Monday, December 14, 2009

SVAW Morning Tea

As part of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, a small crowd of supporters gathered in Belmore Park, Sydney on Wednesday 9 December for a morning tea of speeches, Danish pastry and entertainment. The morning tea was held to celebrate the achievements made in reducing violence against women in Australia and to raise public awareness on the work that needs to be done to make violence against women history.

The guest speaker, Cat Gander, from the NSW Women’s Refuge Movement, drew attention to two major problems in the provision of services for women escaping from domestic violence. One, there is a shortage of refuge placements – 1 in 2 women are turned away from refuges in cases of domestic violence. Two, the Family Law Court needs to be reformed to reduce the prohibitive legal costs to victims of domestic violence. Legal costs were as high as one million dollars in one exceptional case, but more commonly costs ran to the tens of thousands of dollars. In one case a women went back to court 25 times.

Amnesty International NSW’ speaker, Lauren Fahy, from the
Stop Violence against Women Network, labelled the current approach to handling violence against women inadequate, because the services for women escaping domestic violence were grossly underfunded and ad hoc in nature. Lauren explained that there was a lack of organisation between government departments involved and called on the government to commit to a more coordinated approach, namely the National Plan of Action to reduce violence against women and children. Thanks to everyone involved – organisers, speakers and supporters alike, not to mention, Shannon King, who entertained the crowd with her solo singing/guitar playing.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Face to Face Locations

Face to Face Locations for the Week beginning 7th December 2009

Monday: Springwood, Edgecliff, Rose Bay

Tuesday: Springwood, Hyde Park, Liverpool

Wednesday: Leura, Five Dock, Leichhardt

Thursday: Blackheath, St Leonards, Crows Nest

Friday: Katoomba, Farrer Place, Circular Quay

Saturday: Katoomba

Friday, December 4, 2009

AIA Human Rights Education Kit & DVD

Hey Campaigners:

Last night in Melbourne we launched a new Human Rights Education Kit featuring a DVD, scenarios and case studies on human rights, teaching resources developed by student teachers, useful websites and resources about getting involved in Amnesty International and our work. The objective is to make the difference between offering materials on HR and really inspiring and equipping teachers to use these materials with maximum effect.

The DVD features interviews and footage of students and teachers in the classroom with the following themes:
* Social justice
* Global citizenship
* English
* Legal Studies
* Student Representative Council

It includes a series of interviews with students and with teachers and profiles young people taking action for HR. The kit has been developed for university teacher education programs. We are working on adapting it for broader use across the 2900 secondary schools in Australia.

Below are just a few stills from the DVD - this and copies of the kit will be available in all action centres early in the New Year. (We've run out of copies to go around!!)

Christmas Closure

Hey Guys,

Just letting you know the Action Centre will be closed from the 21st of December - 11th of January.

We would like to wish you the very best for Christmas and New Years.

Thankyou for all the work you have done in 2009 and we are looking forward to more events, actions and campaigning in 2010

NSW Community Campaigns Team

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Advertising Action Groups

As a new strategy to help boost membership numbers for the local action groups next year, we were thinking of trying to place regular advertisements in your local papers about your group meetings. These advertisements would probably be monthly, and everything would be organised by the Community Campaigns team here at Amnesty – all the action groups would have to do is be willing to host extra members! We are currently in the process of finding out further information and prices for the advertising, please contact us if this is something that interets your group -


Recent National Extraordinary General Meeting Action

Over the last weekend staff and volunteers from throughout Australia met in Sydney for our National Extraordinary General Meeting. We took this opportunity to stage an event in Victoria Park in line with our Demand Dignity campaign, in particular highlighting the importance of Indigenous Rights. We had around 100 people who signed a giant petition to Kevin Rudd, calling for the endorsement and implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People as well as the full and unconditional reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act to end discrimination in the Northern Territory.

Thank you to everyone who was involved!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Anti-Death Penalty Day 2009 - Petition handed over

AIA contributed 10,518 signatures to a global total of 90, 708 signatures collected by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP) - that's 12% of the global tally.

Thank you to everyone who signed and encouraged other people to sign the petition.

The petitions were handed over on Friday 20 November - the 20th birthday of the Convention for the Rights of the Child - to the embassies in France of the four countries that still execute juvenile offenders - Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iran.

Each embassy received a quarter of the petitions:
Sudan and Yemen met and accepted the WCADP delegation and petitions.
Saudi Arabia would not meet with the delegation but accepted the petitions.
Iran refused to meet or accept the petitions (they will get them in the mail).

AIA collected 10, 518 signatures for a month from 10 Oct (World Day against the Death Penalty). Special thanks to the efforts of the Web Team (online petition and supporter email) and Fundraising Team (Street Fundraising Team with paper petitions) who via their methods collected a combined 96% of the signatures for our section.

You can read the WCADP press release (AI is part of the Coalition):

Still time to take further action

We are still running with the Japan
and death penalty actions - two postcards: one to do with
mental health generally, and one for Hakamada Iwao (one of our IARP cases). There are also standard letters to the new Justice minister in Japan for people to sign.
If you have limited time, there is also an online action for Hakamada Iwao you can take: