Friday, February 26, 2010

Getting Kevin Rudd to commit to giving a Human Rights Act :)

The Human Rights Act team has been working overtime to develop a strategy to get a clear get the message to Kevin Rudd that we really, really, really want a Human Rights Act.

To kick this off online we need the help of all of you!

If you have a Facebook and/or Twitter profile then I am sure they are both already open in your browser. So, it will only take a few minutes to:
1) change your profile picture/avatar
2) get your friends behind it!

If all of you get behind the action today it'll give it a really strong push and truly make a difference, exposing the action to thousands of people quickly!

For the facebook savvy head straight to the note on facebook:

For the tweeps out there check out @AmnestyOz and simply retweet the HRA tweets.

If all this talk of notes, avatars and tweeps is making your head spin then check out the full step by step instructions on what to do at

As the online team put it: 'In general, more buzz = more good.' So please take the time to do this.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2010 Events - A snapshot of the first few months...

We are only two months in to 2010 and already it has been a very busy and exciting year for Amnesty NSW with a number of events successfully run and many new people hearing about the work we do to promote human rights. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what is going on, but we found a few photos lying around and thought we would give you a bit of a snapshot:

Big Day Out

Every year in January music fans flock to capital cities Australia-wide for one of Australia’s biggest music festivals: The Big Day Out. On Friday 22nd and 23rd January - two of the hottest Sydney days we can remember – a dedicated team from Amnesty held an information and action stall calling Shell to clean up its operations in the Niger Delta as part of our Demand Dignity campaign. The day was a great success with hundreds of people signing our petition and many more finding out about the work that we are doing! Thanks must go to our fantastic outreach team that braved the weather and collected so many signatures.

'Free Iran Project' Vigil

Amnesty NSW had the privilege in February of supporting the Free Iran Project in a candlelight vigil at Martin Place. The vigil was organised to commemorate the lives lost in the recent Iranian uprising and show our solidarity with the people of Iran in their struggle for democracy. Many thanks go to Ken from the Demand Dignity Action Group for showing our support at this event and providing us with the photos.

Walk against Racism

On February 13th, the second anniversary of the Federal Government’s apology to Indigenous Australians, groups from Amnesty NSW marched in the ‘Walk Against Racism’ organised by the Stop the Intervention Collective (STIC). Marching through Sydney, the day was completed with a rally at the Block in Redfern. It was great to see so many people turn out. Again, thanks must go to Ken from the Demand Dignity group for the photos and his fantastic marching!

Marrickville Markets

Many of our action groups do amazing Amnesty work in their community by organising stalls at various events. Last weekend, our Demand Dignity Action Group held a stall at Marrickville Markets encouraging people to sign both our Shell and Guantanomo Bay petitions. We received great feedback from the stall and got a great response from the community, filling up sheets of petition forms! Thanks to Ken and the rest of the Demand Dignity group for their great effort throughout the day!

Keep sending us feedback from your events!

We love hearing about the great successes that our Amnesty activits are having around the community. If you have any stories or photos that you'd like to send in we'd love to hear from you!

'Close the Gap Day'

National Close the Gap Day - March 25 2010. Register Here

Close the Gap Day: Info Session

National Close the Gap Day will be held on 25th of March this year. This national day is to raise awareness and acknowledge the devastating health crisis of Indigenous Australians.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are still dying 10 to 17 years younger than other Australians. For that reason, more than 40 national organisations came together in 2006 to form Close the Gap - Australia's largest ever campaign to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Amnesty International has proudly joined the Close the Gap coalition alongside over 40 Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations.

To get involved and show Amnesty Internationals support in improving the livelihood and health conditions of Indigenous Australians, the NSW Community Campaigns Team has organised an informative and inspiring seminar for 'Close the Gap Day'.

Rebecca Reeve, a research fellow for the Centre for Health Economics Research & Evaluation, will be our guest speaker, enlightening us on her recent studies which focused on the degree and causes of Indigenous poverty in NSW major cities and the efficacy of current policy approaches to improving Indigenous welfare. In 2003, Rebecca was a Ronald Henderson Research Foundation intern at the St Vincent de Paul National Council of Australia, where she undertook a research project on the condition of poverty in Australia. Prior to joining CHERE in late 2009, Rebecca was employed at Macquarie University, since 2004, as a tutor and lecturer in microeconomics and econometrics.

