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SCHOOL ACTION PACK

MAY–JULY 2010

Children off Christmas Island Free Burma’s youth activists Be an action hero! Amnesty International Australia www.amnesty.org.au


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010

Contents SECTION 01

UPDATES AND NEWS

SECTION 02

CAMPAIGNS 02.1 Children off Christmas Island 02.2 Act now for individuals at risk 02.3 Be an action hero!

SECTION 03

MAKE AN IMPACT 03.1 Six steps to successful events

SECTION 04

INFORMATION 04.1 Practical information and reminders

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CAMPAIGN ACTIONS: AT A GLANCE Campaign

Action

Target

Refugees and asylum seekers

Children off Christmas Island

Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration

Individuals at risk

Laos, Vietnam, Burma

Various

Human Rights Act for Australia

Be an action hero!

Kate Ellis, Minister for Youth

Cover: Sri Lankan asylum seekers from the Oceanic Viking are brought to Christmas Island. © AI/Jessica Baird

Amnesty International is part of the global movement defending human rights and dignity. We work with people in Australia and our region to demand respect for human rights and protect people facing abuse. We campaign, conduct research and raise money for our work. Our active members, such as school action groups, play a vital role in achieving our aims through writing letters, sending online actions, organising creative awareness-raising activities and fundraising in their communities.


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 01.1

CAMPAIGN UPDATES SHELL AND PAPUA NEW GUINEA ACTIONS

Water pollution caused by an oil spill at Ikarama, Niger Delta, 2008. Shell claims it has been cleaned up. © Kadir van Lohuizen/NOOR

At the time of going to print, we were still receiving your Shell: Clean up your Act postcards and petitions to Stop Violence against Women in Papua New Guinea. Many thanks for your work on these campaigns. We’ll update you in the next pack on what has happened with those actions. If you receive replies to any letters you wrote directly to Shell or Papua New Guinea, please let us know and send us a copy. We can give you advice on how you might like to respond (see Contact details in Section 04.2). ONE YEAR ON: GUANTÁNAMO CONTINUES On a small stretch of land in Cuba, 196 men sit in a prison that sits outside the law. Some have been there for eight years. Few have been charged and none have received fair trials. On 22 January 2009, US President Barack Obama committed to closing Guantanamo Bay within a year. That deadline has now passed. In advance of President Obama’s visit to Australia we sent letters to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd urging him to help close Guantánamo Bay. We also called on him to offer resettlement to detainees who are cleared for release but cannot be returned to their own countries because they would probably suffer torture or persecution. For the latest go to www.amnesty.org.au.

A humvee patrols the perimeter of Guantánamo Bay detention facilities, October 2009. © US DoD

NEWS FREE POLITICAL PRISONERS BEFORE ELECTIONS Burma’s military regime must stop its repression of ethnic minority activists before forthcoming national and local elections. Amnesty International has recently published a report into repression of ethnic minorities in the country, drawing on accounts from more than 700 activists. Ethnic minorities constitute 35–40 per cent of the country’s population. Authorities have arrested, imprisoned, tortured or killed ethnic minority activists and they face surveillance, harassment and discrimination when trying to carry out their activities. In 2010, Burma will hold its first national and local elections in two decades. But more than 2,100 political prisoners, including many from ethnic minorities, still languish in Burma’s jails in miserable conditions. Amnesty International is urging the government to lift restrictions on freedom of association, assembly and religion in the run-up to the elections. They should release all prisoners of conscience and remove restrictions on independent media so they can cover the election process. Go to Section 02.2 to take action for individuals at risk in Burma. To read the report go to www.amnesty.org.au\news.

Boats with the word ‘No’ [to the military junta’s 2008 draft constitution] on their sails float down the Bluchon River in Kayah State, May 2008. The ethnic Karenni activists who organised the activity were subsequently arrested. © KNGY


