The campaigning activity of the group

The Southampton group is involved in many of the campaigning activities of Amnesty International. In particular our activity is focused on

  • I Welcome, campaign: launched with the Refugees Welcome Here march in September 2016. There are four strands: 1) Political Change, which aims to get the UK Government to improve asylum rights and increase its share of responsibility for hosting refugees. 2) Welcome, which aims to engender a positive experience of, and towards, refugees nationally and in communities. 3) Movement Building, which aims to ensure there is a stronger and more sustainable movement of people and organisations working together for refugees’ rights. 4) International, which aims to ensure refugee rights are respected internationally.
  • The Death Penalty: We campaign for an end to all executions around the world - no matter what the circumstances. Depending where you live, you can be beheaded for charges of sorcery, stoned for adultery, or hanged for drug smuggling! The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights.
  • Save the Human Rights Act: We will be campaigning to ensure that politicians do not take away the rights we enjoy under this Act, which many people around the world are still fighting for. It is not yet known what steps the new government might take to repeal the Act and replace it with alternatives of their own choosing. Action is likely to include lobbying local and national politicians and using the media to dispel myths, highlight how the Act has been used to protect people's rights, and make sure that attempts to repeal the HRA are not submerged in the Brexit negotiations.
  • Protecting Human Rights Defenders: This campaign aims to reinforce and implement protection mechanisms for HRDs against any type of violence, threat, reprisal, discrimination or pressure. It also seeks effective remedy for victims where these mechanisms have failed, and tries to halt the global trend towards repressive legislation in the name of national security which threatens the ability of HRDs to carry out their crucial work.
  • People's Republic of China: In July 2018 news was received that Liu Xia, widow of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, had been allowed to leave China for Germany after 8 years under house arrest. This should not, however, be regarded as a sign of improving human rights in China. Family members left behind are likely to be targeted if Liu Xia speaks out. President Xi Jinping’s crackdown on activists continues. Dissident artist Ai Weiwei has been arrested and harassed for highlighting social issues through his work. Activist Liu Ping is still being kept in harsh conditions after her six and a half-year jail sentence for demanding an end to government corruption. Liu Ping’s health is poor, and she has been denied treatment for a range of medical problems. We are planning joint action on her behalf with an Amnesty group in New Zealand which has also adopted her case.
  • South Asia: This region includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. Action is likely to include work on internally displaced people in Afghanistan; the use of drones in Pakistan; holding companies to account in the wake of Bhopal, the chemical factory disaster of 30 years ago in which thousands died and the lives of thousands more continue to be decimated; and work for human rights defenders and people who are affected by the coal mining activities in Adivasi (tribal people) areas of India.
  • Individual at risk: Dr Eduardo Cardet, Cuba - Human Rights Defender Dr Eduardo Cardet was arrested in Holguin, eastern Cuba, on 30 November 2016, and charged with attacking a state official after he publicly criticised Fidel Castro a few days after the former leader’s death. Eduardo has been held in prison in Holguin province since his arrest, and was sentenced to remain in prison until 20 March 2020. He is a medical doctor who has been the leader of the pro-democracy Christian Liberation Movement since 2014.
  • Individual at risk: Aster Fissehatsion and Dawit Isaak, Eritrea
    Aster Fissehatsion has been held incommunicado without charge or trial since September 2001. She was arrested during a round-up of 15 political dissidents, which included her former husband, then Vice-President of Eritrea. She is said to suffer from stomach ulcers.
    Dawit Isaak, journalist and newspaper owner, was arrested in September 2001, during a crackdown on independent media. He is being held incommunicado by the Eritrean authorities who refuse to disclose his exact location or details of his health and well-being. He is believed to be seriously ill. Sources have said that the government accuses Dawit of being a “traitor”, though he has never been charged or brought to trial.
    Both are regarded as Prisoners of Conscience by Amnesty International.

Every month we publish a monthly action, that generally consists in writing on behalf of a prisoner of conscience or a human rights defender. Group members are requested to take part in this action.