So come along to this informative session, discussing the various ways we can counteract the devastating health crisis experienced by our Indigenous Australians.

The seminar will be held in the NSW Action Centre on the 25th of March from 12-1pm.
Light food will be provided.

Please RSVP to

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

First NSW Catch up for 2010!!

Hey guys, just a little note to remind everyone that the first NSW catch up for the year is on TOMORROW NIGHT (Wed 24th of Feb). The 'Catch Up' will go from 6:30- 8pm at the NSW Action Centre.

Catch up's are a great chance to learn about new AIA campaigns and strategy, give feedback from your group and hear from other activists in the NSW region. Light food and drinks will be provided.Please RSVP to if you are able to attend in person or ring in.

For those that are keen to ring in, Phone no.:9696 0695. PIN: 336849#

Monday, February 22, 2010

Face to Face locations

Face to Face Locains for week commencing Feb. 22:

Mon 22 Feb: Five Dock, CBD (Circular Quay), Newtown

Tue 23 Feb: CBD (Kent St), Dulwich Hill. CBD (Castlereagh St)

Wed 24 Feb: Glebe, CBD (Pitt St), Broadway

Thurs 25 Feb: CBD (Elizabeth St), Marrickville, Summer Hill

Fri 26 Feb: Leichardt, Chatswood, CBD (Hyde Park)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Prisoner of conscience Igor Koktysh released

Individuals at Risk Update:

On the 2nd of February, Belarusian musician and activist Igor Koktysh was released from the pre-trial detention centre in Ukraine where he has been held for two and a half years. He has greatly thanked Amnesty International for its support.

Igor is currently applying for refugee status in Ukraine. If you would like to read more about Igor's thanks to Amnesty International, visit the Individuals at Risk page on the website.

Our work really does change the lives of individuals. The outcome of Amnesty's work to protect and campaign for Human Rights is often not achieved months or years down the track. But when we do hear that someone detained was released, someone missing was found and someone in imminent danger is safe no matter how long it took, relief and fulfillment permeates throughout the people who helped Amnesty International make a difference.

Please visit Individuals at Risk landing page on the Amnesty International website to access case updates, feature articles and other relevant information.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Good News in Myanmar - U Tin Oo Released

Some good news emerged over the weekend in Myanmar with the release of U Tin Oo from house arrest.

U Tin Oo is the Deputy Chairman of the National League for Democracy (NLD). On 30 May 2003 U Tin Oo, Aung San Suu Kyi and about 100 other NLD members and supporters were detained in Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi is still subjected to this detention with its ongoing extensions.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Face to Face locations this week

Face to face locations for week commencing 15/2/10:

Monday 15/2: Tamworth, Eden (Imley St), Bega

Tuesday 16/2: Gunnedah, Bega, Eden (Imley St)

Wednesday 17/2: Tamworth, Batemans Bay, Ulladulla

Thursday 18/2: Gunnedah, Ulladulla, Batemans Bay

Fri 19/2: Narrabri, Nowra

Sat 20/2: Moree, Berry

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Demand Dignity Series: Making Indigenous Poverty History

As part of our series of talks on the Millennium Development Goals and in line with Amnesty International's global campaign of Demand Dignity, we are holding a talk on Indigenous Poverty.

Graeme Mundine, the Executive Secretary of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission (NATSIEC), will discuss the Make Indigenous Poverty History Project, which aims to ensure that the Millennium Development Goals do not overlook the poverty suffered by Indigenous peoples around the world, especially in Australia.

Amnesty International Australia campaigns to protect indigenous rights, recently lobbying for the reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Human rights and poverty are inextricably linked and poverty reduction strategies must address the particular needs of Indigenous peoples.

To learn more about this topical issue, please attend this seminar which promises to be an interesting and essential insight into issues surrounding Indigenous poverty.

When: 23rd of February

Time: 12pm - 1pm

Venue: NSW Action Centre, 79 Myrtle st Chippendale

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Face to Face Locations This Week

F2F locations for the week beginning 8/2/10:

Mon 8/2: Jesmond, Hamilton, Springwood

Tue 9/2: Mayfield, Newcastle (Posit 1- Darby Pde), Springwood

Wed 10/2: Raymond Terrace, Cessnock, Leura

Thurs 11/2: Musswellbrook, Maitland, Blackheath

Fri 12/2: Singleton, Kurri Kurri, Katoomba

Sat 13/2: Cessnock, Scone, Katoomba

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Amnesty and IWDA “Women’s Eye on Peace” Exhibition

From 8th - 13th of March 2010 Amnesty International NSW and International Women’s Development Agency will be a hosting a photography exhibition entitled “Women’s Eye on Peace” to coincide with the celebration of International Women’s Day (Monday 8th of March).

