Amnesty International Toronto Organization

Regional Meeting, October 16, 2004

Article in the July/August Activist

by Patrick Furey





This fall’s Regional Conference in Toronto promises to be a great opportunity for learning more about current issues, improving your activist skills, and mingling with fellow Amnesty members from Ontario.  What a marvellous way to kick off Amnesty International Week!  If you couldn’t make it to the AGM in Ottawa (or even if you could), then be sure to come to this conference.

The conference will run from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm at Metro Hall in Downtown Toronto on Saturday, October 16.  

The day will kick off with an introduction from former President, Paul Bentley, who will also brief us on his current role as Ombudsperson for the Branch. 

Throughout the day, there will be nine workshops, from which you may choose to attend three.  Topics were chosen to align closely with the new Branch Plan, with the current Stop Violence Against Women Campaign being an underlying theme.  Workshops will include issues such as refugee protection, the death penalty, and economic, social and cultural rights.   Another workshop will feature a speaker from the Canadian Landmine Association.  You will also have the opportunity to get tips on fundraising and on how to speak to the public in small groups or with individuals at information tables.  If you are looking for more ways to take action, then there will be information on “Canada’s Resource Sector Abroad”, the “FTAA and its Impact on Women of the Americas”, and “Art for Human Rights”.

Before lunch everyone will be able to attend a panel discussion on the Stop Violence Against Women Campaign.  Campaign Coordinator, Cheryl Hotchkiss, will be featured on the panel.

We are very pleased to have Alex Neve as the keynote speaker during the lunch period.  Alex will talk about human rights, international law and security.

Following afternoon workshop sessions, the Closing Plenary will be a panel discussion on Amnesty’s Policy on Armed Conflicts, an important topic that will be debated at next year’s International Council Meeting.  This will be a great opportunity to learn about the issue and provide input.

Throughout the day, all members will want to take action by making an origami dove with a message to help gain freedom for someone whose human rights have been denied.   You will also be able to purchase some of AITO’s great merchandise.

The registration fee of just $25 will include a buffet lunch, with vegetarian and vegan options, and refreshments throughout the day. Note that we are not allowed to collect fees at Metro Hall so registration must be paid in advance.   Make your cheque or money order payable to Amnesty International Toronto Organization, and mail to P.M. Grenier, Treasurer, AITO, 56 Temperance Street, 8th Floor, Toronto, ON, M5H 3V5.   Registration must be received in Toronto by October 6, 2004.

Confirmation of registration will be sent by e-mail wherever possible, so make sure you include your e-mail address.   We will also send a map with directions and other necessary details.

Local groups are encouraged to subsidize any members who may require financial support.  Alternatively, contact Elena Dumitru, Regional Development Coordinator, about subsidies.  She can be reached at the Toronto Office, 416-363-9933, ext. 33.   All enquiries will be dealt with in confidence.

For more information, check out our website at, or contact Wayne Smith at  Don’t miss this Regional Conference – the last one was a decade ago!  We look forward to seeing you on October 16.