Over 90 Amnesty members have gathered in Adelaide for this year’s National Annual General Meeting to discuss Amnesty International Australia’s future role in the global human rights movement.

What happened at NAGM?

The largest governance meeting of the year, this NAGM was more than just a discussion on resolutions, reform, and constitutional processes. Members of the movement came together in solidarity to strengthen our work contributing to the global movement for human rights.

Participants did purposeful workshops relating to the theme of “Engaging Communities: Creative Action for Human Rights”, which included an interactive session by Adelaide’s renowned Act Now theatre group.

Participants got back to their roots by taking part in a large civil march to raise awareness of Australia’s reputation of locking up children. The march was a tribute to the Community is Everything campaign to reduce the imprisonment rates of Australia’s Indigenous young people, and a protest of the Australian government’s policies of locking up people seeking asylum on Manus Island and Nauru. Members donned matching t-shirts and carried banners, flags, and signs through the streets with a large crib-turned-prison-cell prop full of children’s toys, before standing together on Kaurna country in unison calling out “Ngadlu Naalityangk Kumangka Yuwanthi” (“We stand as one” in Kaurna).

This weekend was not only a time to make important resolutions for the future of AIA, but also for volunteers and activists to reflect on their role within Amnesty. We need to to strengthen our sense of solidarity as a group of human rights activists in order to ensure that our movement stays connected and strong for the future.

So what did participants think?

“I just really enjoyed meeting the fantastic people that Amnesty attracts. The fact that I could contribute as a volunteer and participate in this event in my home town was such a privilege, and I was thrilled to take part. I learned a lot and it allowed me to view potential opportunities to become further involved in Amnesty.”

– Meredith Walsh, Group Organizer

“When we started the organizing process for this conference, I knew this was going to be something special. This was my first National AGM, but it will most certainly not be my last! It was such an amazing experience to be part of this great group of passionate human rights activists and to feel like I was part of something special; part of a team fighting for the same thing.”

– Sarah Burrage, Secretary; SA/NT Branch and Group Organizer

The Action:

“Sometimes we got so caught up in the organizational side of things that we forget why we are there and the purpose of our work. This action was such an amazing experience because it got us all together and reminded us that “yes, this is why we are here. This is the reason I am part of Amnesty. I found it a very moving and emotional experience.”

– Deanna Hall, Vice President SA/NT Branch and NAGM Preparation Committee Member

“I was absolutely thrilled by [the action]…and how it was able to come together. The fact that we could get 90 members of Amnesty meeting on Kaurna country and for them to be able to say that they stand in solidarity with them as a people was such a thrilling experience.”

– Meredith Walsh, Group Organizer

Want to come along to our next NAGM? Become an Amnesty member!

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