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Campaigns info, what we'll be doing on college and whats been going on.


AGM, Tuesday April 24th, Postgrad Lounge

(beside office of Vice-President of Research), 6pm, come along and get involed.



On Thursday April 19th at 1pm, QG21, we will have a speaker in from Chiapas, Mexico,

Marisa Theresa Zepeta, speaking on Human Rights in Mexico.


On April 19th there will be a Zimbabwe Cafe Night in Temple Bar with a speaker from the

International Secretariat and music from DJ Tando.



Look out for the Israel/Palestine Checkpoint Watch Exhibition April  10-12 ,

The Video on Palestine & discussion after on April 12, C104, 1pm.



'Human Rights in Zimbabwe' Talk with Selu Mdlose at 6pm, Thursday, March 8th. QG21.

Photo courtesy of Stas Bernasinski, http://www.pbase.com/stasber/niwel_tsumbu_duo1


"Genocide in Sudan" talk .

March 1st, 6pm , DCU, followed by wine & snacks reception.


Dr. Abdullahi El-Tom, professor of anthropology at NUI Maynooth, came to speak to a group of DCU Students about the dire situation in Darfur. El-Tom has worked with leaders in Sudan to form resolutions, and now feels that the rest of the world needs to be aware of what’s happening in Darfur.

The situation in Darfur dates back to 2003 when the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) attacked government forces. The rebels accused the government of oppressing black Africans in favor of Arabs. In response, the government formed an Arab militia, the Janjaweed. 

The Janjaweed (meaning “devils on horseback”) are accused of burning over 5000 villages, raping thousands of women, and torturing and killing thousands more as a weapon of war. Culturally, raped women are considered unclean, so the Janjaweed rape women in public places to humiliate them and their families. They also wish that the women will produce lighter-skinned children.

Many media outlets have described the conflict as genocide, or ethic cleansing, and rightly so. The people of Southern and Western Sudan, while still predominantly Muslim, are darker- skinned than the “superior” Northerners who are lighter-skinned and consider themselves not black African, but Sudanese Arab.

The percentage of Northerners who run government and other leadership positions in the country is outstanding, even 100 percent in some cases. The Southerners currently have little or no power in the country. Racism undoubtedly plays a role.

According to El-Tom, as a result of the conflict in Darfur, approximately 400,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have been displaced. Over 100,000 refugees have crossed the border into neighboring Chad, and are living in camps for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Others who cannot make it to Chad are forced to live in the desert with little to no food, water, or shelter, and no protection from the storming Janjaweed militiamen who are likely to attack at any time.

As part of a United Nations effort to resolve conflict, the African Union (AU) was formed. Unfortunately, the AU, only about 7,000 strong, can do little to protect the people of Darfur. When the Janjaweed perform their brutal acts, there is no one to be punished because they are acting on the orders of the government.

All UN attempts at a peacekeeping agreement have been met by Sudanese opposition, and have been broken. Groups such as Amnesty International have worked to gain international attention of the issues in Darfur, and demand action from the Sudan and Chad governments, the UN Security Council, and many others.

For more information the conflict in Darfur, or to learn how to help, visit www.amnesty.org or www.amnesty.ie


-Nalalie Committee



Semester 1 Amnesty Review

I Am-nesty

DCU Amnesty International kicked off the first semester with interesting talks, fair trade wine and chocolate receptions, challenging campaigns and rocking socials.

