Spectacle’s short film “Shaker Aamer: A Decade of Injustice” was screened on 29th October in the House of Commons to a full house. The screening was attended by human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, Caroline Lucas MP, Clive Stafford Smith OBE of Reprieve, Jane Ellison MP, and members of the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, among others, and was followed by a panel discussion focused on how we can all work for Shaker Aamer’s release from Guantanamo and return to the UK.
Jane Ellison contributed to the discussion, as well as some words of support from the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas. Ellison shared how she urged William Hague to address the issue of Shaker’s continued detention at Guantanamo, whilst Lucas lamented the “derisory” number of MPs who have signed an Early Day Motion calling on the British government to secure his release.
Gareth Pierce, an English defense lawyer who specialises in Human rights cases said: “The moment the British government said they were doing everything they could to bring Shaker home, they were doing exactly the reverse.”
Shaker Aamer is one of the 171 men still held in detention in Guantanamo Bay on the camp’s 10th anniversary. Despite never having had a trial, having been approved for release twice, and a growing number of people from all walks of life campaigning on his behalf, Shaker remains in detention. His physical and mental health deterioration is a prevalent concern.
An updated version of Spectacle’s short film “Shaker Aamer: A decade of injustice” will be screened next Monday in the House of Commons. It will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A to focus on how we can all work for Shaker Aamer’s release and return to the UK.
This new version includes interviews with Clive Baldwin- Senior Legal Advisor Human Rights Watch- and Ruth Blakely- Senior Lecturer In International Relations at University of Kent.
Shaker Aamer is one of the 171 men still held in detention in Guantanamo Bay on the camp’s 10th anniversary. Despite never having had a trial, having been approved for release twice, and a growing number of people from all walks of life campaigning for him, Shaker remains in detention. His physical and mental health deterioration is a prevalent concern.
Monday 29th October, at 7pm to 9 pm Room 15, the House of Commons, London SW1A2TT (St. Stephen’s Entrance) Meeting hosted by Jane Ellison MP on behalf of the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign (SSAC).
Clive Stafford Smith OBE, Jane Ellison MP,
Omar Deghayes, Kate Hudson, Yvonne Ridley,
Joy Hurcombe Others invited/include:
Caroline Lucas MP, Sarah Ludford MEP, John McDonnell MP, and Terry Waite CBE.
Please note – arrive in good time for the meeting. Allow 20 minutes to clear security at the House of Commons. The House of Commons is a no-smoking zone and we are requested not take in any food.
The principle purpose of the youth justice system in England and Wales is the prevention of offending and re-offending (Crime and Disorder Act, 1998). Therefore, it would seem to make sense to make policy decisions on the basis of evidence of ‘what works’.
As the Youth Justice Board (YJB) plans to decommission more beds in secure children homes, the Howard League for Penal Reform has released a briefing on the secure estate: Future Insecure, calling for custodial decisions to be based on evidence of effectiveness and safety, rather than simply cost. The briefing comes only weeks after two children died while in prison service custody.
Recent figures released by the Ministry of Justice have shown that serious or other life-threatening warning signs have occurred 285 times when children have been restrained in STCs over the past five years, including hospitalisation, loss of consciousness and damage to internal organs. Despite their institutionalised failings and the risks that they pose to the safety of children, no places have been decommissioned in STCs since they opened. 90% children in Young Offenders Institutes said they wanted to stop offending but haven’t found any opportunity in the current system to support them in doing so.
Even more troubling is the statistic that 9 out of 10 of the most violent institutions in the country are Young Offenders Institutes.
The chief executive of the The Howard League for Penal Reform, Frances Crook, said, “The recent reduction in the number of children in custody is to be welcomed. However this should have been used as an opportunity to close failing prisons, which cannot meet children’s needs. The battery farm model of young offender institutions, with hundreds of troubled children under one roof, is wholly inappropriate, while the privately run secure training centres have a dismal history around the use of restraint.
“Already this year we have seen the suicides of two children in prison custody. A change of policy that prioritises the safety of children and invests in meaningful attempts to reduce re-offending cannot come too quickly. ”
The Howard League believes that community sentences make a person take responsibility, make amends for what they have done, and change to live a law-abiding life in the community. Prison is a relatively ineffective way of reducing crime. Our current high prison population is untenable. Prisons do little to help people make amends for what they have done and change lives. The Howard League campaigns on behalf of children in the penal system to improve their treatment and conditions and make sure they are released from prison safely with appropriate support wherever possible.