UPDATES AND NEWS

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 01.1

GOOD NEWS INDIVIDUALS AT RISK PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE RELEASED Belarusian musician and political activist Igor Koktysh was released in February after two-and-half years of detention in the Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities intended to send him back to Belarus, but the European Court of Human Rights ruled that he would be at serious risk of torture and could face an unfair trial and the death penalty if returned. He thanked Amnesty International for its support. REDUCED SENTENCE FOR CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR Military authorities in the US have approved a three-month reduction in Travis Bishop’s one year prison sentence for refusing to serve with the army in Afghanistan because of his religious beliefs. His lawyer believes letters from Amnesty International strongly influenced the decision. END OF HOUSE ARREST Deputy Chairman of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma, U Tin Oo, was released from house arrest in February. He and about 100 other members and supporters of the NLD, including leader Aung San Suu Kyi, were detained in May 2003. Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest. The NLD won more than 80 per cent of the parliamentary seats in the May 1990 elections, but have not been allowed to form a government. RICARDO UCÁN CECA FREED Mexican Ricardo Ucán Ceca was freed in December 2009 after almost 10 years in prison following an unfair trial for murder. During his trial, Ricardo, who is Indigenous and speaks little Spanish, was denied his right to a translator and did not receive an adequate defence.

Ricardo Ucán Ceca with his family outside Tekax state prison after his release, Mexico, 31 December 2009. © Equipo Indignación

Igor Koktysh and his wife after his release. © Private


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 01.1

DEATH PENALTY PROGRESS

ASYLUM SEEKERS ON MAINLAND

After years of campaigning by Amnesty International, Mongolia’s President Tsakhia Elbegdorj announced a moratorium (temporary suspension) on executions in January as a step toward his aim for Mongolia to abolish the death penalty completely.

Immigration officials moved 20 asylum seekers, including pregnant women, from Christmas Island to the mainland in February, following on from 30 unaccompanied children who were transferred in December before their refugee claims had been finalised. Amnesty International continues to call for all children and families to be housed on the mainland while their claims are processed (see Section 02.1).

The Russian Constitutional Court extended the moratorium on executions in January and recommended abolishing the death penalty completely.

THOUSANDS SPARED EVICTION People in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, are no longer facing forced eviction from their market stalls and homes after campaigning by Amnesty International. In July 2009, city authorities said they were considering evicting people “to restore order”. On 30 December, the mayor wrote to Amnesty International saying that any resettlement will now be done “humanely” and alternative shelter for affected residents will be found.

Amnesty International activists collect signatures for the campaign to stop forced evictions in Harare, Zimbabwe 2009. © AI


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 01.1

CHRISTMAS ISLAND NOT YOUR AVERAGE CLASSROOM Over the past few months, we have asked you to write messages, cards or letters to the students at Christmas Island school, both the local residents and the children seeking asylum in Australia. In December, we went to Christmas Island to visit detention facilities and find out what conditions are like for people living there. During the visit, refugee coordinator Dr Graham Thom visited the school and delivered your cards and letters to the students and teachers. Here is his account of the visit.

Refugee coordinator Dr Graham Thom gives Christmas Island School deputy principal Alan Thornton the hundreds of letters and gifts sent by school groups across the country. © AI

ACT NOW>> Go to section 02.1 to take action for children detained on Christmas Island.

Time and time again I’ve been astonished and inspired by the resilience and positive energy children can muster in times of adversity.

has developed its own comprehensive language program – they avoid the use of interpreters because it has been proven to slow down the learning process.

Most recently I had this happy experience while visiting the kids and staff of the school on Christmas Island.

We talked to a group of boys. They were Afghan Hazaras – unaccompanied minors who escaped Afghanistan to avoid being forcibly recruited by the Taliban. Despite the horrors they had seen and having to leave their families behind, the kids laughed and joked with us about their favourite classes (not maths!) and the opportunities to play sport with their friends.

We were warmly welcomed by principal Ian Francis and deputy principal Alan Thornton. The school teaches children from pre school to high school. On top of the 370 local students, it caters to between 65 and 120 asylum seeker students. The asylum seekers are either with their families or on their own – the unaccompanied children are mostly 15 to 17-year-old boys. It was wonderful to be able to hand over the hundreds of cards, gifts and kites you had sent – and to begin to develop an ongoing exchange between students from the mainland and Christmas Island. I was impressed with the facilities at the school and a warm, welcoming attitude was immediately apparent when talking to staff and students. I doubt there are many other schools in Australia that have two canteens – a regular canteen and a halal canteen to cater for the large ethnic Malay community on the island. We saw the music and art classrooms where all the children take classes together and the English acceleration classrooms for the asylum seeker children. The school

We also spoke to Tamil children at the school who are on Christmas Island without parents or adult guardians. They were keen to talk about their favourite Australian cricket players. It was only when speaking about their families that the smiles faded from their faces and you were reminded that they were not like the other students at the school. Fortunately, most had been able to contact their families and tell them they were safe. Despite being separated, I’m sure if their parents knew of the care, respect and welcoming environment they received each day at the school, it would be some small consolation. Go to our website for the full account of our research team’s visit to Christmas Island www.amnesty.org.au/refugees. Note: for privacy reasons we were not able to photograph the school children.


