AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AUSTRALIA | WA EDITION
COMMUNITY IS EVERYTHING
WRITE FOR RIGHTS #BLOCKTHEBAN
and so much more...
Dear Members and Supporters, Greetings from the WA Branch Committee and a warm welcome to 2017 to all our committed and hardworking activists and supporters! I trust you have all returned from the New Year break feeling refreshed, invigorated and ready to continue to fight for human rights and justice. There is more work to do than ever, and as we reflect on a dramatically altered global political landscape it is clear that we face enormous challenges as a human rights movement in 2017. We will be fighting battles that we thought we had won. We will be challenging ideologies of hate, division and oppression that we had long thought discredited. It is more important now than ever before to stand together and fearlessly work towards to the human rights of all. We will fight for the rights of women in countries where these rights are being directly threatened; we will fight for the right of Indigenous People to self-determination, dignity and connection to land and culture. We will be invigorated in our struggle against the reintroduction of the death penalty and work to end it for good. We will fight for justice for individuals at risk; we will be tireless in promoting the human rights of LGBTQI people everywhere. And we will hold world leaders to account for their anti -human rights rhetoric and human rights abuses. I’m heartened to say that many of you have moved swiftly from despair to action. The Women’s Rights Group supported a march on Jan 21 in solidarity with millions of women in the US and across the world, galvanised by the inauguration of a President who has demonstrated a shameful lack of understanding and respect for the rights of women, a penchant for scapegoating minorities, and for stoking the flames of racism, homophobia and xenophobia. The Refugee Group is continuing its tireless work to highlight the injustices faced by asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru who are fleeing horror, persecution, torture and war. The LGBTQI Group has organised training for those interested in how to be an effective and supportive LGBTI Ally. The Indigenous Rights Group,WA Branch Committee and staff supported the City of Fremantle’s One Day in Fremantle on Jan 28; a joyous celebration of our cultural diversity and the resilience of Indigenous people.Thisalternative day was an important and positive contribution to the national conversation around changing the date for Australia Day and may prove to be a catalyst for lasting change. SO, WHAT CAN EACH OF YOU DO? Each individual action, each persuasive conversation has the power to create positive change. Each commitment you make is a demonstration of the power of our human rights movement. I encourage you to be visible in your communities; get active in your local Action Group, plan your activism, write letters, and raise human rights issues with your local Member of Parliament.
and so much more...
Support each other’s efforts by promoting and attending Amnesty events. You can stay informed by joining the WA Activist’s Facebook Group and following the WA Branch Facebook page. Importantly, if you have not already done so, consider becoming a financial member of Amnesty Australia and commit to this organisation and help it to grow. Your membership directly strengthens and contributes to this unstoppable movement, and provides resources for real change. Financial membership also opens up enormous opportunities for you to participate in discussions at the national level; influencing the organisation through voting at the Branch AGM, bringing forward a resolution that has the potential to shape campaign direction, standing as a delegate to the National AGM, standing for the National Board, or developing your leadership at the regional level by becoming a member of the Branch Committee. IDEAS, QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS As always, the WA Branch Committee welcomes your questions, ideas and feedback, so please contact us at any time. I hope to see many of you at our next Convenor’s Meeting; this will be a further opportunity for convenors and interested activists to participate in discussion, shared planning and goal setting for 2017. Warm Regards, Leonie Alexander | WA Branch President | firstname.lastname@example.org
Priorities for first quarter of 2017 (January - March)
The first half of the year is filled with opportunity for us here in WA with the upcoming state election and we are encouraging each and everyone of you to talk to your local representatives about the human rights issues that matter to you. We encourage you to attend forums being held by candidates and ask the difficult questions about youth justice and protection for refugees. Sarah Gooderham | Wendy Watson - Community Organisers Tammy Solonec - Indigenous Rights Manager Sarah Holt-Foreman - Activism Support Coordinator
Come and talk to us and we can help you drive your activism forward in 2017!
