Tuesday, November 3, 2009

National Director & National President's Update

There have been many exciting recent events and there is much to look forward to in the next few months.

We’re pleased to say that Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, will be in Australia in mid-November. We’re organising an action packed schedule for Irene – including: meeting with Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, meetings with activists, staff and donors in Melbourne and Sydney, a national press club address and meetings with senior MPs in Canberra.
Irene’s visit will focus on our Demand Dignity Campaign and Indigenous Rights work. While in Australia she’ll also be launching her new book, The Unheard Truth: Human Rights and Poverty. Further information will be made available in the coming weeks and details for events can be found on our website.

International Council Meeting (ICM)
We’re delighted to share with you key outcomes from an exciting and action packed eight days in August at the International Council Meeting (ICM) in Turkey. Seven delegates from Amnesty International Australia joined the ICM to represent the views of our section.
There were many important developments at the ICM, including:
the election of a new International Executive Committee– for further information please go to:
the approval of the new Integrated Strategic Plan for the movement from 2010 – 2016; and
the ICM agreed on a new approach to strategically align the resources of the movement to impact and need. The approach is called Assessment to Distribution. The global south and east are priorities.

If you have any questions about the ICM, please email Nicole Bieske, National President, at boardmail@amnesty.org.au

National Extraordinary General Meeting (NEGM)
The NEGM will take place between 27 and 29 November in Sydney and we’re looking forward to an engaging and dynamic meeting.
The NEGM will include discussions of how we will strengthen our democracy to achieve greater human rights impact. We will debate a number of resolutions from the Board and from Branch Annual General Meetings. We will also look at how we will achieve our vision and achieve our human rights impact goals. For scholarship details on the NEGM, as well as other information including how to register, please go to on the website:
Members will receive further information, including an invitation, in the post in early November.

Human Rights Act
The National Human Rights Consultation Committee has recommended that the Government introduce a Human Rights Act for Australia.
This was thanks to an overwhelming number of Australians who took part in the country's biggest public consultation. Over 80% of the 35,000 individual submissions said they wanted a Human Rights Act that protects the rights of all Australians.

What next? We need the government to implement the Committee's recommendation and adopt a Human Rights Act. Over the coming months we will be calling on the Government to 'Act On It' - to join our call and keep the pressure up be sure to keep an eye on the blogs on the website -http://www.amnesty.org.au/yourhumanrights/comments/21809 - there are currently some great blogs from people talking about the benefits of a human rights act for Australia. (If you are on twitter follow @AmnestyOz to be kept up to date on the latest about this and our other campaign actions).

The Diversity Steering Committee held a successful face-to-face meeting in Canberra over the weekend of 22 and 23 August. During 2009 the Committee has focused on providing advice regarding the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan following the Board's decision in 2008, and has also introduced ‘Diversity Impact Statements’ into the 2010 operational plan process.

The Diversity Steering Committee will be seeking an additional member with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander expertise to provide the balance of skills needed. Interested people should refer to the employment pages of the Amnesty International Australia website for further information which will be posted shortly. Please note that this is a voluntary position.

Strengthening Democracy Project
The Strengthening Democracy project was a key discussion item at the Board meeting held in Sydney on 12 and 13 September.
The Board carefully considered our supporters' feedback from the Strengthening Democracy Project's engagement process – conducted in August and analysed in early September. As a result, a number of resolutions were developed and will be proposed at the National Extraordinary General Meeting by the Board including:
enhanced representation through a new regional representative role; and providing a mechanism for Human Rights Defenders to become members.
The resolutions can be found at: http://www.amnesty.org.au/about/comments/21813

A number of other issues from the feedback will also be discussed further at the National Extraordinary General Meeting in November. It was very exciting to hear so many people's contributions and so many inspiring ideas around strengthening our democracy!

The Board also considered:
An update on key outcomes from the International Council Meeting;
An update on the Demand Dignity Campaign;
An Amnesty International Australia marketing principles paper and presentation;
A presentation on inspiring 500 000 people to take action by 2014.
If you have any questions about anything in this update, you can contact us at

Thanks and best wishes,

Nicole Bieske

National President

Claire Mallinson

National Director

p.s. our new 2009 – 2010 merchandise catalogue is available now. Tell your friends! You can download a copy here: http://www.amnesty.org.au/features/comments/21730

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