Children should not be detained on Christmas Island because:

Signature:

__________________________________ Print name: ________________________________________________

School: ________________________________________________________________________ State: __________________

Date of birth: ______________________________________________________

For Amnesty International use only

Email:__________________________________________________________________________________________________ Do not fill in your email address if you prefer us not to contact you directly.

Return to: Kids off Christmas Island, Locked Bag 23, Broadway NSW 2007

✂ Quiz continued

a) Someone who is fleeing conflict and human rights abuse who has not crossed an international border b) A person experiencing the disorientation and confusion that many refugees experience on arriving in Australia c) An asylum seeker who is sent by the government to a region or city within Australia 6. Which country has the greatest number of internally displaced people? a) Somalia b) Iraq

8. What percentage of asylum seekers who arrive in Australia are found to be refugees and are granted permanent protection visas? a) Less than 2 per cent b) 50 per cent c) More than 90 per cent 9. What percentage of people who come to Australia seeking asylum arrive by boat? a) Less than 4 per cent b) 90 per cent c) 20 per cent

c) Colombia 7. What is an illegal immigrant? a) An unsuccessful asylum seeker b) Someone who comes to this country to work c) Someone who has arrived in Australia and deliberately does not make themselves known to authorities

10.“Refugees are the most vulnerable people on earth. Every day they are fighting to survive. They deserve our respect.” Who said this in a recorded message for World Refugee Day? a) Angelina Jolie b) US President Barack Obama c) Prime Minister Kevin Rudd

Answers: 1b, 2a, 3b, 4a, 5a, 6c, 7c, 8c, 9a, 10a.

5. What is an internally displaced person?


CAMPAIGNS : INFORMATION AND ACTION

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 02.1

Children off Christmas Island Tell us why you think detaining children is wrong More than 200 of you sent cards, letters and messages to students at the Christmas Island school. Our refugee coordinator Dr Graham Thom delivered them to the school on his visit to Christmas Island in December (see Section 01). Your messages were gratefully received by the students and staff, so thanks to all of you who took part. We now need your help to pressure the Australian Government to bring all asylum seeker children to the mainland. AN ISLAND ALONE The Federal Government’s policy of detaining all asylum seekers is unfair and breaches international law. It is even more unfair for asylum seekers who arrive by boat – they are sent to a detention centre more than 2,000 km from mainland Australia. And people on Christmas Island do not have the same rights as those applying for asylum on mainland Australia. For example, while there is no time limit for the processing of refugee claims made on Christmas Island, claims made on the mainland must be processed within 90 days of application. Asylum seekers can spend months on the remote island with no idea of when their claims will be finalised and whether it will be successful.

CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD In 1989, world leaders decided that children need a special convention just for them, because people under 18 years of age need particular care and protection. They also wanted to make sure that the world recognises that children have human rights. The convention sets out the rights that all children have no matter where they live. For example: Article 4 You have a right to special care and protection and to good food, housing and medical services. Article 6 You have the right to love and understanding, preferably from parents and family, but from the government where these cannot help. Article 8 You have the right always to be among the first to get help. Australia has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which means we have undertaken specific obligations. By keeping children on Christmas Island, the government is not fulfilling these obligations.

The ‘construction camp’ used to house unaccompanied children and families. © AI/Jessica Baird


CAMPAIGNS : INFORMATION AND ACTION

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 02.1

ACT NOW>>

CHILDREN NOT FREE We are particularly concerned about the ongoing practice of detaining children on Christmas Island. Around 65 school-age children are currently being held on the island, including a number of unaccompanied minors (people under 18 who have travelled on their own). The government has committed to not holding children in detention centres. Instead, on Christmas Island they are being housed in a fenced ‘construction camp’. It is guarded around the clock and children are not allowed to leave. The camp is mostly metal, concrete and gravel, with small, claustrophobic bedrooms and only three payphones for more than 250 people. While there is a play area, children can only use it if they are accompanied by a guard. And because Christmas Island is so far from the mainland, children and families have limited access to legal, health and counselling services. A child psychology lecturer who has worked extensively with detained child asylum seekers, Louise Newman, recently wrote an article for us on the effects of detention on children. In it she said: “The small population of Christmas Island and its limited facilities make community housing options for children, adolescents and families difficult to implement. Sending children seeking asylum to school is an improvement, but requires ongoing resourcing.