We are encouraging our activists and groups to take the time at the start of 2017 to think about the year ahead! To focus on strategically mapping out the work you need to do, to have an impact for human rights in your community. To consider what skills you need to develop and what skills you have to share; and to develop a plan to get new members into your action group or to start a new action group where you live.
A BRIGHTER TOMORROW: KEEPING INDIGENOUS KIDS OUT OF DETENTION When kids are at the age when they’re developing their identity and they are put into care or incarcerated, what becomes of their identity? All children should be afforded the right to a healthy and happy childhood. All children should be afforded the right to freedom from imprisonment. All children should be able to form connections with their families and communities. These are all important building blocks to a harmonious and just Australian society – one where all children are offered the same freedoms, and given the same opportunity to live within a loving and nurturing community. This isn’t the case in West Australia, where government policies are ripping Indigenous kids as young as 10 away from their communities and placing them behind bars. This has seen an over representation of Indigenous kids in the justice system, which has had a damaging impact on Indigenous communities across our State. Amnesty Australia have been working to tackle this problem by promoting the voice of the Indigenous people on this issue, who we know should be acknowledged, heard and championed as leaders of such imperative change. T These voices were heard at our event on the 28th of October, A Brighter Tomorrow: Keeping Indigenous Kids out of Detention, which was led by a panel of inspiring Indigenous community leaders – Preston Colbung (Save the Children, WA Young Person of the Year 2015), Tammy Solonec (Amnesty Indigenous Rights Manager), Glenda Kickett (Social Reinvestment WA, WACOSS, NAIDOC), Misty Gray and Sara Riches (Nyoongar Wellbeing and Sports) and Mervyn Eades (Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, , Ngalla Maya). The Welcome to Country was delivered by Walter McGuire (GoCultural).
A BRIGHTER TOMORROW Each panelist provided a unique perspective on the issues, however they all agreed on the importance of educational reform i.e. better learning resources on the Aboriginal language, culture and history, Indigenous-led community programs that work to develop strength and pride in Indigenous children, and the increased need for better funding for Indigenous communities and initiatives.
“We need to say to our government that instead of locking our young people up, we need to invest that money into our communities.” (Glenda Kickett)
This was followed up by a series of Honkathons in order to bring to light the issue of Indigenous kids in detention in our community and demand change through collective action. This initiative has generated some positive change already, with Colin Barnett’s recent announcement on the 18th November stating, “We should be more worried about Indigenous kids in Child Detention and Juvenile Detention, rather than 18c.” This is a step in the right direction – proving the power of a collective voice in promoting change. If you want to get involved, contact us and jump on board. Let’s work together (or honk together!) to demand justice for Indigenous children in our community - enough is enough!
PRIDE PARADE: JUST MARRIED #lovewins It was a fantastic night with bright colours, bright lights and bright smiles; demonstrating the power of fun and positivity in the pursuit of acceptance and change in our community. Amnesty WA’s LGBTIQ Action Group went with a wedding theme for its float – pointing to the issue of marriage equality that is yet to be legalised here in Australia. The message was strong, but this didn’t stop the group from having some fun with the theme. The car was decked out in rainbow lights and rainbow flags, and the two brides looked fabulous whilst holding their flowers that trailed rainbow ribbon from below. The final touch was the banner on the back of the car – differing from the typical ‘just married’, this banner read a different message entirely: Just in Love, . Just not Allowed to Marry. The Pride Parade is not the only event that Amnesty WA’s LGBTIQ Action Group gets involved in. During the 2016 PrideFEST the group hosted a film screening (Holding the Man) and also attended Pride at Parliament. The group actively campaign to defend the rights of gender, sex and sexuality diverse people in Australia and around the world, and with this comes an array of different events, including (but not limited to) community fairs, community forums, rallies, important marches, petitions, and letter-writing workshops. They’re a wonderful group of people working to make change for the LGBTI community, which is echoed in their work and their ethos.
