Montreal Downtown (Group 16)

Amnesty International Group 16 is the community group serving central Montreal’s English-speaking population.  We are a dynamic and diverse group of people brought together by our concern to end human rights abuses around the world.  Our group members are of many ages and backgrounds, and include many long-time Amnesty activists as well as new members who have joined recently.

During our regular monthly meetings, members plan events and activities to raise awareness of human rights in the community, learn about human rights situations through guest speakers, videos and presentations by other Amnesty members, and engage in human rights campaigns directed by Amnesty International’s national and international secretariats. Attending the monthly meetings is an important way for members to become involved in Group 16’s human rights work, and joining a sub-group or taking on some other position in Group 16 lets members choose their particular areas of interest and best use their personal skills.

 

New Members

If you are interested in joining Amnesty or Group 16, we would encourage you to just come along to one of the meetings listed below.  At your first meeting, you’ll hear reports about activities we’ve run, activities to come, news from the international branch of Amnesty, and requests to sign letters and/or petitions from the various sub-groups (please don’t hesitate to ask questions!).  We also have either an invited speaker or video in the second half of our meetings, of which follows some discussion on the topics (see the speaker/topic list below).  You do not need any previous experience in Amnesty or other human rights groups, just come along and find out what interests you!

The English Speaking section of Amnesty International has no permanent facilities in Montreal, nor do we have any paid staff members in the city.  All our members are volunteers who attend our monthly meetings and meet separately in sub-groups when necessary.  We are always very happy to meet new volunteers, but on the understanding that all work in Montreal is unpaid and is done by attending our group meetings and sub-group meetings.

 

Monthly Meeting Schedule

When?  Group 16 usually meets on the third Sunday of the month from September to May, and runs from 5:00 pm to 7:45 pm.  Dates and topics for monthly meetings are subject to change (see below).

Where? Downtown Montreal YMCA, 1440 Stanley Street (near the Peel metro station). The meetings take place on the fifth floor in room 521 (take the elevator).  Notices are posted in the YMCA to show you towards the elevators, and to the left upon exiting them.

Each meeting is divided into two parts: the first part deals with the current and future activities of Amnesty International, and in particular, Group 16’s.  The second part of each meeting involves a guest speaker, video presentation, or workshop on a variety of topics organized by one of the Group 16 sub-groups.

Upcoming Meeting Schedule (2016-2017)

*Please note that the views expressed by speakers at AI Group 16 meetings are not necessarily those of the organization or its members.  

 

  • September 18, 2016 : Planning & Participation Meeting for 2016-2017!
  • October 16, 2016 : Speaker Oliver on the refugee situation in Australia
  • November 20, 2016 : Film: “African Grandmother’s Tribunal”, about caregiving grandmothers in Africa
  • December 10, 2016 : No meeting, but visit WRITE-FOR-RIGHTS (Human Rights Day!)
  • January 15, 2017 : Discussion run by Women & Children sub-group
  • February 19, 2017 : Speaker Ebenezer on the situation of Cameroon’s English-speakers
  • March 19, 5pm, rm 521 :   Speaker Amal Elsana on ‘the role of women in the Middle East
  • April 23, 2017, 5pm : Speaker Andrea Marie Portugal, AI Canada’s English Section Coordinator for Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories.
  • May 28, 5pm, room 521 : Speaker is Turkish/Belgian but now lives in Montreal.   Since the age of 16 she has been a member of Amnesty International and Greenpeace with a lot of experience working on issues such as the rights of women, freedom of expression and environmental concerns.  

 

  • June 11, 2017 : End of year potluck!

Our schedule for the year is determined in the September meeting.  If the meeting schedule changes, we will update this page as soon as possible, so please re-visit this page before going to a meeting.

(Last Year’s Meeting Schedule, 2015-2016)

  • September 20, 2015 : Planning & Participation Meeting for 2015-2016
  • October 18, 2015 : Speaker Alison Mazoff, on Canadian Corporate Accountability
  • November 15, 2015 : Speaker Alex Neve (via skype) on HR in South Sudan
  • December, 2015 : No meeting in December!  (But please join us at Write for Rights on Dec 5!)
  • January 17, 2016 :  Film “The Defector”, on North Korean defectors
  • February 21, 2016 :  speaker Awet on human rights in Eritrea (see film ‘Nevsun in Eritrea’)
  • March 20, 2016 :  Presentation on abolishing the death penalty, w/ petitions & discussion.
  • April 17, 2016 : Updates on our group’s activities, & human rights news.  
  • May 15, 2016 :  Speaker for the ‘North Andean Region’ subgroup
  • June 14, 2016 : End-of-year potluck dinner!

 

Subgroups

Group 16 members work in specialized teams called sub-groups, with each sub-group focusing on a particular geographic area or theme in Amnesty’s human rights efforts.  While Group 16 members are encouraged to join a sub-group, it is not a requirement.  Members may belong to more than one, and can join in on any activities they choose in addition to their sub-group involvement.

Our current sub-groups work on these topics:

Human Rights Defenders :   <write-up  soon>

Indigenous Peoples :   Centuries of racism and dispossession have denied Indigenous peoples the opportunity to enjoy their basic human rights.  In every continent in the world, Indigenous peoples are among the most marginalized, impoverished and frequently victimized members of society.  In the face of widespread violence and oppression, Indigenous peoples are standing up for their rights – and challenging the international system to evolve and grow in exciting new directions. Directions that will help ensure that human rights guaranteed to all can actually be enjoyed by all.

Amnesty International members work in collaboration with Indigenous peoples across Canada and around the world to campaign for political and legal reform to end discrimination and uphold the rights guaranteed in national laws, historical and contemporary Treaties and international standards.

Middle East :   <write-up  soon>

Refugees :   We are currently in the midst of an unprecedented refugee and internally displaced person (IDP) crisis. The number of people forced to flee their homes across the world has reached nearly 60 million for the first time since the Second World War with 4.8 million refugees just from the Syrian conflict alone. As of the end of 2015, a record-breaking 38 million people were forcibly displaced within their own country by violence.

AI will need to take forward this work by focusing on 1-2 issues that benefit from amplification and support broader work on refugees/protection of people on the move, specifically:  (1) Responsibility-sharing for the global refugee crisis, (2) Access to effective protection, and (3) Protecting refugees and migrants in transit.

Women and Children :   <write-up  soon>

Our previous sub-group focuses:
East African Regional Action Network (EAFRAN)
China Regional Action Network (CHIRAN)
Death Penalty Network
Stop Torture Campaign
North Andean Action Network (NARAN)
Middle Eastern Regional Action Network (MERAN)

 

Questions?

If you have a question about Group 16 that is not answered above, please write to us at amnestygroup16@gmail.com and put the word ‘Amnesty’ in the subject of your message.  Please note you do not need to write to ask whether you can come along to one of our meetings: everyone is welcome to attend, so just turn up!

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