TELL US WHY YOU THINK CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE DETAINED ON CHRISTMAS ISLAND Put into your own words why you think detaining children on Christmas Island is wrong. Fill in the attached card and send it back to us. OR Be creative and make your own – it can be as colourful or visual as you’d like. Feel free to make one big one that your whole group can fill in together. You can pick just one reason, pick your top five reasons or write a whole page of reasons! If you need some ideas, you could think about: •

Why you wouldn’t like to be detained on Christmas Island.

The ways children would be better off living on the mainland while their asylum claim was being processed.

The message you really want the Australian Government to hear.

BRING EVERYONE HERE

We believe that detention facilities on Christmas Island should be closed down completely.

The government’s obligations under the Conventions of the Rights of the Child.

How we will use the cards

“The accommodation for family groups with young children awaiting processing remains substandard and without appropriate play and activity areas for children. And as processing times continue to increase, the mental health concerns for all detainees are likely to increase.”

The first priority is bringing all children and families to the mainland. Here, children and families live in the community while their asylum claims are being processed. They are allowed to move around freely, can access basic services and are even given limited funds. And their asylum claims have to be processed within 90 days.

We want to let the government know how young people in Australia feel about the detention of children on Christmas Island. We plan to collect your cards and present them to senior government officials in September. Deadline: 23 July 2010 Return to: Children off Christmas Island Locked Bag 23 Broadway NSW 2007

REFUGEE DAY – 20 JUNE 20 June is World Refugee Day, when people all over the world organise events to raise awareness about issues affecting refugees, asylum seekers and people displaced in their own country. This year, Refugee Day falls on a Sunday, so you could organise activities for the week before or after. FIVE IDEAS TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT REFUGEES: 1. Get your whole school to do the Christmas Island action Run a stall at lunchtime for a whole week. Photocopy postcards for people to complete, use the quiz attached and give a prize to the winner!

4. Organise a food fair Get permission to run a food fair. Cook or buy food from those countries that represent Australia’s refugee communities and sell it to students at your school.

2. Send your friends to our online action by changing your email signature for a week to: Australia cannot simply wish away the victims of war, abuse and conflict. Tell our leaders it’s time to respect refugees www.amnesty.org.au/action/action/21941.

5. Run our refugee quiz Use the quiz on a stall, in an assembly or at a group meeting as an awareness raising exercise or a competition.

3. facebook and twitter Use the statement above as your facebook status for a week and use twitter to write refugee-themed tweets for a week, perhaps one fact about refugees per day.

PS Don’t worry if you can’t organise activities around Refugee Day – simply choose a time that suits you.


CHILDREN OFF CHRISTMAS ISLAND

✂ Quiz: What do you know about refugees? Refugees are ordinary people caught up in extraordinary situations. Peel back the label and they are people like you and me, with gifts and talents and wanting to contribute to society. Answer our 10 quick questions and test your knowledge of refugees – you might discover something that surprises you.

1. What is an asylum seeker? a) An illegal immigrant b) Someone who applies for refugee status on the basis that they are fleeing war or persecution c) Someone who claims to be a refugee but isn’t 2. What is a refugee?

3. Which country received the greatest number of requests for asylum in 2008? a) United Kingdom b) South Africa c) Australia 4. Which country has the greatest number of refugees?

a) Someone whose application for asylum has been accepted as genuine by the Australian Government

a) Pakistan

b) Another category of illegal immigrant

b) Australia

c) It is just a different term for asylum seeker

c) Kenya

Continues over…


CAMPAIGNS : INFORMATION AND ACTION

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 02.2

ACT NOW For individuals at risk

“ Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to everyone who wrote letters and supported me! This is amazing and unprecedented.

Our work really does change people’s lives. Make sure you read Section 01 for just a few of the Good News stories from the past few months.

US prisoner of conscience Travis Bishop, after receiving a threemonth reduction in his prison sentence. He was jailed for one year for refusing to serve with the army in Afghanistan because of his religious beliefs.

The individuals at risk cases we work on can be about a single person, a group of people or a community. In 2009, we worked on more than 370 cases in Australia. Remember to regularly check www.amnesty.org.au/iar for the latest on individuals at risk.