International Women’s Day provides an annual opportunity to celebrate the fantastic contribution and achievements women have made around the world as well as inspiring an even greater contribution by women in the future. The IWDA “Women’s Eye on Peace” photography exhibition reflects this by providing a showcase of 14 photographs taken by women sharing their perspectives around the world.

The photographs will be on display from Mon 8th March – Sun 13th March at TAP Gallery, (Level 1, 278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst, NSW, 2010). We will also be holding a special Opening Night involving refreshments and guest speakers from Amnesty and IWDA. This event will provide an opportunity to learn more about the photos and hear from women who are playing a major role in activism regarding development and human rights related issues around the world.
More details on the date and times of the Opening Night will be available shortly.

Demand Dignity - A note on the response from Shell

As those involved with our Demand Dignity campaign would be aware, a focus of our campaign is on the activities of the Shell Corporation in the Niger Delta. A large part of this involves writing letters to Shell Corporation asking them to 'Clean up their Act'. Activists who have been writing letters to Shell (hardcopy & online) have been receiving a written response from the company in defence of their operations.

A detailed and thorough response from Amnesty to this letter from will be available in the coming weeks from our researchers in London. In the meantime, the following points might be helpful for those interested:

- Shell has been sending out the same response to everyone globally.

- Amnesty International's campaign and our calls on Shell are based on thorough and rigorous research conducted between March 2008 to May 2009.

- The research involved fieldwork carried out in the Niger Delta and desk research. The research was conducted by a multi-disciplinary research team, including experts in the oil industry and environment. Amnesty International research teams visited eight sites in Rivers and Bayelsa States, and interviewed members of the communities affected by oil pollution and by the human rights violations associated with pollution..
You can access the report here:

- Amnesty International continues to assert its calls on Shell Petroleum and the Government of Nigera (as per petition) and encourages activists to continue taking action. Those writing individual letters to Shell (not those signing the petition, as their contact details will not be forwarded) can expect to receive Shell's standard response.

- In the meantime, AI Australia has contact the AI researcher in the IS, has asked her to respond to Shell, and is waiting on her advice regarding how we should respond.

Update from Crisis Response Team

Please find below an update from our crisis response team on some emerging and worsening human rights crisis situations. Hopefully this is helpful for those involved in this area or who may get questions about our current work.


The IS released a statement which has been put up on our site (

Contact has been made with the crisis response coordinators/contacts in AI UK, AI USA, AI NZ and AI NL and there are no plans to do more at this stage.

However, there was some good news from AI USA about the granting of temporary protected status to Haitians in the US. You can read about this and also some other information about situation in Haiti here:


The situation in Iran continues to be volatile and there is a steady stream of communications (urgent actions, media statements, updates) from the Iran Team at the IS.

It is also expected that there will be a new wave of demonstrations around the 40th day of mourning after the deaths of the Ashoura protesters (these protests occurred on 27/28 Dec 2009) - so this day falls in first weeks of February 2010.


It is expected that elections will take place in Burma sometime in 2010. For that reason, the crisis response team will be closely monitoring the siutation there.

It is expected that the IS will release a report on the persecution of ethnic minorities in Burma in February from Bangkok. The IS will also be preparing a statement outlining our position on the elections. At the end of last year discussions also began with Asia Pacific Sections and the IS Campaigner for Burma about campaigning activities in relation to the elections this year.

Also, as you would have seen from our 'In the News' daily emails Aung San Suu Kyi's appeal against her house arrest is currently being heard. It is expected this will last about a week.

Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan presidential elections were held on 26 January.

Our statement and 10 point human rights agenda is available here:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Face to Face Locations this week

Face to Face locations for the week commencing 1st Feb 2010 are:

Mon 1st Feb: Sydney CBD - Liverpool St
Tue 2nd Feb: Bondi Beach
Wed 3rd Feb: Dulwich Hill
Thurs 4th Feb: Sydney CBD - Barrack St, Wynyard St
Fri 5th Feb: Newtown