Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Case Files for Action Groups

Su Su Nway - Myanmar

Labour activist Su Su Nway, who is a member of the main opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD), is serving a sentence of eight years and six months in a remote prison, far from her family, for taking part in anti-government protests.
In November 2007, she was arrested for putting up an anti-government banner near the hotel in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, where the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar was staying.
After her arrest on 13 November 2007, Su Su Nway was tried in the North Yangon District Court and was sentenced on 11 November 2008 to 12 years and six months in prison. Her sentence was later reduced on appeal to eight years and six months. She was moved to Kale prison, in the north of the country, some 680 miles from Yangon, and from there to Hkamti prison, in August 2009, which is one of the remotest prisons in the country
Campaigning for her to be released – prisoner of conscience – also for better conditions (she is being held in solitary confinement at present and not allowed to see family or have medical attention)

Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia - China

Dr Liu Xiaobo, prominent Chinese scholar, and 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is serving an 11-year sentence for "inciting subversion of state power". His sentence was based on writing six articles distributed on websites hosted outside mainland China between 2005 and 2007 and devising Charter 08, soliciting signatures to it and publishing it online.
His wife, Liu Xia, a poet and artist, is under illegal house arrest in Beijing. She was last heard from on 18 October 2010. They are human rights defenders and prisoners of conscience.
Campaigning for them both to be released immediately, also for right to freedom of expression.

What do the groups need to do to start work?

Email an expression of interest to the IAR inbox - - and I can send them a short registration form. The registration form provides information on what the groups will be doing, the program that we use for casefiles (Basecamp) and collects the information required to register them with Basecamp.

What if I need more information?

Please send me an email - - if you require any additional information.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children

Today the Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, announced the launch of the ‘National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and Their Children’. She stated that, “It is time to end the ad hoc and generalised solutions – it is time for us to work together, to share our best practices and to make a real difference for Australian women.”

The plan aims to:
- reduce the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual assault;
- increase the proportion of women who feel safe in their communities;
- reduce deaths related to domestic violence and sexual assault; and
- reduce proportion of children exposed to their mother’s or carer’s experience of domestic violence.

The announcement of the national plan is wonderful news for everyone involved in the Stop Violence Against Women campaign and is further confirmation that Amnesty International’s campaigns do make a difference.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Urgent Action - Catholic priest risks being returned to prison

Vietnamese human rights activist and Catholic priest Father Nguyen Van Ly is at risk of being returned to prison in mid-March despite his fragile health. He suffered from a stroke in prison in November 2009 which left him partially paralyzed, after being held in solitary confinement. He did not receive adequate medical treatment.

Father Ly, now aged 64, was granted a 12 month “temporary suspension” of his eight year prison sentence on 15 March 2010 so that he could receive medical treatment after also being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Since his release, he has been living under surveillance at a house for retired priests in the diocese of the Archbishop of Hue, in central Viet Nam.

Whilst in prison, Father Ly was held mainly in solitary confinement, and suffered from several periods of ill-health over a seven month period before having a stroke. He received neither a proper diagnosis nor adequate medical care. The authorities sent him to Prison Hospital 198 in mid-November 2009, but returned him to prison on 11 December while he was still partially paralyzed.

Father Ly was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment in 2007 for spreading "propaganda" against the state. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, arrested and convicted for the peaceful dissemination of his views on democracy and human rights.
Father Ly was first jailed for his criticism of government policies on religion in the late 1970s, and has already spent 17 years as a prisoner of conscience, for calling for respect for human rights and freedom of expression. He is one of the founders of the internet-based pro-democracy movement Bloc 8406, and has helped to set up other political groups, which are banned by the Vietnamese authorities. He also secretly published a dissident journal, To Do Ngon Luan (Freedom and Democracy).

