Amnesty International Toronto Organization
Regional Meeting October 16, 2004
Report of session – 9:30 – 10:45
Moderator -- Iris Nowell
Tracy Lamourie, Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty
Margaret John, AI Coordinator, Singapore
Aubrey Harris, AI member
Death Penalty co-group chair Stephanie Coward was invited to participate but was unable to because of other commitments. Mark Warren could not for similar work conflicts, and Stephanie suggested a number of others on the co-group that we might invite, and Andras Schreck agreed to participate. However, a few days before the event he had to cancel, so Tracy Lamourie stepped in at the last minute. We had asked for a speaker from the Association in Aid of the Wrongly Convicted and were unable to obtain one.
Iris Nowell introduced the session and outlined content and speakers. She presented a brief review on AI’s work, leading to progress on worldwide abolition, Canada’s attempt to re-instate and forces that led to its failure. Also, an overview of changing sentiments of the DP in the U.S., notably Governor Ryan’s commutations.
Tracy Lamourie, of the Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty, provided added detail on the U.S. situation, and the CCADP’s strategies of direct participation in DP work. And she gave an account of the recent Death Penalty World Congress in Montreal.
Margaret John also discussed the World Congress in a moving, highly personal manner, notably regarding the highly publicized march. She also outlined the increasing concern about application of the DP in Singapore, emphasizing the country’s record, one with the highest number of executions per capita in the world, as well as of unfair trials, death sentences without appeal, and other violations of international HR standards
Aubrey Harris conducted an audience participation segment that dealt with answering tough questions about the penalty. It inspired a lot of audience comments, and allowed Aubrey and the others on the panel to respond to questions in an informed, authoritative manner.
About 30 people attended and they received four hand-outs: an appeal to Singapore regarding the death penalty, Building Bridges: Talking about the Death Penalty and Human Rights (prepared by Mark Warren),AI’s (abridged) Facts and Figures on the Death Penalty and AI’s (abridged) Questions and Answers About the Death Penalty.
Participants in this session received compliments from the members of the audience following the sessions, notably how valuable it had been to them, especially regarding questions and answers about the death penalty.
Prepared by Iris Nowell.