Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Face to Face location

Face to Face location

Friday 2nd of July 2010: Glebe

Parramatta Action Group to meet in July

The newly-launched Parramatta Action group will meet again for its second meeting in July. The first Info Night held on June 24 during the World Refugee Week saw a number of Parramatta residents from diverse backgrounds, reflecting the strong multiculturalism in the area, come along. The next meeting will be held in July.

Date: 29 July
Time: 6 pm to 7 pm
Venue: Retro Room, Parramatta City Library

Friday, June 25, 2010

Training session - 24th July

On the 24th of July the Amnesty International is organising a training day to allow NSW activists the opportunity to attain a broader understanding of both our current campaigns, activism stratgey and how to improve your action group.

There will be a number of workshops such as:
- recruiting & retaining new members
- facilitating action group meetings
- group activities & activism
- organising events
- Crisis Response
- Stop Violence Against Women & Demand Dignity
- Refugees and asylum seekers

Amnesty International NSW will reimburse travel and accommodation expenses for activists who live far away. Lunch, afternoon tea and dinner will be provided. If we get a big turn up from places out of Sydney we will also consider an evening dinner event also.

Where: AIA NSW Action Centre, Level 1, 79 Myrtle Street, Chippendale,
When: 24th of July 2010 from 10am until 4pm
RSVP, inquiries or suggestions: or on 83967667

Looking forward to see you all on the training day!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Good News on our campaigning for Individuals at Risk: Sri Lankan journalist J.S. Tissainayagam freed

Sri Lankan journalist J.S. Tissainayagam (known as "Tissa") is freed after a presidential pardon. Tissainayagam arrived in the United States on 19 June.

Read his story and the thank you to Amnesty International from his wife, Ronnata

Our section featured Tissainayagam's case in the Human Rights Defender magazine, where supporters took up action for his case.

Face to Face Locations for this week

Face to Face Locations for the week commencing on the 21st of June 2010:

Monday 21st of June 2010: Randwick OTS, Coogee, Griffith (OTS), Griffin Plaza.

Tuesday 22nd of June 2010: Ashfield (OTS), Leichardt, Griffith, Griffin Plaza, Leeton (OTS).

Wednesday 23rd of June 2010: Erskenville, Griffith, Griffin Plaza, West Wyalong.

Thursday 24th of June 2010: Marickville, Parramatta, Griffith, Griffin Plaza, Temora (OTS).

Friday 25th of June 2010: Paddington (will not move to St. Vincents), CBD (circular Quay), Griffith, Griffin Plaza, Leeton (OTS).

Saturday 26th of June 2010: Griffith, Griffin Plaza, West Wyalong (OTS).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Scholarships Amnesty International Australia National Annual General Meeting

This year, an Amnesty International Australia (AIA) National Annual General Meeting (NAGM) will be held from the 9th to the 11th of July in Hobart. The Board has decided to offer up to eight scholarships to attend the meeting. More information is set out below. If you meet the criteria, you are strongly encouraged to apply! If you have any questions, please contact your Branch President or Jim Sharp (Board Vice President) at

Up to six scholarships are available to fund AIA members to attend NAGM (including Youth Summit) as observers and to participate in all the workshops and plenary sessions. The scholarships will cover the cost of return flights to Hobart, two nights accommodation at the NAGM venue (or three nights if required for travel purposes) and all food during the NAGM.

The NAGM Scholarships are intended to provide a means for AIA members (additional to those elected as delegates or observers) to attend NAGM, who might benefit from the experience. This could include members who are not able to attend Branch AGM’s or who are otherwise unable to participate in the election of NAGM delegates and observers to attend NAGM.

It is intended that the scholarships will enhance the diversity of activist experience present at NAGM and assist in ensuring that the training and development provided at NAGM 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 NAGM (Friday 9 July to Sunday 11 July in Hobart);
· 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.
· Provide AIA with feedback of your experience attending NAGM.

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 NAGM (including Youth Summit) as observers and to participate in all the workshops and plenary sessions. The scholarships will cover the cost of return flights to Hobart, two nights accommodation (or three nights if required for travel purposes) and all food during the NAGM.

These Scholarships are intended to provide a means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth 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;
· Willingness to work with others to achieve change;
· Commitment to take knowledge back and share it with your friends and community;
· Desire in gaining a better understanding of AIA;
· Available to attend all of the NAGM (Friday 9 July to Sunday 11 July in Hobart).
· Must be aged between 18 to 30 years of age.
· Desire to have a continuing relationship with AIA.
· Provide AIA with feedback of your experience attending NAGM.