Four members from DCU joined the Irish Section Annual Conference which took place at the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel in Kilkenny town from 20-22 October. The conference was chaired by RTÉ Correspondent Paul Cunningham and the weekend saw a wide range of different speakers, interesting workshops and exciting activities to highlight Amnesty’s work over the past year and to talk about the challenges to be met in the coming year. For many of us, this weekend of education activities and party was a great opportunity to learn more about the Irish Section’s work, ongoing human rights crises and to make new friends. After a quick introductory workshop, the conference started with a gripping talk by Aisling Swaine on the ever worsening crisis situation in Darfur, West Sudan. The battle-torn area represents the biggest violation in human rights at present and Amnesty has again emphasised the urgency of its work on Darfur and is dedicated to make it a priority region for the coming year. Despite a UN resolution calling for Peacekeepers for Darfur, thousands of civilians are still subject to killings, rape and forcible displacements. The unlawful attacks on civilians by government-sponsored armed gunmen in Darfur, „Janjaweed“, and by the government army constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. Men, women and children have indiscriminately been targets of the crimes and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Women, including pregnant women and girls, have been victims of rapes, killings, abductions and sexual slavery.
Aisling Swaine has worked on gender and gender-based violence (GBV) issues since 1999 and is currently the GBV Coordinator for the International Rescue Committee in Darfur. She regularly visits the refugee camps in the conflict region and spoke about the testimonies of hundreds of Sudanese women and girls. Women play a crucial role within the communities and they are the ones who leave the refugee camps every day in order to collect firewood, food and water. As they leave the camps they become victims of rape and torture. Many women and men told Amnesty International that men do not leave the camps for fear of being killed. The violence against women and girls has severe consequences, not only for the victims themselves, but also for the social structure of their communities. Rape is commonly considered a taboo and often only women who are not married are able to talk about the violence perpetrated against them.  The communities are not capable of providing sufficient support as would be necessary for these women and do not accept the children who could result from such assaults. As a result of this, women often feel forced to abandon children that result from rape for fear of being rejected by their husbands and
disdained by their community. Rape and torture is therefore commonly used as a powerful weapon to destabilise the communities of which women are the backbone. To make things even worse, the Sudanese government has chosen a policy of repression to cope with the problems of Darfur, and arbitrary arrests, disappearances, torture and violence against human rights activists continue.

Brian Dooley then gave a detailed presentation of the current issues prevalent in Lebanon. Brian is the Project Coordinator of the Amnesty = Activism initiative at the International Secretariat and was part of Amnesty’s most recent mission to Lebanon. The past six years have seen continuously increasing violence and despair in the Occupied Territories and hope for a just and durable resolution of the conflict seems to be remote. Amnesty urges all parties involved to put forward a peace plan for a lasting solution in order to end with the dreadful violations and for human rights to be respected. After these gripping presentations and shocking reports, we were all in desperate need of a pint, or four or five, and we spent the rest of the night together with all the speakers at Langton’s, having drinks and tapas.

Saturday morning started with a candle lighting ceremony with the Lord Mayor of Kilkenny, greetings, reports and loads of coffee. Just before lunch, five different workshops on Darfur & gender-based violence, Lebanon/Israel, Human Rights, mental health campaign and special events for local groups were held in the hotel. After we had all had lunch in the Kings Suite, Aisling Swaine gave another interesting talk and a DVD on the situation in Darfur was presented. Jim Loughran, Campaigns & Communication Manager, and Kieran Clifford, Activism & Outreach Officer, continued with an introduction to the Freedom From Want Campaign, followed by a seminar of Policy Proposals on Sexual & Reproductive Rights and another film. The Saturday sessions finished with a giant, peaceful demonstration through the streets of Kilkenny, calling for “Freedom from Fear for the People of Sudan”. Although it was raining and storming, the demonstration was a huge success, many people on the streets joined us and we attracted a lot of positive attention. We finished the night with a fancy dinner in the Kings Suite and a spectacular after-party, including Amnesty International Member Awards, wine, wild disco dancing in the Suite and yet more wine. Sunday morning saw more workshops on the focus issues, the election of the Conference Agenda Committee 2007 and several reports, as well as interactive workshops on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Mexico and Zimbabwe, which were held by members of the local focus groups. The Kilkenny weekend was definitely one of the best events during the first semester and we are looking forward to meeting everyone again and to work on campaigns focusing on the priority issues of 2007. In November, seven of us attended the Amnesty International Student Conference in London where various workshops on Amnesty’s current campaigns were held and an impressive speech was given by a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Moazzam Begg.

This semester we are ready to meet more challenges and to host social events for all of you to get to know us. Visit our website and get involved! ~ http://www.redbrick.dcu.ie/~amnesty/

~ Jessica Haussler


"Race, Poverty and Capital Punishment in the U.S." talk with Bryan Stevenson

February 9th, 1pm, Q122, Business Building, DCU, followed by wine & snacks reception.