#BLOCKTHEB NEGLECT IS NEVER THE SOLUTION
Find the group on Facebook @aiaLGBTQIaction
The Federal Government has said it will move to ban refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru from ever coming to Australia. This lifetime ban, headed by Malcolm Turnbull, will mean that refugees who have arrived by boat since July 2013 will never set foot on Australian soil – destroying their chance of a better life in Australia. Amnesty International WA marched at the Fremantle Parade on the 6th of November to oppose this proposed ban; standing in solidarity with the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru. In yellow unison, Amnesty WA championed above hate – calling on the Australian Government to open their hearts and close the camps on Nauru and Manus Island It was fantastic to see an array of yellow at the Fremantle Parade, with Amnesty WA’s Curtin University Group, Refugee Rights Action Group and Fremantle Group all in attendance. Although the day was solemn, the collective effort brought positivity and hope. It is this collective effort rthat is at the heart of Amnesty International – a grassroots movement that invites collaboration for change. If you’re concerned for the rights and protections of refugees and asylum seekers in our community, get involved in Amnesty WA by joining one of our Action Groups. #IWelcome was part of Amnesty International Australia's National Week of Action for Refugee Rights.
WA NEWS | PAGE 1
POWER OF WORDS TO CHANGE LIVES WRITE FOR RIGHTS 2016 We saw an amazing outpouring of support for our write for rights cases in 2016. The global counter is sitting at 3.4 million actions and still counting and we have contributed 125,000 actions to that from Australia! A massive thank - you to all of you in WA who helped us reach this staggering figure, a big shout out to everyone who held events, wrote letters, took action online and participated in the global day of action on Instagram and twitter. Your participation makes a real difference in the lives of those we write for. We would like to take this opportunity to share just some of the amazing work that went into WA’s contribution to this staggering global figure. The Mount Lawley group with support from Melville group and Women’s group members held 4 stalls at the Inglewood Night Markets over the write for rights period collecting a fantastic amount of actions (528 to be exact). The Scarborough action group held successful film screening of “Daughter of the Lake” a movie highlighting the issues faced by our priority case in WA, Maxima Acuna. Sophie Hartley Community organising assistant put on a fantastic end of year event with amazing speakers poet and author John Kinsella, Uranium free WA campaigner for the conservation council Mia Pepper and director of UWA publishing Terri-ann White; many who attended this event wrote handwritten letters for Maxima Acuna. We set ambitious targets for ourselves in WA this year for write for rights and we managed to collect a 1000 actions overall which is only 100 off of our target so we should all be really proud of all that we achieved. Of that 1000 actions we collected 500 of them just for Maxima which is a wonderful result given this is the first time we have prioritised a case in this way. Extra special thanks to those who got on board with this. Setting and reaching for targets can be difficult but when it comes to campaigns like write for rights which are all about collecting large volumes we need to aim high! Reaching the exact target is not what is important striving for it is and we did that in spades. This year we will smash whatever targets we set for ourselves! WA NEWS | PAGE 5
Marriage Equality Flashmob
14th February | Midday | Perth CBD (various locations) WANTED - LGBTIQ people and allies who can kneel. If this is you contact email@example.com
Personal Narrative Training
22nd February | 6 pm | Action Centre Have you ever really wanted to make someone understand why you care so much about social justice? If so then come and join us and learn how to craft your own narrative and how to motivate others to act.
23rd February | 6pm | Action Centre
18th March | 9.30am Start | Victoria Park Mini Lab A full day of networking and learning from your fellow activists. If you want to hone your skills and learn some awesome ways to organise and build power in your community do not miss this training day. Space for this are limited so don’t miss out and be sure to RSVP.
QUARTER TWO Branch Annual General Meeting
20th May | TBC | TBC
TO BE CONFIRMED Partnerships Training Cultural Competency: A chance to expand our knowledge and connection to Indigenous culture
WA NEWS | PAGE 5