Activism Leadership Committee members appointed in 2020

Australian Capital Territory & Southern New South Wales

No candidates nominated for this Region in 2020.

New South Wales

Swagota Kotoky

I believe that it is our duty to take care of people in need and Amnesty International provides me an opportunity to do so. I first started volunteering for Amnesty International in the year 2006 with their Toronto, Canada office and now am a co-convener for the Hornsby Action Group. As a mother of a young child, I have observed that children are naturally sensitive to understand in their own way what is right and wrong in any particular situation. Making children and youth aware and sensitized to human rights issues will build a better society for tomorrow and this is where I wish to contribute as a member of ALC. Professionally, I am a commercial contracts consultant for a multinational company and have more than fifteen years of experience as a legal counsel.

Shelly McGrath

 Nancy Mills

My name is Nancy Mills and I’ve been an Amnesty member since 2015.
I was born in Canada, arriving in Australia in December 1981. I worked at the NSW Ombudsman’s Office while studying part time for my law degree. I then worked as a prosecutor with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. After retiring from the ATO in 2014, I graduated from UNSW with a Masters of Human Rights Law and Policy in.

I am also a volunteer magistrate for the NSW Law Society’s Mock Trial program.
I’m an active member of Sutherland Shire Amnesty and was convenor in 2017 and 2018. As an ally of the LGBTQI community (my child is transgender) I am a member of the NSW LGBTQI Network. I have helped organise, created placards and banners and taken part in Fair Days, Mardi Gras parades and many marriage equality, refugee rights, women’s rights and indigenous rights rallies. I have proof-read and helped draft a number of Amnesty submissions on LGBTQI issues, and recently co-authored Amnesty’s submission on the Second Draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill.
I look forward to increasing awareness and knowledge of Amnesty’s work, promoting Amnesty’s visibility in the community and working collaboratively with other human rights groups to promote human rights for all.

Kevin Sweeney

Kevin Sweeney photo

Kevin Sweeney is currently the Convenor of the Newcastle Action Group, a member of the NSW Activism Leadership Committee and has been a long term supporter of Amnesty International. He is a firm believer in the importance of defending human rights as a means of creating a more just society. He is particularly passionate about: bringing an end to the Australian Government’s blatant disregard for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers; ending offshore and indefinite immigration detention; and ending the inappropriate and counterproductive incarceration of children in our justice system.
Kevin is a medical practitioner and has worked in senior management in health service delivery and medical education. His qualifications are MBBS, DA(UK), DipRACOG, FRACGP and FAICD. He has a sound understanding of strategic planning, policy development, corporate finances and the effective operational implementation of policies and programs.
Kevin is looking to make a broader contribution to the strategic direction of Amnesty International Australia and bring the perspective of activists to strategic and policy decisions.

Queensland/Northern New South Wales

Philip Armit

Retired primary school teacher – 30 years in Learning Support.
An active member of Queensland Teachers Union during teaching career.
Active in Mackay Conservation Group for 8 years.
Currently living in Toowoomba where I’m active in local social justice issues, with Toowoomba for Climate Action as well as with Amnesty International.

Paul Toner

In my long involvement with AIA, starting as a Uni student back in the 1990s, I been an activist, a group convener, a Branch Committee member in two regions, a branch president and Board subcommittee member and Working Party Convener. I’ve even been to NAGMs in 2 centuries. I also have a degree in Engineering and I’m currently studying for a Masters of Information Technology.
I believe my years in the many roles I have held give me a strong understanding of what our Activists and members expect from AIA.

South Australia and Northern Territory

Henry de Cure

Saras Kumar

I’m Saras (she/her) and I live on Kaurna Country – the Adelaide Plains. I first got involved in Amnesty in the UK after having cousins who were Sri Lankan refugees come to live with us and learning about human rights through Amnesty ambassadors like Sting. After joining a local letter writing group (where I was the youngest member by about 30 years) I set up a school group. I used my Amnesty experience in campaigning and fundraising when I moved to Malaysia, to support local communities and conservation. In Australia, I have learnt much from working with First Nations People about a different type of society, one that values community wellbeing and nature and recognises that our spiritual, physical, social and mental health is interlinked with that of others and with nature. Their struggles spurred me to join the Group Organiser program where I caught the “Amnesty bug” and became secretary and then Regional President for SANT.

If elected, I will use my role on the ALC and/or General Meeting Voter, to support Amnesty activists and staff to develop and implement campaigns, share and learn from other activists and grow our activist community. The changes that COVID-19 have thrust upon us bring challenges as we can’t do our usual stalls, rallies and meetings but they also bring the opportunity to trial ways to be more inclusive and reduce our carbon footprint. I look forward to continuing our work together to create a sustainable and fair world.

