Group Newsletter December 2022

Welcome to the latest newsletter.
Our next meeting  is on Thursday 5th January 2023,  7.30pm at Moordown Community Centre. Before then we hope you enjoy the seasonal festivities.  And, as the cases highlighted below indicate, there is little doubt our campaigning will need to continue in 2023…

Write for Rights (W4R)

W4R is Amnesty International’s annual campaign, sending greetings cards to prisoners of conscience, their families and other human rights defenders around the world.  In 2019, more than 6.5 million messages of support and appeal letters were sent during the W4R campaign. They made a big difference to the people and communities confronting injustice and facing human rights violations.
We had two successful W4R events, at Moordown Community Centre and Bournemouth Library. Thanks, especially, to the library for being so welcoming and letting us set up in their upstairs entrance, rather than the downstairs foyer.
Its not too late to take part; please download the 2022 W4R booklet and send cards to those imprisoned for their beliefs – most for taking part in or supporting protests, such as Russian Sasha Skochilenko (above).  She decided to peacefully protest by replacing price tags in her local supermarket with small labels carrying information about the the war in Ukraine. She faces 10 years in prison

Take Action, add your Name to Petitions

Whilst W4R is about sending messages of solidarity to those being persecuted for their beliefs, there are some other actions you can take. To tell the Russian government to release Sasha immediately and unconditionally and drop all charges against her, sign the petition here:-

Chow peacefully encouraged people to remember the victims on the Tiananmen Square massacre after the authorities cancelled a vigil. She was arrested and faces 10 years in prison. Demand the Hong Kong authorities release her now.
Tell Hong Kong authorities to drop all charges against Chow and release her immediately

Dorgelesse Nguessan attended her first ever protest, but she was arrested and imprisoned for five years. Her family are struggling to survive without her. Call for her immediate release.

Dorgelesse, a single mother running her hairdressing business to support her family, is in prison for attending her first ever protest.
Take action and tell the Cameroon government to drop charges and release her immediately.

Luis Manuel is an artist who is imprisoned after he posted a video online, saying he would be taking part with others in one of the largest demonstrations Cuba had seen in decades. But he was arrested before the protest took place and taken to Guanajay maximum security prison, where he remains.
Luis Manuel was sentenced to five years in prison after a trial behind closed doors. In prison, his health is declining and he’s not getting proper medical care.  Act now and help tell the Cuban authorities to release Luis Manuel immediately.

South America Newsletter December 2022
This month there is news from Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Argentina and Chile. Amnesty has issued new reports on gender-based violence in Colombia and Ecuador and on institutional racism in Brazil. A transgender couple from Paraguay has been chosen for this year’s Write for Rights Campaign and we encourage you to write solidarity letters and to the Paraguayan authorities on their behalf. Since the newsletter was published there is now an Urgent Action relating to Peru:-

Peru: Protesters killed and injured in violent crackdown

Peru has gone into a spiral of violence that included several human rights violations, especially against protesters in Lima and other major cities. This political crisis escalated with then-President Castillo announcing the dissolution of the National Congress on 7 December. Protests and violence continue to rise throughout the country against Congress and the new political forces in place. To date, according to the Ombudsperson Office, seven people have died, including two adolescents, all by firearms, and dozens of injured protesters and journalists. There is an Urgent Action.
A word document of the sample letter, used by the group, is here.
Please also send a copy of any letters to the UK Ambassador; His Excellency Mr Juan Carlos Gamarra, Embassy of Peru, 15 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB Email:

Good news from Türkiye

The convictions of four human rights defenders in the so called Büyükada case were quashed by Turkey’s highest court, the Court of Cassation. As you will recall, the  defendants include Taner Kılıç, Amnesty Turkey’s Honorary Chair, and Idil Eser, Amnesty Turkey’s former Director.
The decision by Turkey’s highest appeals court to overturn baseless convictions of Amnesty Turkey’s Honorary Chair and three other human rights defenders is a huge relief, yet also highlights once more the politically motivated nature of the prosecutions. The ruling by the Court of Cassation on the convictions of Taner Kılıç, İdil Eser, Özlem Dalkıran and Günal Kurşun – four of the original 11 human rights defenders in the Büyükada case, who were convicted in July 2020 – comes more than five years after their initial arrests in the summer of 2017.
The slight sting in the tail is that Taner Kılıç’s case was quashed on the grounds of ‘incomplete investigation’ and referred back to the first instance court so we will have to wait to see what happens there. In May, the European Court of Human Rights reaffirmed that the authorities in Turkey did not have “any reasonable suspicion that Taner Kılıç had committed an offence”. It also found that his pre-trial detention under terrorism-related charges was “directly linked to his activity as a human rights defender”. This binding decision became final in October and the Council of Europe has told Turkey it is expected to adhere to it.
Following the ruling Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:
“We celebrate this decision today, but we do not forget that across Turkey many human rights defenders are languishing in jail, living in fear of arrest or facing similar unfounded prosecutions.
We will continue to stand with Taner…and to fight against the relentless curtailing of human rights in Turkey, and on behalf of those who refuse to be silenced by the government’s threats.”

And finally…

Thanks to everyone who supported our Quiz Night last month. We raised £320. More details here…