AGM & Meeting 10th March 2016

At our last meeting on 10th March we held our AGM and went on to have “normal” meeting as well! 


Chairman’s Report

The year started remarkably well with a quiz in early January at the Arts University Bournemouth campus. We had nothing to do with the organisation, which was down to someone called Wendy Gardner who most of us had never heard of.  Wendy organises these quizzes in aid of various charities, this year deciding on us and the Parkinson’s Society. But as we turned out en masse, she divvied it up 75:25, so we came away (literally) with £750!

We had two other quiz nights of our own, at the Brunswick in Charminster in April and The Queen Mary in Poole in November. Thanks to David Brown, David Rogers and Sally Hawksworth for running these events, but particularly to everyone who turns up. We don’t promote these events much outside the group, so they do need your support to continue.

Likewise street collections. These are strange events; I don’t think anyone enjoys the experience of being invisible for a few hours on a Saturday in the middle of town. As our Treasurer will explain, they do continue to generate useful revenue. Although this has dropped, it’s more to the passing public missing their cue to donate rather than lack of volunteers to take part.

The weather didn’t help with the Muscliffe Family Funday, which was held over until August due to bad weather. Thanks to May and Ted for manning their stall. Ted continues to give his talks to any school or organisation that is prepared to listen! This can be productive financially – The Women’s Fellowship West Parley donated over £50 – but also spreads the word about what Amnesty does and gets others involved in taking action.

We had two new events this year. We manned (or mainly womanned) a stall and took part in the procession at Bourne Free Pride Festival in July. This was quite successful as all our cards were signed and much interest shown in the LGBT cases Amnesty is involved in.  Also in July we supported a screening (and had a stall) of the documentary film “The Look of Silence” at Pavilion Dance. There was only a small public turnout to see this very moving film, but those who went from the group felt it was worth the effort to be there.

This year we managed to get two marvellous venues for our Write for Rights campaign.  Most of you know how difficult this has been in the past, leading to near arrest outside Borders about 8 years ago. Thanks to Ted, May and Genevieve for their persistence in getting these spots. Castlepoint was decimated by appalling weather, although we found a more direct, in your face, approach did work.

Finally the year ended as it had begun, with an unexpected donation. Fiona McDonald is an old member who has moved back to Poole, and wanted to celebrate a “special” birthday – OK she hit 50. But she wanted friends to donate to Amnesty International, rather than give her presents. Another £150 came our way. Thank you Fiona.

Thanks to David Rogers for maintaining our blog and producing the newsletter, that now goes out to over 200 people. He also informs me we have over 1000 followers on our Facebook page – far more than any other local group – and where actions get shared and followed up several times a week.

We’ve continued to meet at Moordown Community Centre every month, except August.  And every month we have written letters linked to our various campaigns in Cuba, South America, China and other Urgent Actions that arise. Unfortunately the China Coordinator, who was scheduled to speak to us in June, couldn’t get to us. However, in October we had an excellent talk by Dr Howard Davis, lecturer in Public Law at Bournemouth University about the Human Rights Act.  Thanks to all of you for turning out over the course of the year.

All the current post holders were re-elected:- Chair Andrew Turner Vice Chair Ted Stevens Secretary Lucy Freeman Treasurer David Rogers

Issues from main meeting

Human Rights Act Campaign

We still don’t know when the Government will bring out its consultation document – expected since last May. The briefing from AIUK does focus on a week of action 9 – 16th April, although we have nothing specific planned locally. The best thing we can all do is write to our MP and make them aware of our feelings on this issue. Your editor has written this letter to his MP Christopher Chope. Please use this and adapt to your own MP and personalise as much as possible. If you are not sure of your MP, check We wrote sent more letters relating to our case file on Jorge Lázaro Numes. Please go to the letters page of our blog to find out more and download sample letters. There was also an urgent action (do before 12th April) on two Azerbaijani activists who are being prevented from leaving the country for urgent medical treatment. Sample letter here, more details of urgent action here.


March 15th marks 5 years since the start of the crisis, Syria has become the epicentre of the world’s worst human rights & humanitarian catastrophe. Violence and insecurity, targeted and indiscriminate attacks against civilians, mass arrests and widespread torture in detention facilities, deliberate denial of assistance, and the collapse of services have prompted over 4.6 million people to flee the country and 7 million more to abandon their homes inside Syria. Please see the latest Amnesty report and also visit the AIUK site   But please take action – write to your MP. We have a template letter here.