Monday, January 31, 2011

Upcoming refugee training sessions

More refugee booklet training sessions will be run in the Action Centre in the following months. If you would like to attend but cannot make any of these sessions, please email and register your interest and we will get back to you when more training sessions come up.

For more info on our current refugee campaign see blog posts below.

Session 1
When: Tuesday 1st March, 6-8pm (TBC)
Where: Level 1, 79 Myrtle St, Chippendale

Session 2:
When: Wednesday 20th April, 6-8pm (TBC)
Where: Level 1, 79 Myrtle St, Chippendale

Session 3
When: Wednesday 11th May, 6-8pm (TBC)
Where: Level 1, 79 Myrtle St, Chippendale

Monday, January 24, 2011

Face to Face Locations Starting 24/01/2011

Monday 24th January - Pyrmont

Tuesday 25th January - Glebe

Wednesday 26th January - Public Holiday

Thursday 27th January - Milsons Point

Friday 28th January - Newtown

Saturday 29th January - none

Refugee Training Sessions

When: Wednesday 2 February and Monday 7 February
Time: 6-8pm
Where: Level 1, 79 Myrtle St, Chippendale

For more information see blog posts below about the current refugee campaign.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Amnesty International NSW Catch Up

NSW Action Group Catch-Up

When: Monday 21st February 2011 from 6 - 7.30pm. 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 and accommodation: or on 8396 7665

If you are unable to attend in person but are keen to ring in: (Ph.) 96960695, (PIN) 336849# Amnesty International NSW is holding its first NSW Action Group Catch-Up of 2011. The Catch-Up will be a great opportunity to:

- Meet and engage with other NSW groups, convenors and members of AI NSW. - Receive updates on the Refugee campaign and our new campaign around AI's 50th Anniversary - Review and receive updates on AIA's consultation and planning policies - Go over problems arising for action groups, especially on retention and mobilisation of members - Run through the new campaign and events - Provide us with valuable feedback about your group activities, 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. Light food and drinks will be provided. Looking forward to catching up at the meeting!

Refugee campaign

As part of the Amnesty International Refugee and Asylum Seeker Campaign, we are encouraging Australians to have 10 Conversations about asylum seekers. This is a strategy to get Australians to ‘think again’ about asylum seekers in order to facilitate genuine attitudinal change within the community and in broader Australia. Activists will be armed with facts and personal stories from asylum seekers to stimulate wide, informed discussion on the refugee debate in Australia. The idea is that peopel can draw on the relationshiops of influence they have within their peronal spheres and ask these people to think again about asylum seeksrs and use this as a way to change the debate more broadly.

Amnesty International will be running training sessions throughout the year with our various action groups as well as with members of the general public. These training sessions will teach you about the broader campaign, why the conversation startegy is so important in creating a movement of change and weverything you need to know about have a conversation about asylum seekers. Tentative date for the next training session is 7th February.

If you are interested in attending a training session (First one is on the 19th of Jan at teh NSW Action Centre) please email: to register your intests.

We will be holding general infomation sessions as well as train the trainer sessions so people can roll out the training again within their communities.

Check out the website for more info about the issue & the campaign!

Face to Face Locations Starting 17/01/11

Monday 17th January - Sutherland and Potts Point

Tuesday 18th January - Leichhardt and Randwick

Wednesday 19th January - Burwood and Rozelle

Thursday 20th January - Kensington

Friday 21st January - Pyrmont and Newtown (*note* CCNSW and HFA teams should not work on Missenden Road near the hospital as this is inappropriate.)

Saturday 22nd January - (none)

Monday, January 17, 2011

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 28th February 2011 (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

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Upcoming Refugee Events

We will be running a training session for the refugees campaign on Wednesday 19th January in the Action Centre. The training will introduce our current campaign tool, the conversation booklet, and teach you how to have a meaningful conversation about refugees and answer any questions you may have. Everyone interested is welcome to attend.
When: Wednesday 19th January, 6-8pm
Where: Level 1, 79 Myrtle St, Chippendale
Event page:

We also have another upcoming event on Saturday 29th January. Artist Shannon Crees is painting a mural in support of refugees at Bondi Beach and Amnesty will be hosting a picnic to celebrate the completion of her mural. The picnic will also be a chance to learn more about Amnesty and our current refugee campaign. Some food and drink will be provided but please feel free to bring a plate.
When: Saturday 29th January, 10am-12pm
Where: Behind the skate park, South End of Bondi Beach
Event page:

Inspirational Stories for AI@50 and Upcoming Events

As part of planning for AI@50, the media team is looking to start collecting stories from yourselves, activists and campaigners who have inspirational personal stories which could possibly be used for media opportunities.
This could include:

  • Inspirational stories from communities
  • Challenging and changing community perceptions in relation to human rights issues
  • Human rights wins
  • Quirky and colourful stories of hobbies and off-beat accounts of what individuals get up to when they're not out and about defending human rights
  • Stories from individuals who have suffered and overcome human rights abuses
  • People who have been directly affected by the work of Amnesty International

If everyone could start thinking about ideas and possibilities for the above, that would be fantastic. Feel free to email through any suggestions or stories as you can come across them. We are trying to build up a bit of content that we can draw from as we look to promote AI@50.