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English or your own language:

  • Calling on the authorities to release Father Ly immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience, arrested solely for the peaceful expression of his non-violent beliefs.
  • Requesting that Father Ly is not returned to prison when the 12 months suspension of his sentence expires in March 2011.

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Pham Gia Khiem
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
1 Ton That Dam Street
Ba Dinh district, Ha Noi
Viet Nam
Fax: + 8443 823 1872
Salutation: Dear Minister

Minister of Public Security
Le Hong Anh
Ministry of Public Security
44 Yet Kieu Street
Ha Noi
Viet Nam
Fax: 8443 942 0223
Salutation: Dear Minister

And copies to:
Apostolic Nuncio to Viet Nam
(Diplomatic Vatican representative to Viet Nam)
Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli
55 Waterloo Street 6,
Singapore 0718

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the second update of UA313/09. Further information:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This Saturday stand in solidarity with the people of Egypt!

Volunteers needed urgently for Saturday for a range of roles including collecting petition signatures! RSVP ASAP:

Stand in solidarity with the people of Egypt and the wider Middle East and North Africa to demand an end to the restrictions on protesters' rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Amnesty International is coordinating solidarity actions across the world - including a large demonstration in Trafalgar Square in London, actions in the USA and Australia cities of Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, among other cities around the world.

The Egyptian people must be able to make their voices heard and journalists and human rights activists must be able to carry out their work free from fear of intimidation or harassment.
We invite you to join us in standing in solidarity with people demanding an end to repression and respect for human rights.

When: Saturday, 12th of February, 12:00 - 1:00pm
Where: Town Hall Square, next to Town Hall steps

Monday, February 7, 2011

2010 in Review

2010 In Review
2010 was an action packed year for human rights. We have much to be proud of. Thank you for your ongoing support and commitment. Throughout 2010 we sent regular updates on key campaign activities. By clicking on the link below you’ll be able to access a slide show featuring 10 such highlights from 2010 as well as a blog by Claire Mallinson, first published by ABC’s The Drum:

Refugee Campaign
The boat tragedy at Christmas Island on 15th December was a shocking reminder of the very real risks that asylum seekers take in their search for safety. In responding to this disaster Amnesty International asked Australians to remember that at the centre of the refugee political debate are real people seeking help, people who feel they have no alternative to making a treacherous boat voyage.

We know that if we are going to get lasting improvement in refugee policy we need to work hard to address public misunderstandings about asylum seekers. The tragic incident at Christmas Island has come at a time when AIA’s advertising ‘Rethink Refugees’ campaign is in full swing, with TV commercials, billboards, cinema ads and a variety of other media asking the public to think again about ‘the boats’.

This is a long term process but our polling shows that the ads are already starting to be noticed. People are engaging with the advertising and some positive shifts in attitude are beginning to happen.

Look out for the ads when you are at the movies over the summer, and don’t forget to get your copy of the ‘Let’s Change the Conversation’ booklet from your local Action Centre. For additional information please see:

Burma (Myanmar)
On Sunday 7th November Burma went to the polls. Our campaign in the lead up to and beyond the elections was focused on the call for the three freedoms - freedom of expression, assembly and association - for the people of Burma. Thousands of people in Australia and across the globe contributed to taking over 100,000 actions sending emails to the governments of some of Burma's nearest neighbours in South East Asia.

Following the election our campaign for real change in Burma was given a massive boost with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. However over 2,200 other political prisoners remain behind bars in Burma.

In the lead up to the election AI Australia joined forces with AI UK to buy radios for Burma and give Burmese people access to independent information from outside the grasp of the junta. The project has been a huge success with over 10,000 radios bought by AI supporters. For additional information see:

U2 concerts Demand Dignity
In December U2 played 8 concerts across Australia, and as part of a global partnership with AI the band allowed our activists and staff to attend to collect signatures on a petition for better sanitation in the slums of Nairobi. A big thank you to all the activists across Australia who worked up to 12 hours stints to collect over 31,000 petition signatures in support of the Demand Dignity campaign. For more information please see:

2011 is Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary year. Exiting plans are in development for local, national and international celebrations of 5 decades of human rights achievement. Our AI at 50 launch will take place on our birthday on 28th May, 2011. We’ll keep you informed as plans develop.