· Written applications to be submitted to the Selection Committee via email by 23/06/2010 (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.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Message from our Individuals at Risk Program Coordinator ( Rose Kulak)

Hello everyone,

We have just learnt that the Indonesian government has agreed to send prisoner of conscience and activists, Filep Karma, to Jakarta to receive urgent medical treatment. Filep has been very ill since August last year and was told he could not receive medical treatment due to lack of funds at the prison. We have not heard if Yusak Pakage, arrested and sentenced at the same time as Filep, is receiving the medical attention that he needs. Filep Karma and Yusak Pakage were charged with treason in 2005 after taking part in a peaceful political ceremony and sentenced to 15 and 10 years in prison respectively. While in prison they have been ill-treated and their health has deteriorated.

Three AIA action groups have been working for their case for the past year. We have also been liaising with AIUK on the case. Their case is featured in the current Human Rights Defender magazine on page 21 - please keep writing those letters to the head of the Papuan Provincial Department of Justice and Human Rights.
Thank you!

Amnesty International NSW Action Group Catch up Tonight!

Second Amnesty International NSW Action Group Catch up Tonight!

When: Wednesday 15th June 2010 from 6-7pm.

Where: Amnesty International Action Centre, Level 1, 79 Myrtle St, Chippendale

RSVP (please mention if you are going to attend in person or ring in), enquiries and to arrange assistance for transport: or on 83967667

If you are unable to attend in person but are keen to ring in: (Ph.) 96960695, (PIN) 336849#
Amnesty International NSW is holding its second quarterly NSW Action Group Catch-Up of this year. The Catch-Up is a great opportunity to:
- Meet and engage with other NSW groups, convenors and members of AI NSW.
- Receive an update from us about new campaigns, strategy and resources.
- Provide us with valuable feedback about your experiences and concerns.
While AI wants to engage with as many Action Groups as possible, we understand that it may be difficult (both in terms of time and money) to travel to Sydney to attend the Catch-Up. AI NSW is able to pay for Catch-Up transport for Action Groups outside the Sydney area or assist those who would like to ring in over the phone to take part in the meeting. Please contact us ASAP to organise these things.

Looking forward to catching up at the meeting!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

All Staff Meeting with Benjamin Zawacki, Amnesty International’s Burma expert

Twenty years ago, Aung San Suu Kyi's party, the National League for Democracy, won the national election in Burma in a landslide. The military junta prevented it from taking power. Now another election has been promised but restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly are severe and likely to escalate as the vote draws near.
On the 16th of June Amnesty International's Burma expert, Benjamin Zawacki is speaking at the Amnesty Office for Amnesty staff and activists. A great opportunity to join us for the latest on the human rights situation on the ground as Burma heads towards election.

When: Wednesday the 16th of June 2010 from 1.00pm-2.00pm

Where: Mahatma Ghandi Room, Amnesty International Action Centre, Level 1, 79 Myrtle Street, Chippendale, NSW 2008


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Vegetarian Indian/Sri Lankan Cooking Class for Refugee Week

As part of our celebrations for Refugee Week, Amnesty International NSW is hosting an Indian/Sri Lankan (vegetarian) cooking class on the 3rd of July 2010. The teacher, Leigh Drew is a passionate vegan home cook and food-o-phile. She runs cooking classes through the Sydney Community College and has written a dessert cookbook called Vegan Indulgence. She has also developed recipes for the desserts sold at naked espresso/Basil Pizza in Newtown (, She is an advocate of rights for all beings - human and animal - and enjoys taking her passion for great tasting and easy to make plant based food out into the community. We will start at 10.30 am and make a total of six dishes including four curries (tofu saag, baigan bharta, aloo gobi and chana masala), and two side dishes (roti/chapatti and spiced pilaf). The participation fee of 15$ includes a recipe booklet, the participation of the cooking class, lunch and food to take home. Please mention if you are on a gluten free diet when booking.

When: 10.30 am

Where: Lane Cove Seniors Centre, 180 Longueville Road, Lane Cove, NSW 2066

Participation price: 15$ (to be paid cash on the day)

Please RSVP to: Ingrid Giskes on

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Face to Face Locations for this week

Face to Face Locations for the week commencing on the 7th of June 2010:

Monday 7th of June 2010: Seaforth, Frenchs Forest Rd

Tuesday 8th of June 2010: Leichhardt

Wednesday 9th of June 2010: Erskineville

Thursday 10th of June 2010: Randwick

Friday 11th of June 2010: North Sydney (Mount St. Mall, Miller Street, Walker Street)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gaza Crisis Response

Given the news of the attack and deaths of activists on boats in international waters outside Gaza today, please see below an update on the situation, the human rights calls, what we are doing to respond and some background on the situation.

On the 31st of May at least 10 activists on boats protesting the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip were killed by Israeli armed forces. Israeli forces appear clearly to have used excessive force. Israel says its forces acted in self-defence, alleging that they were attacked by protesters, but it begs credibility that the level of lethal force used by Israeli troops could have been justified. It appears to have been out of all proportion to any threat posed. The activists on the ships made it clear that their primary purpose was to protest against the continuing Israeli blockade, which constitutes a form of collective punishment and so a breach of international law.

Amnesty International is calling for an international inquiry into the deaths caused by the raid on the aid flotilla in international waters outside Gaza today. Given the international nature of this incident and the continuing lack of credible Israeli investigations into violations of human rights in the context of the Gaza conflict, there is also a need for an immediate international investigation. The Israeli authorities have the primary responsibility to investigate the use of lethal force by its forces, as well as the claims by Israeli officials that Israeli forces were attacked with a range of weapons. But for full credibility and transparency, Israel should invite the relevant UN experts to carry out an investigation into the events of 31 May. (
Currently, Amnesty International has issued media releases from the IS and made them available on our site. Contact has been made with Crisis Response coordinators in AI UK and AI USA. AI UK has developed an online action directed at their Foreign Secretary ( Also, a letter is being drafted to be sent from Claire Mallinson to Stephen Smith outlining our calls. Moreover, assessment of actions planned for capital cities and groups involved is being done, to see if we can support/connect with them, with potential to provide a statement from us to be read out at these events. We keep on checking with IS about any plans for a global action, which will possibly depend on the outcome of the special session of the UN Security Council which is currently underway.

Talk back radio project

The Amnesty International Media Team is launching a talk back radio project. The aims of this project are to bring human rights issues to the attention of the producers and hosts of talk back radio stations, to influence the public debate in an arena where human rights issues are often ignored or maligned and to monitor the coverage of Amnesty issues in talk back radio.
In the short term we are trying to set up a team of 8 activists in Melbourne and Sydney to listen to "The Alan Jones Breakfast Show on 2GB in Sydney"and "Drive with Derryn Hinch of 3AW" in Melbourne. The activists would be asked to monitor if Amnesty topics are discussed, and feed this back to the Media Team.
In a longer term we would like to train the selected activists on Amnesty issues and on how to deal with talkback radio so that they call into the program when a relevant issue is discussed or/and contact other members of the group when an Amnesty issue is raised. Ideally we would also like to develop an SMS network among those activists, so that they can be instantaneously informed when a relevant topic is being discussed, and respond when possible. Ideally we need 8 activist to be able to start the project, and then a lot more to make it really work.

If you interested, please let us know on:

Eastern Suburbs Action Group Meeting

On the 8th of June 2010 the Amnesty Eastern Suburbs Group will host a speaking event with Professor Mary Crock. She will speak about the recent changes to refugee law with particular reference to the implications for children and families.

Professor Mary Crock is a Professor of Public Law at the Faculty of Law, Sydney University, and is also the Associate Dean, Postgraduate Research for the Faculty. Prof. (Dr.) Crock holds along with many grants, awards, publications and other honours to her name a PhD from Melbourne University, is an accredited specialist in immigration law, and a barrister and solicitor admitted to practice in NSW and Victoria. Her main field of research is migration, citizenship and refugee law. She also has interests in administrative law, international human rights law and constitutional law and public international law. She is known for her work on immigration detention, and has visited and reported on the detention facilities including Christmas Island and Curtin. She has also written and lectured on many other aspects of immigration and refugee law and their interface with other areas of law and other disciplines.

You can read her profile on:

When: 8th of June 2010 at 6:30pm

Where: Upstairs Durty Nelly's Hotel, 9-11 Glenmore Road, Paddington (just off Oxford Street