Also, it would be fantastic if you could email information on upcoming events. We are starting to put together a key dates calendar for 2011 so we can better work with you on local media opportunities, so if you could continue to send on dates (tentative or confirmed), that would be fantastic.

Send emails to:
Ruby Johnson
NSW Community Campaigner

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Face to Face Locations Starting 10/01/11

Monday 10th January - Coffs Harbour

Tuesday 11th January - Urunga

Wednesday 12th January - Nambucca Heads

Thursday 13th January - Coffs Harbour

Friday 14th January - Dee Why

Saturday 15th January - Bellingen

Human Rights Innovation Fund - Update

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 HRIF is an important part of Amnesty International's ongoing commitment to developing and nurturing partnerships with other organisations to increase our human rights impact.

The HRIF Committee worked actively in 2010 to promote the fund to a broad range of community organisations. Success is evidenced by the volume of applications, with 40 applications received over the four funding rounds in 2010. Applications addressed a wide variety of human rights issues, from child trafficking to refugees, using an array of techniques such as documentary films, photographic exhibitions, cultural festivals, web sites, forums, public events, mobile street stalls, theatre, human rights forums, education and training. Eight projects were funded for a total of $57,590, enabling Amnesty International to partner with organisations such as ANTaR Queensland and NSW, Peace Brigades International – Australia, the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee of WA, Urapuntja Council Aboriginal Corporation and ActNow Theatre for Social Change.

In the last funding round of 2010, the HRIF Committee received fifteen applications for projects. There was an interesting mix of proposals including a travelling art and photography exhibition about Karen refugees in Thailand camps, cultural mapping relating to Indigenous land rights, human rights forums and a rights-based development radio program.

The Committee has chosen three proposals to fund. The first is a social marketing campaign by All Together Now, a relatively new organisation which aims to eliminate racist behaviour by promoting the acceptance of cultural diversity. All Together Now will partner with The Bodyshop to deliver a social media package to promote the rights and responsibilities of individuals as members of a tolerant, inclusive society. The project has a specific focus on race equality and will engage with young people, who are positive about diversity, and empower them to speak out about racism in a positive and courageous way. These younger people have a unique capacity to influence their ambivalent peers and family members. This ‘ambivalent group’ represents around 33% of the population as identified in the “Mapping Social Cohesion” report.

The second proposal to receive funds is the South Australian-based youth led theatre company, ActNow Theatre for Social Change Inc. Working with sexual health agency SHine SA and Southern Primary Health, ActNow Theatre will be the creative driver for the project Safe and Free, an interactive theatre performance addressing homophobia in high schools. The grant will enable the development of script/performance and three pilot presentations to school students on bullying, using homophobia as a case study.

Amnesty International will also partner with Peace Brigades International (PBI) – Australia, which provides crucial support to the organisation’s field projects in Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Mexico and Nepal. PBI’s field teams comprise 60 – 80 international observers, who work with human rights defenders representing 40 grassroots human rights organisations and individuals. PBI’s accompaniment work is only effective to deter violence when it is supported by a highly organised and international Political Support Network, which represents, strengthens and focuses existing international concern. This network operates in a similar way to Amnesty International’s Urgent Action process for individuals at risk, however its focus is high-level advocacy and influence.

This project aims to enhance the protection of human rights defenders in PBI’s project countries, and the grant will enable the organisation of three high-profile public events specifically to build the membership of the Political Support Network. The project also provides an opportunity for us to develop our relationship with PBI through shared public forums, mutual promotion of events and activities, and the development of shared local human rights advocacy and protection strategies.

If you have any questions or comments about the Human Rights Innovation Fund please contact me. 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 first one for 2011 closes on 28th February.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Burma campaign update

The Radios for Burma campaign in 2010 was a great success with the number of radios received well exceeding our target of 1500. As of 2 November we had received 1817 radios with more still coming. For more information about the Radios for Burma campaign go to our website:

One of our key objectives of the Burma campaign was to get the international community to start talking about the elections in terms of the three freedoms - expression, assembly and association - rather than using the 'free and fair' language. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a statement that, “There are the more than 2,000 persons in Myanmar who, in most cases, have been convicted by laws that limit freedom of expression and freedom of association and assembly and contravene international laws. “ This is a great achievement for all of our coordinated campaigning and advocacy work of the past months. The use of these terms is small in comparison to the serious human rights situation inside Burma, but significant in terms of our ability to shift international opinion and set the standards by which states should be measured.

If you haven't already, be sure to join the call for the three freedoms:

UN restores gay clause to killings resolution

UN member states have voted to restore a controversial reference to sexual orientation in a resolution against the unjustified killing of minority groups.

The clause had been removed after pressure from some Arab and African member states but the US had pushed to have it reinstated.

The General Assembly voted 93 in favour of the US proposal, with 55 countries voting against and 27 abstaining.

The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, welcomed the adoption of the amended resolution, saying it sent a "clear and resounding message" that justice and human rights applied to all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation.

But ahead of the vote, Zimbabwe's ambassador to the UN, Chitsaka Chipaziwa, attacked the US amendment, saying there was no need to refer explicitly to sexual orientation.

The General Assembly passes resolutions condemning extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions and other killings every two years.

The original 2008 declaration had included an explicit reference to killings committed because of the victims' sexual orientation.