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: http://www.amnesty.org.au/features/comments/24470
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: http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/24221/
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: http://www.amnesty.org.au/crisis/comments/24008/
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: http://www.amnesty.org.au/poverty/comments/24316/
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: http://www.amnesty.org.au/about/icm
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: firstname.lastname@example.org