesday 27 October
Time: 7pm-8pm AEST/ 6:30pm-7:30pm SA/ 6pm-7pm QLD/ 4pm-5pm WA
RSVP Essential: Contact Caroline by Monday 26 October at

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Potluck Picnic in the Park - THIS FRIDAY!!

Potluck Picnic in the Park - Stand Up Against Poverty

As part of Anti-Poverty Week and Stand Up Against Poverty, Amnesty International NSW is hosting a 'Potluck Picnic in the Park'
While we will be providing food, it would be great for everyone to bring a small dish of their own (no glass or alcohol) to contribute to the picnic. After all, sharing is vital to ending poverty. So come along - Stand Up, Take Action and call for an end to poverty!

When: Friday October 16 2009 12- 1:30 PM
Where: Victoria Park, City Road, Camperdown

Over a billion people worldwide live in extreme poverty. Stand Up is a worldwide initiative seeking to achieve the Millennium Development Goals which aim to half global poverty by 2015.

Demand Dignity Art Exhibition 2009

Amnesty International is hosting a Demand Dignity Art Exhibition. The exhibition showcases the work of local artists, with pieces in the exhibition expressing the artists' interpretations of what it means to demand dignity.

Opening night: Tuesday 20 October, from 6pm

Exhibition ends: Sunday 25 October

Venue: TAP Gallery, 278 Palmer St, Darlinghurst

For more information please see the NSW Events page:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Human Rights Act for Australia

National Human Rights Consultation Report

On the 8th of October 2009, the National Human Rights Consultation Committee recommended that the Australian Government introduce a Human Rights Act for Australia. This is in response to lengthy campaigns on the issue and thanks to the record number of Australians who took part in our country’s largest public consultation on human rights. Over 87% of the 35,000 individual submissions and the 6,000 public roundtable participants reported that they wanted to have their human rights enshrined in national legislation.

The Committee has recommended that the Government publish a federal Human Rights Act with a comprehensible list of Australian rights and responsibilities based on our obligations from the seven international human rights treaties we have signed. These include civil, political, economic, cultural and social rights. Amnesty remains concerned, however, that the Report draws a distinction between the treatment of economic, cultural and social rights and the treatment of civil and political rights. We believe that all human rights are indivisible, interdependent and should be treated equally.

Commendable recommendations were made in regards to education, where the Committee recognised the importance of education in improving and promoting Human Rights in Australia. Also the Committee recommended strengthening the specific protection of Aboriginal and Torres Islanders rights and recognised their right to have meaningful control over their affairs.

Continued campaigning will be necessary to ensure that the Australian government heeds the proposals of the Committee and implements a comprehensive Human Rights Act that protects all Australians and truly reflects our international obligations.

If you wanted to have a look at the 500 page report (or at least the summary and recommendations) here is where you will find it:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Irene Kahn - The Unheard Truth: Poverty and Human Rights

Irene Khan - Book Launch - November

Irene Khan is the first woman and first Asian Secretary General of Amnesty International. She has recieved several prestigious awards for her leadership in human rights and her to work to end violence against women, including the Sydney Peace Prize 2006.

On 16th November she is heading to Sydney to launch her book The Unheard Truth: Poverty and Human Rights

Keep checking the blog for more information about this exciting upcoming event.

NSW Action Group Catch-Up - TOMORROW

Hey Everyone,

Just I reminder that the NSW Action Group Catch-Up is tomorrow, it's not too late to RSVP!

When: Wednesday October 07 2009 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: NSW Action Centre, Level 1, 79 Myrtle St, Chippendale, NSW

The Catch-Up is an opportunity to:
* Meet and engage with other NSW groups, convenors and members of the AI Community Campaigns team
* Receive an update from us about new campaigns and resources; as well as news about what is happening here at AI Action Centre and within the Community Campaigns team and,
* Provide us with valuable feedback about your experiences and concerns.

Dinner will be provided

**** For those who cannot come to Sydney to attend the Catch-Up, you're able to 'ring in' and join us via conference phone ****
Call 1800 333 803 (toll free) OR 9696 0695
PIN: 3502
at 6pm!

Face 2 Face Locations

Face 2 Face Locations for the week starting Monday 4th October







Thursday, October 1, 2009


This year, an Amnesty International Australia (AIA) National Extraordinary General Meeting (NEGM) will be held from the 27th to the 29th of November in Sydney. The Board has decided to offer up to eight scholarships to attend the meeting.

1. Amnesty International Members Scholarships

*Up to six scholarships are available to fund AIA members to attend NEGM (this year including the Youth Summit) as observers and to participate in all the workshops and plenary sessions.

*The scholarships will cover the cost of return flights to Sydney, two nights accommodation at the NEGM venue (or three nights if required for travel purposes) and all food during the NEGM.

*The NEGM Scholarships are intended to provide a means for AIA members who are not able to attend Branch AGM’s or who are otherwise unable to participate in the election of NEGM delegates and observers to attend NEGM. It will also enhance the diversity of activist experience present at NEGM and assist in ensuring that the training and development provided at NEGM reaches a greater audience.

*It is expected that the successful applicants will be selected from diverse regions. Activists from regional/ rural areas are particularly encouraged to apply.

Selection Criteria

· Member of AIA, available and committed to attending all of the NEGM (Friday 27 November to Sunday 29 November in Sydney);
· Presently an active participant in a branch/ region/ group or network, or in some other capacity;
· Commitment to remaining involved in AIA;
· Desire to improve activist skills;
· Willingness and ability to take back what is learnt to your region and to share it with other activists;
· Interest in learning more about the campaigns and AIA, including the governance aspects;
· Willingness to contribute to AIA’s organisation and development; and
· Keen to gain a better understanding of how AIA contributes to and participates in the global movement.

2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth Scholarships

*Two scholarships are available to fund Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth (aged between 18 to 30) to attend the NEGM (this year including the Youth Summit) as observers and to participate in all the workshops and plenary sessions.

*The scholarships will cover the cost of return flights to Sydney, two nights accommodation (or three nights if required for travel purposes) and all food during the NEGM.

*These Scholarships are intended to provide a means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths to participate in the meetings and to share their experiences with AIA members. We also hope that the scholarship recipients will be able to enhance their skills and to share what they learn with their communities.

*It is expected that the successful applicants will be selected from diverse regions. People from regional/ rural areas are particularly encouraged to apply.

Selection Criteria

· Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander;
· Interested in basic human rights;
· Able to work with others to achieve change;
· Must be willing to share your knowledge and experience with others;
· Ability to be a good Ambassador for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people;
· Commitment to take knowledge back and share with your community;
· Interested in gaining a better understanding of AIA;
· Available and committed to attending all of the NEGM (Friday 27 November to Sunday 29 November in Sydney).
· Must be aged between 18 to 30 years of age.

3. Process

· Written applications to be submitted to the Selection Committee via email ( by 30 October 2009 (two pages maximum).
· Applications will only be considered if they address the selection criteria.
· Two referees are required. For the AIA members’ scholarships, one referee must be someone who is involved in AIA.

4. More information

If you have any questions, please contact your Branch President or Jim Sharp (Board Vice President) at

FaCe to FaCe locations 26th September

Week commencing: 21st September 2009







Sunday: - - -