Tasmania

Zainab Clark

I have been the co-convener of Amnesty Southern Tas Group since 2015. Our group is strong, vibrant and active and has held many events, with our major focus on Indigenous Rights and Refugees, including bringing Julian Burnside to share the screening of his documentary ‘Border Politics’.  We have shown numerous films about Asylum Seekers and Refugees at well-attended events and hold stalls as needed, including the two-day Write for Rights stall at the annual Cygnet Folk Festival.

We network closely with Amnesty’s Indigenous Advisor, Rodney Dillon, and have screened significant films with Rodney as guest speaker.  We have met with key politicians at Local, State and Federal level, including the Premier (gaining representation at COAG).  In 2016 we successfully petitioned for the Huon Valley LGA being declared a ‘Refugee Welcome Zone’.  We network with community groups and individuals such as Asylum Seeker Advocate Anne Moon; co-hosting events.

Recently I instigated and coordinated four of the five events of the Uyghur campaign in Tas.

I come from a Welfare and Disability background.  Have attended NAGM’s as observer and voter, also AI Leadership Workshops and RAR National Conference, with Southern Group co-convener and stalwart, Sylvia Merope. 

Was invited to join the ALC last year.  As a platform to further human rights and strengthen the impact of Amnesty regionally, it would be a privilege to remain one of the team.  

Victoria

Marjon Hilhorst

Marjon (MJ) is a volunteer and active member of Amnesty International. She joined the Amnesty International Student Group Amsterdam (AISA) when studying Political Science in the Netherlands. When she moved to Australia in 2018, she started working as an office volunteer at Amnesty International Australia in both the Social Media and Events teams. She created content for and managed the Instagram page for Amnesty International Victoria (@amnesty_vic) for 1.5 years. As part of the Events team, she processed event applications, designed promotional materials, and prepared materials for the action groups. In addition, she initiated and coordinated the Victorian Write for Rights Marathon, a letter-writing event featuring expert speakers, in 2018 and 2019. While she is passionate about social justice and defending human rights in general, she is particularly interested in women’s rights, children’s rights, and LGBTIQ rights.

 Margherita Mezzasoma

Margherita Mezzasoma currently holds the position of Regional Refugee Campaign Leader for Amnesty in Victoria. She works to build community support and the spirit of welcome for refugees in her region. She engages with different Amnesty action groups and community members, such as community organizations, sporting clubs and finally councils to get the My New Neighbour campaign into the community. She has been involved with Amnesty on the field of refugee rights since 2016. Moved from Italy three years ago, she is currently completing here master’s in international Relations at Melbourne University. Her study focus revolves around international governance and law, and international human rights regimes. She also completed a course at SciencesPo university in Paris on human rights and global development.

 She has been part of the VALC for over a year now and has worked to increase the involvement of the ALC in activist engagement.

Susanna Ritchie

I am a highly engaged member and activist leader here at AIA. I am currently Chair of AIA’s Diversity, Inclusion & Wellbeing Steering Group after 4 years on the National Board. I was Victorian Branch President (2013-2015) and have been a member of the Victorian Branch Committee/Activism Leadership Committee and the Footscray/Williamstown Action Group since about 2012. I have previous experience as a General Meeting Voter (2013, 2014 and 2019).
I am unwavering in my passion for developing positive relationships and improving communications across Amnesty, and throughout the broader human rights movement. I strive for transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, innovation and continuous improvement in all that I do, including at Amnesty.
During my time as Branch President and then as a Board Member, I helped drive and design AIA’s new membership growth strategy and AIA’s recent governance reform. I was also an early member of the Board’s Activism and Membership Sub-Committee and helped establish its role within our organisation.
I’ve had over a decade of advisory experience in both private practice and government. Now, in addition to being employed as a senior leader in the public service, I run a thriving workplace relations consultancy and law firm with her husband helping to unlock people power in business as well as in the community.

Western Australia

Lucette Barbier

David Forrester-Walker

I started writing Amnesty letters when at uni in the 1970’s, but have been more consistently active for the past 5-6 years.  Member of the Mt. Lawley group since 2014, every month I organise Urgent Action letters, and have participated and assisted in organising events such as stalls, quiz nights etc. In 2019 I was elected as a General Meeting Voter, and attended the national AGM in Sydney in October 2019. In March 2020 I organised and managed the successful stall at Hyde Park community fair which through the efforts of the whole team resulted in over 500 signatures for Write for Rights, a large number of people expressing an interest in becoming involved in Amnesty and a significant PR exercise to broadcast the Amnesty message.  

