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

  • People on the move: More people around the world today are fleeing war and persecution than at any time since World War 2. This is a global problem, requiring a global solution. But so far, the response of the international community has been grossly inadequate. Amnesty will be launching a two-year campaign on Refugee Rights this Autumn.
  • The Death Penalty: International death penalty trends are unmistakably towards abolition. Use of the death penalty worldwide has continued to shrink, and use of the death penalty has also been increasingly curtailed in international law. Since 1990, an average of three countries each year have abolished the death penalty, and today over two-thirds of the world's nations have ended capital punishment in law or practice. However, last year alone, over 607 people were executed by their government. Many more executions were carried out in secret, including unknown numbers in China and North Korea.
  • 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, starting in January 2017, will aim to reinforce and implement protection mechanisms for HRDs against any type of violence, threat, reprisal, discrimination or pressure. It will also seek effective remedy for victims where these mechanisms have failed, and try 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: Our work will centre on campaigning for the release of two of the many Human Rights Defenders detained in China's prisons, and fighting government crackdowns on freedom of expression and the practice of intimidation and arbitrary detention.
    Liu Xiaobo, a longstanding activist, published articles calling for freedom of expression, human rights and democratic elections. In detention since October 2008, he was unable to collect his Nobel Peace Prize. His wife, Liu Xia, is under house arrest. We will call on the Chinese authorities to release them immediately and to allow peaceful action in defence of human rights.
    Liu Ping was sentenced to six and a half years in prison after calling for an end to government corruption. She suffers from severe health problems and her sight is also at risk. We shall be calling for her to be given access to the medical care currently being denied.
  • 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: Eskinder Nega, Ethiopia - Journalist Eskinder Nega was arrested in September 2011 after criticising the Ethiopian government and calling for freedom of expression to be respected. He was found guilty of "terrorism" charges as well as of "high treason". He was sentenced to 18 years in prison on 13 July 2012. Amnesty considers Eskinder to be a prisoner of conscience, and we shall be publicising his case and making regular appeals for his release.
  • Individual at risk: Jorge Làzaro Samba Nunes dos Santos, Brazil - Against a background of widespread violence by security forces, Jorge is seeking justice for the murder of two of his sons and striving to keep his remaining family secure. Our campaigning will focus particularly around 2 December, Jorge's birthday, and 22 January, the anniversary of Ricardo's murder by military police. Our aim is justice, and social, economic and psychological support for this family whose safety is still at risk.

Each issue of the group newsletter details a monthly action, normally 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.