Our two-yearly International Council Meeting (ICM) took place in August, seeing amazing moments and achievements made by our member-led global human rights movement. Our six Australian delegates returned empowered, proud of the hard work done and inspired by the diverse and phenomenal work Amnesty activists are doing around the world.
Almost 400 human rights activists from around the globe came together for five days in in Rome to discuss, plan and strengthen the future of our movement and continue the fight to uphold human rights globally.
Feedback we received from our Australian members was invaluable to our delegation’s work at the ICM. We were very fortunate to be able to draw on your knowledge and expertise, which you provided in the many engagement sessions held before the meeting.
Delegates from around the world voted to make key changes to our governance structure, aiming to strengthen our democratic processes and amplify the voices of the Global South in our decision making.
The ICM will be replaced with an annual Global Assembly. We will become more agile in our decision-making, with Regional Forums to be hosted in the lead up to the Global Assembly. Each section will have equal voting rights at the new meeting; a departure from our previous ‘weighted’ voting system. These changes were introduced as a reflection of our commitment to giving life to our purpose and to ensuring engagement from all levels of our movement, in keeping with the ‘moving closer to the ground’ discussions we’ve had in recent years.
The final report on the implementation of the Global Transition Program (GTP) was presented at this ICM, and it demonstrated that we are more committed than ever to ensuring Amnesty have a presence globally. The GTP has led to Amnesty having a new or enhanced presences across the world including in Brazil, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Emerging human rights policy areas were discussed extensively.
The movement decided that further policy development work needs to be done on the human rights impact of climate change and disability rights. We decided to strengthen our current policy position on abortion so that we can effectively address human rights violations that occur around the globe.
The ICM also decided to develop a policy on the human rights impact of military occupation, as well as on drug control policies.
Our youth activists were exceptional in their work to ensure there is a strong youth voice within our movement at the highest level, with our delegation securing an amendment to the make-up of the new Global Assembly to ensure youth activist participation.
We actively participated at the International Women’s Rights Network meeting with the outcome of a new outline for future campaigning for women’s rights globally.
As activists we called for the release of Amnesty Turkey’s Chair and Director Taner Kilic and Idil Eser, and for all human rights activists imprisoned in Turkey.
We took action for the rights of refugees and persons seeking asylum around the globe. We heard from key figures around the world about how we can better our human rights impacts and the important things we can learn from them to take into into the future.
We welcomed new members to our International Board and to key governance positions who will volunteer countless hours in the future to Amnesty International, including Dawna Wright, a member of AI Australia, who was elected to the Finance and Audit Committee.
Most importantly, we came together as a movement to collaborate, share and strengthen our human rights impact globally, and to work together for the future of Amnesty International.
Our Australian delegates feel that having completed some hard work that has spanned near on a decade, and much more, it was an incredibly high note to finish on. We’re extraordinarily grateful to all of our volunteers, activists, staff and countless others who helped to make this ICM possible and look forward to working with many of them again at the Global Assembly 2018.
Your ICM delegates,
Gabe Kavanagh, National President
Claire Mallinson, National Director
James Milsom, Board member
Katerina Barbour, Board member
Sarah Burrage, SA/NT Branch Committee member
Sarah Swan, Youth Delegate