ACT NOW>>

LAOS

Refugees forcibly returned A year ago we featured the case of 158 Lao Hmong refugees who were being detained in harsh conditions in Thailand after fleeing human rights abuses in Laos. We called on the Thai authorities to transfer the refugees to an open facility while they awaited visas for resettlement and a chance at a new life. We also urged them not to breach international law and return the refugees to Laos, where they may face torture or other ill-treatment. At the end 2009, Thai authorities did forcibly return about 4,500 Lao Hmong, including the 158 recognised refugees, back to Laos. The Lao Government is refusing to give the UN access to them. Both governments had previously agreed that the 158 refugees would be resettled in a third country. But on 10 January a Lao official told journalists that they no longer wanted to go. At least 20 of the 158 refugees have since been seen at the ‘resettlement’ village of Phalak. Hundreds of other people forcibly returned have been seen in what has been described as an army camp. The returnees, mostly women and children, were not free to come and go from the facility, which was fenced with razor wire.

Please send a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Laos, calling on him to: •

Allow the UN immediate and unrestricted access to the returnees.

Honour the agreement made with Thailand to allow refugees to settle in third countries.

Allow those who choose to remain in Laos to participate in decisions about their place of residence and livelihood.

Ensure that none of the returnees are at risk of human rights abuses.

Write to: Thongloun Sisoulit, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs That Luang Road Vientiane Laos Salutation: Dear Minister Please send a copy of your letter to us, so we can also present it to Lao authorities in our campaigning work.

Since 2005, many of those who have been forcibly returned to Laos have suffered human rights abuses such as torture or enforced disappearances. © Private


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 02.2

ACT NOW>>

VIETNAM

Release Father Ly unconditionally

Please write to Vietnam’s Minister of Foreign Affairs:

Pro-democracy activist and prisoner of conscience Father Nguyen Van Ly has been released from prison for 12 months on “humanitarian grounds”.

• Noting that Father Ly should not have been detained in the first place.

Father Ly was released on 16 March to receive medical treatment following a stroke he suffered in November last year. His health has rapidly deteriorated in prison and doctors have also discovered a brain tumour.

• Calling for Father Ly’s permanent and unconditional release.

He will remain under surveillance during the temporary release at a house for retired priests. Father Ly, who is now 63, is serving an eight year jail term for spreading “propaganda” against the state. He was first jailed for his criticism of government policies on religion in the late 1970s and has already spent some 17 years as a prisoner of conscience, for calling for respect for human rights and freedom of expression.

Welcoming Father Ly’s release for 12 months on humanitarian grounds to receive medical treatment.

Write to: Pham Gia Khiem Ministry of Foreign Affairs 1 Ton That Dam Street Ba Dinh district, Hanoi Vietnam Salutation: Dear Minister Write a card to Father Ly You are welcome to write messages and cards to Father Ly. Please use small cards so that they can be sent easily.

Amnesty International is calling for his unconditional and permanent release. © Conservative Party Human Rights Commission

ACT NOW>>

BURMA

Immediately release youth activists Ethnic Karenni youth activists Khun Bedu, Khun Kawrio and Khun Dee De are serving lengthy jail terms for their peaceful political activism. They led Karenni youth groups campaigning for a ‘no’ vote in the referendum on a new constitution put forward by Burma’s military junta. All three were arrested on the day of the referendum, 10 May 2008, and later sentenced by a military court without lawyers, a judge or a trial. All three have been tortured and otherwise ill-treated and they are imprisoned far from home, making family visits difficult. Khun Bedu and Khun Kawrio were sentenced to 37 years in prison, including a 15-year sentence under a vaguely-worded law that punishes “any act detrimental to the security of the State or … law and order or community peace and tranquility or national solidarity or national economy or national culture”. Khun Dee De was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Write to the Minister for Home Affairs, calling for Khun Bedu, Khun Dee De and Khun Kawrio to be: •

Released immediately and unconditionally.

Not tortured or otherwise ill-treated.

Moved to a prison close to their family homes while they remain in custody.

Given regular access to lawyers of their own choosing, proper medical care and their families.

