On Thursday 10th July at Christchurch on the Grove, the Wharfedale Group of Amnesty International held a well-attended open meeting supported by the Bradford and Silsden groups to launch the Against Torture Campaign. Rod Heath AI UK representative for the North East introduced the campaign. He spoke about how, all over the world, governments are torturing ordinary people. Thirty years ago Amnesty International secured an historic global ban on torture; but the governments that signed up to it have failed to live up to their promises. They still use torture to obtain “confessions”, silence opposition or simply to punish. The campaign will focus on five key countries, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Philippines and Uzbekistan. Within each of these countries the focus will be on the survivors of torture. Cards for signing were available in support of victims.

Following the launch, Andy Moody the London based AI UK Coordinator for China spoke on the main areas of Amnesty’s work in China with a focus on the current individuals at risk in that country. There was material available on which to take action. The Wharfedale Group has specific interest in their adopted prisoner, Ablikim Abdiriyim, a prisoner of conscience in the Uighur region of China.

The group is grateful to the Rev Patrick Bateman and All Saints churchfor allowing postcards to be signed on behalf of victims of torture. The congregation gave the group a warm and enthusiastic reception and 60 cards were signed. Other local churches will participate later in the month.

National Refugee Week is supported by the Group and a fund raising event has been arranged with Otley Film Society for later in the year.