A lawyer whose representation of disadvantaged people and death row
prisoners in America’s deep south has won widespread recognition, Bryan A.
Stevenson, will give a series of talks in Ireland as part of an Amnesty
International speaker’s tour from February 5th to 9th 2007.

Bryan A. Stevenson is the Executive Director of the Equal Justice
Initiative of Alabama and also a Professor of Law at the New York
University School of Law.

Mr Stevenson and his staff have been successful in overturning dozens of
capital murder cases and death sentences where disadvantaged people have
been unconstitutionally convicted or sentenced.

Amnesty International campaigns for an end to executions and the abolition
of the death penalty everywhere. The death penalty is the ultimate cruel,
inhuman and degrading punishment - it violates the right to life. It is
irrevocable, can be inflicted on the innocent and has never been shown to
deter crime more effectively than other punishments. Progress has been
dramatic. In 1977 only 16 countries had abolished the death penalty for all
crimes. Today the figure stands at 88.

Mr Stevenson has been recognized as one of the top public interest lawyers
in the US and his efforts to confront bias against the poor and people of
color in the criminal justice system have earned him dozens of awards.

Mr Stevenson will visit Limerick, Galway, Cork and Dublin as part of his tour.




London Amnesty International Student Conference Review 

17th-19th November 2006

The Amnesty International Student Conference took place in London from the 17th to the 19th of November and seven members from DCU Amnesty group attended. This was the first conference held at Amnesty’s impressive new Human Rights Activism Centre in London. Over the course of the weekend a variety of workshops and talks were held about some of the campaigns that Amnesty are involved in at the moment and how on-campus Amnesty groups can get involved and get working on them. The first campaign that was discussed was “Stop Violence Against Women” and the speaker was Heather Harvey. Heather briefed the group about the various aspects of the campaign and how Amnesty were addressing violence against women in Jamaica, the UK and in particular ethnic Caribbean groups in the UK. The disturbing situation in Jamaica was discussed, in particular the rise of violence and sexual violence against girls under the age of 18. Currently in Jamaica 70% of reported rapes are of girls under the age of 18, 16% of these reported rapes are to girls aged 13 and 14 and 17% of rapes occur at gunpoint. This is more than likely only the tip of the iceberg as many cases of rape go unreported due to stigma and fear of reprisal by the perpetrator. After this talk was the first of two workshops in which we were split in to smaller groups to discuss various issues such as Hollywood and Conflict Diamonds, Terror, Security and Human Rights, Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Delivering an Arms Trade Treaty to name but a few. The second talk of the conference focused on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, specifically what stance Amnesty International plan to take on the issue of abortion and if they should have a policy at all.  This is always a contentious issue and there was no shortage of heated discussions between pro-life and pro-choice supporters. Amnesty will be making a final decision on the matter in early 2007 so if you want to have your say go to www.amnesty.co.uk/consult for more information. The final talk on Saturday was Terror, Security and Human Rights and for many students this was the highlight of the conference. The speaker was Moazzam Begg, a UK citizen and former detainee at Guantanamo Bay. Moazzam’s ordeal began when he was in Afghanistan with his wife building a school for girls. He was captured, sold to the American army and transported initially to a camp in Pakistan. From there he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay where he was detained for almost three years, much of it in solitary confinement. Moazzam was never told why he was arrested, what evidence, if any, there was against him and why he was eventually released. During his detention he was tortured and witnessed the torture and murder of other detainees. He is now campaigning with Amnesty for the release of ten other innocent UK citizens being unlawfully held in Guantanamo. On Saturday evening the entire delegation went to Leicester Square for a campaign petition action focusing on Stop Violence Against Women. There was a mixed response to the campaign from members of the public and while many people were happy to sign the petitions and hear more about the campaign there were some imaginative insults thrown our way also! The conference wound down on Sunday morning with a talk on the crisis in Darfur and elections for the Student Action Network Committee. The conference was definitely worth attending and gave us a lot to think about in terms of campaigns for the coming year so please keep an eye out for those. For more information on these or any other campaigns check out www.amnesty.co.uk or www.amnesty.ie or DCU Amnesty group.  

Article courtesy of Lisa Bennett