Write to: Major General Maung Oo, Minister for Home Affairs Ministry for Home Affairs Office No. 10, Naypyitaw, Union of Myanmar Salutation: Dear General

The three activists were interrogated for 15 days when arrested. During the interrogations they were allegedly beaten with sticks, kicked and forced to kneel on stones. Their mouths were taped and plastic bags were put over their heads. See Section 01.1 for more information on the repression of ethnic minority activists in Burma. Khun Bedu, Khun Dee De and Khun Kawrio © KNGY

Send your cards or copies of your letters to: Youth Coordinator, Amnesty International Australia, Locked Bag 23, Broadway, NSW 2007 Australia or email scanned copies to: anne_montague@amnesty.org.au


✂

Dear Kate Ellis,

__________________________________ Print name: ________________________________________

Yours sincerely,

Signature:

School: ________________________________________________________________________ State:____________ Return to: Be an action hero! Locked Bag 23 Broadway NSW 2007


CAMPAIGNS : INFORMATION AND ACTION

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 02.3

Be an action hero!

“ For the Australian Government to play

We’ve been talking about a Human Rights Act for some time now.

a leadership role

Why are we still talking about it?

internationally on human

A Human Rights Act would be a national law that protects the fundamental rights of everyone in Australia.

rights issues, and to

In October 2009, the committee that spent months consulting people in Australia about human rights protection published its report. They received more than 35,000 individual submissions, including 10,000 from Amnesty International supporters. More than 80 per cent of all submissions asked for a Human Rights Act.

speak with authority on

After considering all the submissions, the committee recommended that the government adopt a federal Human Rights Act.

the world, it has to show

So far, the government has said nothing. An insider in Canberra said: “Cabinet has not rejected the option of a Human Rights Act but there is certainly some opposition to it. It is an issue that would not be revisited in the near future”. (The Australian, 5 March 2010) We have to keep the issue on the agenda. We must remind our government that Australians need, want and asked for human rights protection. As Minister for Youth, it is Kate Ellis’s job to look out for the best interests of young people across the country. We need to tell her that Australia’s youth want a Human Rights Act.

important issues in this region or elsewhere in strong leadership at home. It can do that by adopting a Human Rights Act. Claire Mallinson National Director Amnesty International Australia

We have to tell her to be an action hero!

Amnesty International presents its submissions to consultation committee member Mary Kostakidis. © AI


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 02.3

ACT NOW>> WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR 10 December 2008 The Federal Government announces on Human Rights Day that it will hold a national consultation on the issue of human rights protection in Australia. February–July 2009 An independent consultation committee travelled the country talking to Australians about human rights. They held 66 community roundtables in 52 locations and received 35,041 submissions. September 2009 The committee delivered its report to the Australian Government. It recommended that Australia have a Human Rights Act. The Federal Attorney General said the government would respond to the report “in coming months”. 10 December 2009 Human Rights Day passes with no announcement from the government. March 2010 Still no news.

Tell Minister for Youth, Kate Ellis, that young people across Australia want a Human Rights Act. Ask her to be your action hero! OPTION A – ACTION HERO TEMPLATE Use the action hero template we’ve provided to let Kate Ellis know what you think. Photocopy the template, write your own message on the back and send back to us. Your message might be: •

Be an action hero Kate – give us a Human Rights Act

Young Australians want one too – give us a Human Rights Act

We want a Human Rights Act!

OPTION B – ACTION HERO STICKERS Create your own action hero We are sending you action hero sticker sheets. Stick them on to your spiderman, teddy bear, pet, water bottle, yourself ... a teacher – but ask permission! Think of the most imaginative ideas you can – the wackier, the better! How about a display of action heroes in your classroom, in the playground, at the park? Take a photo of your action heroes! We strongly recommend you take photos of objects rather than people as you will have to get written consent from people you photograph or from the parents of people under 18. A way around this is to take photos of people from the chin down! Send it to Kate Ellis MP • Upload the photo to her facebook fan page Become a fan of the Kate Ellis MP fan page, go to the ‘Kate Ellis MP + Fans’ tab and upload your photo and a message like the ones above. •

Email her Send the photo to Kate.Ellis.MP@aph.gov.au with a message and send us a copy at activism@amnesty.org.au.

Tweet her Send her the photo at @KateEllisMP with a message and tweet us a copy at @amnestyOz.

