Friday, 21 November 2008

QUB Amnesty International Protest at City Hall

By Catherine McCracken

Amnesty International define themselves as a movement of ordinary people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights; their purpose is to protect individuals, wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied.

One of the main campaigns that Amnesty International have taken on board worldwide is for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, and the release of prisoners who have been detained without charge. On Thursday 20th of November, the QUB branch of Amnesty International, along with the help of a few others, held a demonstration which began at the Students’ Union and ended at City Hall. For the occasion, a number of members dressed up in orange jumpsuits to represent detainees.

When they reached their destination they then proceeded to collect signatures for the release of a particular prisoner named Binyam Mohamed who is an Ethiopian national and UK resident. He was arrested in 2002, allegedly seriously tortured in Morocco and has now been detained for nearly four years without trial at Guantanamo Bay. The signatures are hoped to increase the likelihood of having him moved out of the maximum security prison ‘Camp 5’ in Guantanamo. It would be preferable if he were to be moved into ‘Camp Echo’ in an effort to minimise the serious risk that currently exists to his mental and physical health. Binyam has already written to Gordon Brown and requested his assistance in the hope that he can return to the UK. Requests have been made by the British Government to have him returned but the US Government have refused. This is what Amnesty International is trying to change.

Binyam’s case is extremely important, but one must realise that there are many more like him who have been detained for no reason, and for indefinite periods of time facing unimaginable forms of torture. During the demonstration, particular individuals reenacted various stress positions which prisoners are forced to do. This was an attempt by the demonstrators to give people a greater insight into how horrific the life of a detainee is.

As it is less than five weeks until Christmas, Belfast city centre was buzzing with late night shoppers and those who were visiting the continental market; so there was probably no greater time to hold such an important event. Those taking part in the demonstration received a considerable amount of attention from shoppers and media alike, and a substantial number of people were more than willing to sign the petition.


Cradle of Filth said...

Amnesty's activism on Guantanamo is significant.

I wonder; in Islamic states where homosexuals and women as societal groups are subject to less favourable treatment and where torture, corporal and capital punishment are entrenched in the justice system, when can we see QUB Amnesty taking a vocal stand against practices which on balance far out weigh the unjust, but incomparable plight of some innocent guys captured while out for a stroll on a battlefield where our troops are facing insurgency?

Anonymous said...

have a look at :

and perhaps it might answer your questions.

As for you comment about those detained in Guantanamo - amnesty take issue with detention without trial. Try them, or release them - that is their position.

QUB Amnesty said...

I think the above comment is both offensive to Muslims and grossly incorrect. If anyone would like to know what sort of stand we take against torture, capital punishment and discrimination against women and homosexuals come along to a meeting. All welcome.

Thanks to The Gown (esp Catherine) for flagging up this event.xo We got 462 signatures on the day inside 50 minutes and hopefully helped in a very small way to promote fair trials, campaign to eradicate torture and appeal for an end to extraordinary rendition.

Anonymous said...

One breach of human rights, no matter how big or small, is still an injustice. So i have to say that Cradle of Filth makes a rather moronic argument.

stand up for women everywhere said...

Anon #1:
I reckon everyone takes issue with unreasonable detention without trial. Not sure about Cradle of Filth though.

QUB Amnetsy:
"If anyone would like to know what sort of stand we take against torture, capital punishment and discrimination against women and homosexuals come along to a meeting"

Why don't you just state a repost to Cradle of Filth's opine; 'Islamic states where homosexuals and women as societal groups are subject to less favourable treatment and where torture, corporal and capital punishment are entrenched in the justice system'

Just to engage in the forum in which your addressed and save us a dose of nauseating sophistry?

Anon #2:
As for Cradle of Filth's moronic argument; surely a gross nation/theocratic state wide big or small injustice is just as important as big or small Guantanamo injustice? Any thoughts?

Is death the sentence befitting homosexuality? Should women face stoning and daily discrimination because of prejudice? Amnesty should be consistent and universal 'tis all I think.

Speed of the Puma said...

I laud Amnesty for raising awareness regarding Guantamano Bay. Fair trails are a fundamental element of civilised society.

However, at the same time I feel rather uneasy but the refusal of the local organisation to stand up for human rights violations in islamic countries because it is in some way offensive to muslims.

As anon 16:10 said "One breach of human rights, no matter how big or small, is still an injustice.", and the organisation should not simply run away from the issues that Cradle of Filth highlights for fear of controversy.

QUB Amnesty said...

I shall make it more clear then. We abhor discrimination of all sorts in Islamic and non-Islamic countries alike. One of our biggest current campaigns is for women's rights in Iran. As for our work on gay rights, have you visited the Space recently?

Nevertheless, Binyam's case and our work on the issues surrounding it are still as important to us as they have ever been. To say that we shy away from issues is quite incorrect.

lala said...

I don't think Cradle of Filth is being offensive to Muslims,it's a valid point if he does make it very badly. But Amnesty does take a stand against Muslim countries that have bad human rights records and they campaign heavily against them.

Anonymous said...

why is thomas hogg doing deals with james murphy for tomorrow night's council meeting? james gets all his boys to vote thomas for senate, and thomas gets the dua to support him in a potential vote of no confidence? surely he can't justify supporting the vp's work to date?

gown team: investigate!

Anonymous said...

Did Thomas do a deal? Well bless him for trying, he was beaten nearly two to one!

Anonymous said...


Why were the DUA allowed to get speaker and academic council unopposed? What deal has been done?

Then put on a sham fight for senate? JOKE.

Anonymous said...

Someone should have stopped the DUA taking speaker.

Ash said...

What deal was done?

DUA get speaker and academic council unopposed for sacrificing senate?

These people should not be appeased.

EPS said...

Interesting comment from anon (No. 10) at 07:48am 28 November 2008.

Does anyone know what time the count started at?

Who could have made such an informed comment at that time in the morning? Gown investigate.

otw said...

QUB Amnesty should stop filling "The Space" in the QUB Union building with homosexual propaganda. It is a "gross" waste of paper in all senses of the word.

William loyal said...

congrats on the dua for doing so well in sr council!

Milford Cubicle said...

Is this the first year that unionists didn't win senate?

Interested said...

"One breach of human rights, no matter how big or small, is still an injustice."

So what about breaching unborn babies basic right to life? Pile of hypocrites.

lala said...

Otw, I'm sure the super power of the gay community will be angry that you have discovered their propaganda which aimed to turn Northern Ireland in a Super Gay fun time paradise. The short term aim of World Domination has now been scrapped because of your common sense.

Btw, you're an ejjit and I'm being sarcastic

Concerned said...

Our University is being seized by fascists...

Mc Diddle said...

Milford Cubicle-

Not for the last number of years.

But it would appear that the DUP did a deal which sacrificed senate inorder to get a free run at speaker and academic council.

Philip Allister of the TUV also got a place on the SU management board along side a DUP candidate. The UUP don't seem to have contest any important positions.

otw said...

Calm down lala, i didn't say anything like that, I'm simply using my democratic right to free speech to indicate that I find homosexuality perverse.

lala said...

otw, I was mocking you. You seemed to think an Amnesty display was propaganda which is quite frankly hilarious. You have a right to say what you want, but you're VERY wrong. There is nothing wrong with being gay and there is nothing wrong with homosexuality.