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Amnesty Campaigning Update



This message is particularly for those in the UK interested in Amnesty's
silence on sanctions, but is also a plea for those in other countries to
lobby their own AI section.

The situation with Amnesty so far...

The International Council Meeting takes place in August. They already have a
number of proposals before them from all the different country sections, on
all sorts of topics.

The AIUK proposal currently before them is that the ICM 'look again' at the
issue of sanctions on states. If this is what the ICM decides to do then we
should find out the results of their 'looking again' sometime next year,
when perhaps another 80,000 or so innocent people would have died as a
result of the sanctions. Not good enough.

Our group's motion to the AGM is, at present,

"That AIUK should propose that the International Council Meeting formulate
an ACTIVE policy to oppose human rights abuses arising from sanctions
against states, AS A MATTER OF URGENCY."

It can't be country-specific, but there is space for a background note in
which we explained the 'urgency' part as referring in particular to Iraq,
and also attached the report which we produced (and posted here) about how
AI's mandate can easily cover sanctions.

I believe a couple of other local groups are putting forward similar
motions.

The point of this is that if it was passed, the UK reps on the ICM would
have a mandate to lobby the ICM as a whole to change their policy towards
sanctions NOW due to the humanitarian crisis. This process could be
difficult, as it is, as far
as I understand, short-cutting normal procedures. Possibly we would get a
"needsfurther study" sort of answer, especially if they are only hearing of
this
proposal at quite short notice.

However, there are other proposals currently before the ICM from different
country sections. I have been in contact with members of AI's Mandate
Advisory Group (who all find our motion to be perfectly acceptable and are
being very encouraging about it). They have just informed me that Tunisia
has already put a proposal before the ICM which says just about exactly what
our motion says. I don't know the wording for sure yet, but I'm working on
that.

Also the Irish section apparently have a similar proposal, the French
section wants a 'prompt study' done, and of course there's the UK's
not-so-prompt-study proposal. Thus, to urge the UK reps to strongly back the
Tunisian or Irish motion would probably be more effective in securing a
result than putting
forward another proposal for discussion.

Given this, the MAG are suggesting that as a matter of tactics we change the
wording of the motion to:

"That AIUK should support any ICM resolution calling for AI to oppose Human
Rights abuses arising from sanctions, and should press for this to be given
a high priority."

This looks OK. We may want to tinker with it a little after more thought and
discussion with our group and the MAG. We want to know exactly what the
Tunisian motion says first, though.

Despite the deadline for motions to the AIUK AGM having passed (10th
February) we can still consult with the Standing Orders Committee and change
the wording up to 3 weeks before the AGM (9th-11th April, University of
Swansea).

I BELIEVE THE PROSPECT OF THE MOTION (OR ONE VERY LIKE IT) BEING PASSED IS
QUITE HIGH.
(A motion was passed last year asking that the ICM should look at the
matter).

BUT IT WILL NEED THE SUPPORT OF AS MANY MEMBERS AS POSSIBLE. THE BIGGER THE
VOTE, THE STRONGER MANDATE FOR THE UK REPS TO LOBBY THE ICM.

Applications to take part in the AGM must be in by the latest 19th March.
(Save yourself 20 on the accommodation by booking before March 1st).

We have sent information about sanctions/ bombing/ Amnesty's silence to all
the local groups in London, and to some in other parts of the country, and
distributed similar information at the recent Pinochet protest in Trafalgar
Square (there was a lot of interest and we could have got rid of loads
more). Hopefully this will help with support at the AGM and eliminate
potential arguments and misunderstandings before they start.

That's about it for now.
Anyone else doing similar stuff, let me know!

See you at the AGM.

Cheers,

Glenn.



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