May the best action hero win! Email your action hero photos to activism@amnesty.org.au. Include your name and where the photo was taken. All photos will go up on Flickr – see the link at amnesty.org.au/yourhumanrights – and the best photos will be put on the Amnesty International website! Get your friends involved We need this action to be taken up by as many young people across Australia as possible! Give stickers to your friends and classmates and tell your online networks. See who can come up with the craziest ideas. Share your photos online. RESOURCES Our website contains more background information on why we need a Human Rights Act and how it would benefit young people – go to www.amnesty.org.au/yourhumanrights. Deadline: 2 July


RECRUITMENT ELEMENT

CAMPAIGN ELEMENT

FUNDRAISING ELEMENT

Decide on campaign focus – all

Decide how much to charge – Michael

10 WEEKS BEFORE

EVENT ACTION PLANNER CONTINUED

Design and print tickets – Michael

8 WEEKS BEFORE

Order campaign materials from action centre – Athena

6 WEEKS BEFORE

4 WEEKS BEFORE

Print sign up sheet and flyer for next meeting – Athena

1 WEEK BEFORE Collect and store money safely – Rose

ON THE DAY

Send email to new contacts about next meeting – Anne

Send letters/ petition/ cards to target – Athena

Send money to Amnesty International – Rose

AFTER THE EVENT

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 03.1


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 03.1

People signing petitions on Shell in the Niger Delta at the Sydney Big Day Out, January 2010. © AI

MAKING AN IMPACT

Six steps to successful events

CHOOSE YOUR EVENT Get all your ideas on the table and decide which event will work best. Ask yourselves:

1

What are you trying to communicate? What is the best way to express this? For example, you could organise: •

a publicity/visual stunt

a concert

Event planning should always start with the most basic questions of all:

a fashion show

Why hold an event? What are you trying to achieve? You are much more likely to have a successful event if you set clear objectives in the beginning. Common reasons for holding an event are:

a sponsored event – walk, period of silence, letter writing marathon

a treasure hunt

to educate and inform

an art exhibition

to get people to take action for a specific Amnesty International campaign

a sports competition

a food stall

to raise money

an assembly

to recruit new members to your group.

a human rights day across the whole school involving lots of different events.

SET YOUR OBJECTIVES

QUICK TIP You can hold an event with more than one objective. For example, if you are organising a fundraising event, make sure you include a campaign action and vice versa.

2

QUICK TIPS •

Run a brainstorming session and write down all your ideas. Don’t get bogged down with details at this stage.

Make sure you have the resources to make your event a reality. You’ll need to examine your:

Discuss the list and work out a shortlist. Include the ones that get your group the most excited and that will best meet your objectives.

If you can’t decide on one event to do, vote on it.

Financial resources: what money you have now and what you could raise.

Material resources: access to computers, rooms, pens, paper, food etc.

People resources: what skills and contacts group members have and how much time they can commit.

Can you combine a number of different approaches? For example, a guest speaker could be part of a concert.

3

CHECK YOUR INVENTORY

After giving this some thought, you may need to revise your original idea – to scale it down or to be more ambitious.

QUICK TIPS •

Don’t overlook your people resources. Does anyone have any hidden talents or contacts? Any budding artists for poster making? Musicians for band night?

If you have to pay for things like printing you may be able to get charity rates.


PUBLICITY

KEY TASKS

Design posters and flyers – Anne

Research venue – James

10 WEEKS BEFORE

Sign off on posters and flyers – all

Invite speaker – Anna

Book room – James

8 WEEKS BEFORE

EVENT ACTION PLANNER

Print posters – Anne

6 WEEKS BEFORE

Put posters up – Anne

4 WEEKS BEFORE

Give out flyers – all

1 WEEK BEFORE

Make announcement in assembly – Rose

Set up room – all

ON THE DAY

Evaluation meeting – all

AFTER THE EVENT

Note: we have included some examples of the kinds of activities you would put in your plan.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 03.1


AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 03.1

4

BE STRATEGIC

Setting specific targets and being strategic creates a sense of purpose and gives you a basis for comparison in the future. For example, recruiting members is a good objective but recruiting 10 new members gives you something concrete to aim for that you can measure. •

Who is your target audience? How many do you want to come?

When is the best time to hold the event to make sure your target audience shows up? Are there other events should you avoid clashing with?

Where is a strategic location to hold the event? Do you want to be where lots of people will walk past? If your event will be noisy perhaps you need a venue that’s out of the way.

What amount of signatures do you want to get? How many people do you want to recruit? How much money do you want to raise?