Secure children’s homes provide the highest standards of care and rehabilitation for the few children in trouble with the law who have to be detained in custody. Higher standards of care and rehabilitation reduce rates of recidivism, which in turns saves money for the Youth Justice Board. The Audit Commission estimate that preventing just 1 in 10 children from offending would save over £100m per year. What better financial argument is there for long-term efficacy than that?
Faced with a choice between a system of incarceration that does not produce any measurable success, and one that does, the Youth Justice Board cannot maintain the current programme of closing Secure Children’s Homes in favour of the more economically viable, but relatively ineffective, Secure Training Centres and Young Offender’s Institutes.
The Howard League screened a film about Secure Children Homes in the House of Commons on January 8th. The film was produced by Spectacle, working with the young people in one such home. The Commons screening was for decision makers and cabinet ministers to coincide with the release of the Youth Justice Board’s secure estate strategy. The film was made with young people in secure children’s homes and the screening was sponsored by Ian Swales MP.
A powerful new documentary on the United States’ detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has been shown to MPs at the House of Commons.
The film screening this week was followed by a question and answer session with a panel of commentators including former Guantanamo prisoner Moazzam Begg, lawyers Tom Wilner and Gareth Peirce, and former Guardian newspaper journalist, Victoria Brittain.
‘Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo’ gives a vivid and penetrating account of the torture, extraordinary rendition and the network of secret prisons employed by the Bush administration in its infamous ‘war on terror’.
Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo gives a vivid and penetrating account of the torture, extraordinary rendition and the network of secret prisons employed by the Bush administration in its infamous ‘War on Terror’.
On Tuesday June 21, at 6 pm, there will be a special Parliamentary screening of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” in the Boothroyd Room in Portcullis House, opposite the House of Commons.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with US attorneys Brent Mickum and Tom Wilner, who are both visiting London for this event, British lawyer Gareth Peirce, former Guantánamo prisoners Omar Deghayes and Moazzam Begg, journalists Victoria Brittain and Andy Worthington and film maker Polly Nash.
Central YMCA with the support of MP’s from major parties have launched their Campaign for Body Confidence, as well as the All Party Parliamentary Group on Body Image (APPG) to which Central YMCA will be proving the secretariat. The campaign has the weighty task of addressing and resolving some of the problems concerning negative body image in British society, particularly amongst the younger generations. They are striving to curb the manner in which people view themselves and others by reaching out and engaging with individuals and communities a like, as well as with working with the leading media based industries that promote unrealistic expectations of body image. Jo Swinson, (LibDem MP,) explains that:
“These problems urgently need addressing and the APPG on Body Image will bring together some of the key players in this debate in a cross-party forum – youth organisations, the advertising industry, health sector and media. We will challenge some of the root causes of negative body image, highlight best practice and work towards building a society in which people feel more body confident.”
Spectacle contributed a short animated film to the campaign, that provides the viewer with a brief overview of the extensive research carried out by Central YMCA and Centre for Appearance Research in the University of the West of England, which premiered recently in the House of Commons. The film also draws attention to the financial, physically and psychological harm that appearance issues can invoke, ranging from the billions of pounds spent annually on dieting pills and food supplements, to the often devastating attitudes towards, and consequences of steroid use and cosmetic surgery. The video can also be found on the YMCA Body Confidence homepage.
As society in the UK becomes ever more sexualised and appearance oriented, the issues and pressures surrounding body image and appearance are becoming dramatically more significant and problematic. In Central YMCA’s research, statistically one in four people openly admitted to being depressed about the way they look, and as many as half of young females were open to the idea of using cosmetic surgery to enhance their looks in their future. The suggested ideals of beauty that is all too often plastered upon billboards, magazines, television, and the internet, shape the way that people, (in particular the younger generations,) perceive beauty and intrinsically sexuality. However it is thought that as little as five percent of the population look like, or could ever realistically achieve, the image of beauty and sexuality promoted by the models and celebrities.
This issue is of course further complicated by the introduction of image manipulation and airbrushing, which is now routinely used to perfect and enhance the outlandish ideals of beauty that the images promote. This means that not only are people being pressured into pursuing an image of beauty possessed by a tiny percentage of the population, the images often do not naturally exist in reality and are essentially unobtainable.
Results are leading to a steep rise in the number of young people affected by sever eating disorders, with girls recorded as starting their first diets at as young as eight years of age.
To help combat these issues amongst young people, Y Touring, which is part of Central YMCA, recently worked with a group of young teenagers from London to create a project that explores true body image through photography. Beautiful Photography Project 2010 empowers the teenagers involved to represent themselves and beauty as they perceive it, rather than the images fed to them by the aforementioned industries. Please show your support.
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