Action for Women’s Rights
In November we launched action in support of the One Million Signatures Campaign to end discrimination against women in Iranian law. Already thousands of supporters have sent in action cards to support the campaign.

Following on from the Stop Violence Against Women global campaign, this action is part of our continuing work for women’s human rights as part of our ‘gender mainstreaming’ process, where we are systematically integrating a gender perspective across all our campaigns. We've held gender mainstreaming training for project leaders, Board members and the Senior Management Team.

In October Claire attended the launch of AI’s report on barriers to reproductive health for women in Indonesia, and we will continue working for the rights of women in Indonesia in 2011.

Our work in support of the UN Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is ongoing, with a presence at the Tarerer Festival near Warrnambool in November. The endorsement of the Declaration by the US President in December was also welcome news. Finally we have agreement among world governments on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

November Board Meeting
At the November Board meeting held in Sydney on 20th and 21st November, 2010 the Board reviewed campaign and project plans for 2011.

The Board agreed that our key campaigns for 2011 will be:

Our Refugee and Asylum Seeker campaign. This will be the high priority human rights impact area for the first half of 2011.
Our Indigenous Rights - Homelands campaign. This will be the high priority human rights impact area for the second half of 2011.
Demand Dignity International and Crisis Response. These campaigns will be medium level priorities throughout the year.
Outreach on the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Individuals at Risk will be two key campaign projects that we’ll focus on during 2011.

In addition, the organisation will focus on two Strengthen Grow and Inspire projects: Amnesty International's 50th anniversary celebrations and SuMS (our supporter database development and implementation). Our Inspiring 500,000 Supporters project and External Communications will continue as core work, as will our Reconciliation Action Plan.

The Board agreed to our overall budget for 2011 with additional voluntary contributions made to the International Secretariat.

The Board also discussed the following items at the November Board meeting:

Amnesty International Australia's role in the Asia Pacific region. During 2011 we’ll prioritise key areas where we can strategically add value to the work of AI Asia Pacific. We’ll keep you informed as our plans unfold.

Opportunities for activist engagement and inspiring participation to ensure that we achieve reach our 2014 vision.

The recent Asia Pacific Amnesty International Forum meeting in Hong Kong were strong relationships were built between the sections in the region, and discussions were had about the future work of Amnesty International.

Outcomes from the 2009 International Council Meeting and an update on the work of international committees.

Amnesty International’s draft Reconciliation Action Plan. Our Reconciliation Action plan is expected to be launched on 28th January 2011 at the Adelaide Action Centre.

Our 2011 National Annual General Meeting (NAGM). The Board agreed that NAGM will be held in the Sydney Action Centre on 9th July, 2011. This meeting will only go for one day and will focus on governance and constitutional matters. The reason for the shorter AGM is that in October AI Australia will host a Human Rights Conference designed to enhance human rights debate and provide opportunities for workshops and training. The Conference will take place in early October 2011.

International Council Meeting (ICM) resolutions for the 2011 International Council Meeting. Amnesty International Australia has submitted two resolutions for the meeting and they can be found at:

Continued lobbying for a National Plan of Action to end violence against women, with the support of AIA’s women’s teams at the state/territory level.
The head of the Australian delegation to the Human Rights Council’s recent Universal Periodic Review of Australia indicated that the Federal Government was hoping to have the endorsement of all States and territories for the implementation of the NPOA in early 2011. COAG is scheduled to next meet on 14 February so we will be watching the outcomes of that closely.

We very much look forward to working with you to achieve human rights impact in Amnesty International’s 50th year.

If you have any questions about anything in this update or would like to ask question, please contact us at: