Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Face to Face Locations for this Week

Face to Face Locations for week commencing 26th April:

Monday 26th April: Public holiday

Tuesday 27th April: Canberra (Civic), Marrickville, Sydney CBD (Elizabeth St)

Wednesday 28th April: Canberra (Gunghalin), Seaforth, Broadway

Thursday 29th April: Canberra (Civic), North Sydney, Sydney CBD (King St)

Fri 30th April: Canberra (Manuka), Randwick, Paddington

Saturday 1st May: Canberra (Ainslie)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Face to Face Locations This Week

Face to Face locations for week commencing 19/4/2010 (Sorry about the mid-week notification):

Mon 19 April: Canberra (Manuka, Wooden)

Tues 20th April: Canberra (Dickson, Civic)

Wednesday 21st April: Ainslie, Canberra (Gunghalin)

Thursday 22nd Apri: Canberra (Gunghalin, Civic)

Friday 23rd April: Canberra (Dickson), Ainslie

Volunteers needed for Refugee Rally

Calling for Volunteers - Come along and help us at the public rally against the recent government’s asylum suspension policy!

The Australian Government has announced a freeze on Asylum Seeker applications from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan. This decision violates Australia’s international obligation under the Refugee Convention. Amnesty International is organising a massive public protest and day of solidarity and is calling volunteers to help on the day (May 8th) and the week prior to the event. Volunteers will be responsible for postering and flyering in the community prior to the event as well as helping out on the day.

There will be a briefing night where we will give further information about the campaign and the plans for the day of solidarity. The details for the briefing will be sent to you once you register to volunteer.

If you would like to volunteer send us an email to with your name, phone number and availability.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lunchtime Talk: Global Slums

Continuing on from the last Lunchtime Talk which was focused on closing the health and poverty gap suffered by Indigenous Australians, next Wednesday John MiKinnon, the NSW coordinator from TEAR Australia will be sharing his personal experience of visiting a Cambodian slum. It will be an insightful seminar about the reality of what goes on beneath the vast layers of waste, corrugated iron and pollution.

Slums are a serious outcome of human rights violations where people inhabit places of extreme poverty, battling through issues of domestic violence, corruption, denial of rights and little or no access to clean water, sanitation, health and welfare or adequate housing.

The focus of Global Slums is a signifcant part of the Demand Dignity Campaign, where Amnesty International is working to globally alleviate and eventually stop these human rights abuses that leave innocent people to suffer in extreme poverty.

There will also be a screening of a UN documentary about a Kiberan Slum in Kenya. This will astound but thoroughly inform us about the reality of a slum and the core reasons why we must eradicate global slums entirely.

When: Wednesday 28th April

Where NSW Action Centre , 79 Myrtle St Chippendale 2008

Time: 12pm-1pm

Refreshments will be provided.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Human Rights Innovation Fund

Amnesty International's Human Rights Innovation Fund provides those interested in promoting and defending human rights with funding to support new, innovative and creative initiatives which will have impact in Australia.

The Fund is an important part of Amnesty International's ongoing commitment to developing partnerships with other organisations to increase our human rights impact and promote the growth of an Australian human rights constituency.

The closing date for the next round of applications is on 31st May 2010 (and quarterly thereafter). If you are, or know of, an individual or organisation interested in applying for funds, please visit our web site for the guidelines and application form at:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Training opportunities

There are two up coming training sessions that have been subsidised by AIA NSW to allow NSW activists the opportunity to attain a broader understanding of Indigenous culture and become more aware of online activism through social networks.

Culture Awareness Training:
This training session hopes to emphasise the significance and relevance of Indigenous culture in the undertstanding and projection of Australian Identity. Leon Winters who is a Kamilaroi man from Walgett, along with Scott McCall will be conducting the training session. Scott McCall is one of Australia's experienced Indigenous employment experts and diversity trainers and together Scott and Leon work for the Arilla Aboriginal Organisation.

There are 20 available positions so if anyone is interested please rsvp to to the email outlined below by the 21st of April.

Date: Saturday the 1st of May
Where: AIA NSW Action Centre, 79 Myrtle St Chippendale 2008
Time: 10am-4pmRSVP: 21st April
Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Online Activism Traning:
This training is open to activists, convenors and group members who are interested in learning the ways in which action can be orchestrated through online social networks. The training will be focused around how activists can engage with AIANSW online to find out information, receive updates, share ideas, opinions and communicate with other local Action Groups. It's a great way to see how the online social system works and how activisim itself has grown and developed through a new dimension.

Date: Monday 3rd of May
Where: AIA NSW Action Centre, 79 Myrtle St Chippendale 2008
Time: 6pm-7.30pm
RSVP: by 30 April

Refugee emergency response

Refugee Situtation

On Friday the 9th of April the Australian Government supspended the processing of refugee applications from ayslum seekers from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. Amnesty International condemns this political decision as it blatantly overrides Australias international obligations outlined under the UN Refugee Convention. This recent issue has raised concerns about Australia's reputation as an international leader in the Asia Pacific Region as well as
the nations breach of its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This projects a negative view of Australia and its foreign policies placing the nation under the spotlight of international judgement.

Amnesty International Australia has currently released a petition which can be circulated over the next two weeks at all local community events as well as sending an email to all supporters, doing an array of media work and posting an online action. This recent human rights emergency is a high priority and we cannot lose any opportunties to publicly disclose this matter. So please advise us if you are planning anything or to get materials for your upcoming stall this weekend or in the next fornight.

Please ensure that you keep an eye out for public events/vigils which will be held within the next fortnight.

If you have any queries concerning the Refugee Emergency situtation and AIA efforts in combating this issue, please contact Ruby.

Phone: (02) 8396 7658

Face to Face Locations

Monday 12th April: CBD King St, Barrack St, Wynyard St

Tuesday 13th April: Campsie Beamish St, Ashfield

Wednesday 14th April: Leichhardt, Westmead

Thursday 15th April: Liverpool, North Sydney- Mount St Mall, Miller St, Walker St

Friday 16th April: Chatswood, Marrickville

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Update on Human Rights Innovation Fund (HRIF)

I'm pleased to provide you with an update on the Human Rights Innovation Fund (HRIF). As you know, the purpose of the HRIF is to provide those interested in promoting and defending human rights with direct access to funding to support new, innovative and creative initiatives which will have impact in Australia.

The Committee was delighted to receive eight proposals for projects in the first funding round of 2010. It was a competitive field of diverse projects and two proposals were selected for funding receiving a total of $15,000:

1. We are pleased to partner with Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), whose focus is on changing the attitudes and behaviours of non-Indigenous Australians so that the rights and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are respected and affirmed across all sections of society. This project, supported by AIA’s HRIF grant, will produce a print publication and web site content titled “Success Stories: Aboriginal Communities in Control”, recognising Indigenous community-led initiatives in the Northern Territory across a range of areas

2. We are also pleased to support the launch of the Australian Corporate Accountability Network (ACAN), Australia’s first multi-disciplinary network of civil society organisations who pledge to work collaboratively on a wide range of projects that encourage greater corporate accountability for human rights abuses. Launching ACAN will be a significant ‘shot in the arm’ for the existing calls for Australia’s Federal government to meet its due diligence obligation to protect those people who are vulnerable to Australian corporate abuses, particularly by providing greater access to justice for victims.

If you know of an individual or organisation interested in applying for funds, please visit our web site for the guidelines and application form at:

There are 4 funding rounds each year – the next closes 31st May 2010.


Kaye Blackman
Director Governance and Infrastructure
Amnesty International Australia

Update from National President & National Director

Hi Everyone

Welcome to the first National President & National Director update for 2010. We hope the year has started well for you, and that you are feeling inspired in your human rights work.
The first Board meeting was held at the end of February. We reflected on the successes and challenges of 2009 and were pleased to note the progress made through our human rights campaigning work. We also noted some of the challenges faced and lessons learnt for future work.

One highlight of the work in 2009 was the creation of a plain English, illustrated booklet version of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, featuring commentary from some of Australia’s Indigenous leaders, The booklet was launched in Sydney on 26 January 2010 at the Yabun Festival, a day-long celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Tom Calma, former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, assisted with the launch.

A few highlights of the successes are featured on our website and can be viewed at:

As a Board, we are always looking at how we can inspire, engage and empower our activists and supporters, and ways to ensure we are including a diversity of voices. At the board meeting, we had a discussion on strategic activism within the organisation. We will continue to ensure that, as a Board, we are focusing on activism and working towards our vision of 500,000 people taking action for human rights.

The Board very much appreciates the dedication and hard work of Amnesty International Australia’s supporters and activists during 2009. We achieved some great results, and really showed that together we can make a difference.

At the February Board meeting, the Board also discussed the Objects of our Constitution. Amnesty International Australia's Objects were last amended almost a decade ago. Following decisions made by the international movement and the Australian section, the current Objects are now out of date, so the Board will be proposing new Objects for approval at the next National Annual General Meeting in July 2010. The amended Objects will provide a more accurate description of our current activities. The Branch Presidents will be collecting feedback on the draft Objects at the next Branch Committee meeting, so please contact your local region for further information if you would like to be involved in this process.

2009 was also a big year for the international movement, with some significant changes taking place. The new Secretary General, Salil Shetty, will take up his duties in June 2010 and we look forward to welcoming him to the organisation. He has been the Director of the UN's Millennium Campaign for the past six years and, prior to this, Chief Executive of international anti-poverty NGO ActionAid. He brings that great experience to his new role at Amnesty International.
Following the International Council Meeting in August 2009, the Board of the Australian section agreed to the request for a voluntary additional contribution to the international movement of AUD $380,000. Our expectation is that these funds will be used for growth in the Global South and we will continue to monitor the allocation of the additional contributions. The Chair of the International Executive Committee (IEC), Peter Pack, has warmly thanked the Australian section and noted the need for the IEC to improve reporting on these areas. The Board is very pleased to advise that we will continue to work with the international movement to strengthen sections in the Asia Pacific region, and look forward to being able to update you on progress made.

The IEC has established a number of sub-committees. These include a strategy committee, a governance taskforce, and a diversity and gender mainstreaming taskforce. Amnesty International Australia will play an active role in contributing to the work of these committees and, in particular, to the work of the Global Governance Taskforce as Nicole Bieske has been appointed as a member. This Taskforce will focus on reviewing international governance within Amnesty International. The objective of the taskforce is to propose to the International Executive Committee a governance system for the movement that will enable the movement to:
· develop clear global strategies and global operational goals
· align strategic priorities, competencies and resources
· strengthen global monitoring
· build global governance on a foundation of dynamic and effective democracy.
It is a great opportunity for the Australian section to have international representation on a committee of this nature, and Nicole will be able to provide regular updates on the committees work and the outcomes.

To start the preparations for the next International Council Meeting (ICM), the Board needs to establish the International Nominations Committee. This committee is established every two years to assess applications for the Amnesty International Australia delegation to the ICM. The Board is currently seeking expressions of interest from members of Amnesty International Australia to serve on this committee until the conclusion of the ICM in 2011. For criteria and application details please see information on the website at:
Expressions of interest should be submitted by 5pm on Friday 26 March 2010 to Karla -

There are many opportunities to get involved in Amnesty International’s work. Branch Annual General Meetings are fast approaching and all are encouraged to attend and to nominate for the position of Branch President, Regional Representative, general member of the Branch Committee, or National Annual General Meeting delegate. This will be the first year that we will be electing Regional Representatives at the Branch Annual General Meetings as a result of the Constitutional changes from the National Extraordinary General Meeting last year. These Regional Representatives will be members of the Board and members of their regional Branch Committee while the Branch Presidents will be the Chair of the Branch Committee and the Chair of the Branch Annual General Meeting. If you have any questions, please contact your Branch President.

The next newsletter will include updates on our campaigns, and further information can be found on the website or from your Community Campaigner or Branch President.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns please contact us at

Thanks and best wishes,

Nicole Bieske (National President), Claire Mallinson (National Director)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Face to Face locations

Face to Face locations for week commencing Mon 5th April

Mon 5th April - (Public Holiday) NRL

Tue 6th April - Parramatta, randwick, Marrickville, Coogee

Wed 7th April - CBD (Hunter St), CBD (Farrer Pl), CBD (Macquarie St), CBD (Elizabeth St)

Thurs 8th April - Hornsby, Paddington, Charring Cross, Maroubra

Fri 9th April - Newtown, Dulwich Hill, Erskineville, Broadway

Also, some advance notice for week commencing 12th April:

Mon 12th April - Nowra, Berry

Tue 13th April - Nowra, Berry

Wed 14th April - Bowral, Kiama

Thur 15th April - Bowral, Kiama

Fri 16th April -Wollongong, Goulburn

Sat 17th April - Wollongong, Goulburn

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Branch Committee meeting

The next travelling Branch Committee meeting will be held in Springwood - Blue Mountains - Saturday 17 April

The NSW Regional Committee of Amnesty is the peak body of the NSW Region responsible for leading and supporting Amnesty's campaigning work across NSW. The Regional Committee, comprising of NSW President Anthony Mitchell, Vice president Gabe Kavanagh, Treasurer Giles Gunesekera, Secretary Carol King and five other committee members, meet monthly to conduct its business and regularly travels to regional locations in order to meet with activists and action group members across the State. The Regional Committee travels in this way to facilitate discussion with local groups and their members and supporters on their campaign work and how continuous improvement in the support provided can be achieved by the Committee and the Action Centre.

10:00am arrive, meet and greet
10:15am Regional Committee meets and discusses issues with local Amnesty activists and members.
11:00am Morning Tea
11:15am Community Campaigner provides an update on current campaigns across NSW.
12:00pm Working Lunch with some local action on a key current campaign theme.
01:30pm Regional Committee conducts standard April meeting.
03:00 pm Close of day and depart.

If you would like to attend the meeting RSVP: or ph: 02 4751 2076