Students make ‘oily’ handprints to tell Shell to clean up its act in the Niger Delta at RMIT’s city campus O week. © AI

EVALUATE YOUR EVENT

QUICK TIP If possible, use previous events as a measure of what is achievable. Be ambitious but realistic. If your last event resulted in 20 action cards signed, don’t set yourself a target of 20 or 100 – use what you have learned to get 30 or 40.

DEVELOP YOUR ACTION PLAN

Writing a step by step action plan like the one attached will help you to see the event as a whole and spot any gaps in your planning. It may also help you to see if you are trying to do too much or if there are opportunities you have missed. For example, you might see a way to combine a fundraising ask into a recruitment activity.

QUICK TIPS

6

This is a vital step – identifying your group’s strengths and weaknesses will help your group for the next time. Ask yourselves: •

Did you meet your goals? If not, why do you think it didn’t work?

What was the most successful aspect of the event?

What could be done better next time?

5

Give everyone in your group a copy of the action plan with names, responsibilities and dates.

Set deadlines – this imparts a sense of responsibility for the event.

Spread the work evenly around the group.

Have regular planning meetings – this keeps the event moving forward and gives you a chance to revise plans in good time if necessary.

Ask for support from a key member of staff or your local action centre. They may be able to open a few doors for you.

Identify key tasks. These are the vital jobs without which the event won’t happen – for example booking a room or a speaker in plenty of time.

Add a campaign element – make sure you ask your local action centre for any campaign materials you need in good time.

Add a fundraising element – charge people to enter a campaigning event, sell food or set up a merchandise stall. Make sure you know who is responsible for looking after the money and that it is safe.

Add a publicity element – you can never have too much publicity! Start early and continue right up until the day of the event.

Add a recruitment element – publicise your group and take down people’s names and contact details. Have a flyer available with the time and date of your next meeting and bring along some inspiring success stories (such as the ones in this pack) to show people they can make a difference.

QUICK TIPS •

Document your observations – this way, future event organisers do not have to reinvent the wheel.

Try and get feedback from the people who attended the event. If it is appropriate, create an evaluation form for people to fill in there and then.

Give credit for a job well done. Throw a post-event party, send a thank you note or gift.

Don’t be discouraged by things that may have not gone so well. Identifying them will help you next time.


INFORMATION

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 04.1

Show off your activism! We would like to start profiling school action groups’ activities in these packs. Please contact your local action centre to tell them what you’ve been up to and you may just make it into the next pack. If you have photos, even better!

i

School students signing a petition to the President of Burkina Faso to increase efforts to reduce maternal mortality, Gaoua, Burkina Faso. © AI

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ON THE WEB Remember to check the website regularly for updates. Join our social networking sites too and start contributing. Home page

www.amnesty.org.au

School action pages www.amnesty.org.au/schoolaction Facebook

www.facebook.com (search for Amnesty International Australia)

Twitter

www.twitter.com/amnestyoz

MySpace

www.myspace.com/amnestyoz

YouTube

www.youtube.com/AIAustralia


CONTACT US

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ACTION PACK MAY–JULY 2010 | SECTION 04.1

Phone a friend

South Australia/Northern Territory

Did you know you have a local Action Centre to help your group? They have access to all kinds of information including free materials to help you organise your group, event or human rights actions.

Email: santschools@amnesty.org.au

ACT/Southern NSW

Tasmania

Call:

02 6202 7500

Email: tasaia@amnesty.org.au

Fax:

02 6202 7508

Call:

Call:

08 8110 8100

Fax:

08 8110 8101

80 South Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000

03 6221 1000

Suite 8, Level 1, The Bunda Building, 134 Bunda Street, Canberra ACT 2600

First Floor, 130 Macquarie Street Hobart TAS 7000

New South Wales

Western Australia

Email: nswschools@amnesty.org.au

Email: waaia@amnesty.org.au

Call:

02 8396 7670

Call:

08 9476 4800

Fax:

02 8396 7677

Fax:

08 9476 4801

Level 1, 79 Myrtle Street Chippendale NSW 2007

Suite 70, City West Centre Plaistowe Mews, West Perth WA 6005

Queensland/Northern NSW

Victoria

Email: qldschools@amnesty.org.au

Email: vicschools@amnesty.org.au

Call:

07 3136 6400

Call:

03 9412 0700

Fax:

07 3216 0235

Fax:

03 9412 0720

Level 1, 354 Brunswick Street Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

Suite 8, 134 Cambridge Street Collingwood VIC 3066


School Action Pack, May 2010 - July 2010