My primary focus is the international situation and concern about the willingness of governments around the world to breach basic human rights to further their own self-interest, and perpetuate their oppressive regimes against the wishes and interests of the people. Areas of interest include death penalty, freedom of expression, torture, oppression of minorities.

Euan Gleeson-Brown

Hi everyone! I’m Euan Gleeson-Brown, and I’m a third-year uni student at UWA. My involvement for human rights began when I first discovered amnesty in my first year of university when I came across a friend at an Amnesty campus stall. Through my uni club, I’ve organised a Refugee Rights week event in collaboration with other uni clubs, a kite-writing event in solidarity with Hong Kong and a volunteering event for a local homeless charity, putting together women’s sanitary packs. My experience being the President & Treasurer of Amnesty UWA, volunteering with the WA branch & Mt. Lawley group and presently collaborating with youth activists in YAG & the WA schools group has grown my passion for youth activism, and I hope to share my experience, excitement & creativity in the fight for human rights as a member of the WA ALC & GMV. Cheers! 

Fathi Jaouadi, (known as Saber).

My name is Fathi Jaouadi, (known as Saber).

I am a human rights advocate and a documentary Filmmaker.

I was involved in social justice movements from when I was a school student in Tunisia, which was suffering under a draconian dictatorship and had been for many decades. At the age of 15 years I found myself taking part in street protests to support imprisoned students, distributing leaflets and organizing student groups. When I was 18 years old, the Tunisian police arrested me for participating in a campaign against the American military operation in Iraq during the First Gulf War. I was released on bail after two months spent in prison and enduring torture in the secret police cells. I decided at that time to flee the country and escaped to Libya. For seven years I moved between many African countries looking for a safe place and was eventually granted UNHCR protection in Sudan where I finished my first University degree. It was during these years that I took on a different identity and became known as Saber. Dreaming of reaching Canada I was arrested in both Senegal and Ivory Coast, and if it weren’t for the UNHCR who stopped my deportation back to Tunisia, I would have faced 9 years imprisonment and 9 years administrative detention back in my homeland; a sentence imposed on me in absentia. 

After several tries, I reached London and applied for asylum. I had to wait 4 years until I got my refugee status. During this time I started my masters degree and became involved in human rights work in the MENA region.  I was a member of the International Committee to Defend the Prisoners of Conscience in Tunisia. We organised weekly sit-ins in front of the Tunisian Embassy in London for years and I took part in a 5-day hunger strike in protest against the death of political prisoners in Tunisia. I also became involved in human rights work in the Middle East and was one of the organizers who tried to break the illegal siege of Gaza. In this work we brought together many delegations of human rights advocates, doctors, lawyers, musicians and parliamentarians to visit Gaza by sea, and brought from Gaza students and people in need of medical assistance who had no other access to Europe.

In one instance our boat was attacked by the Israeli Navy and almost sunk, but thanks to a UN boat and the Lebanese Navy we were escorted to Lebanon. In another instance I was captured at sea by the Israeli Navy and was sent to an Israeli prison for a week. 

In 2011 following the Arab Spring and after 19 years in exile I was able to return to my homeland, Tunisia. I helped establish a community TV station (Tunisia News Network) to promote democracy and human rights in Tunisia. I lead a delegation of Lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild (US), Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers (UK),and Mazlumder (Turkey), to Tunisia in 2011 to investigate US and European complicity in human rights abuses committed by the Tunisian regime. I also made a film about the Human rights abuses in Tunisia during the 2011 revolution.

Between 2014 and 2017 I was involved with the dispossessed and immigrant communities. I spent time with the exiled Kurdish Iranian community in Kurdistan struggling for autonomy in Iran; the African migrant communities in the suburbs of Paris, consistently marginalized from French society, and the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, still living in the refugee camps that they have been in since 1948. All of these stories are documented in films I made.

I moved to Australia in 2019 and I was grateful to become involved with Amnesty. I am currently an ALC member and am interested in Indigenous issues and Refugee rights.

Richa Malaviya

Richa has been involved with Amnesty International since around 2014, committing to the organisation by undertaking a variety of roles in both a volunteer and staff capacity. Her interests include Indigenous rights, diversity, human rights under domestic law, inclusivity and cultural representation which were all fostered here at Amnesty! In 2014, Richa commenced as the PA to the Indigenous Rights Manager, Tammy Solonec, assisting with the launch of the Community is Everything campaign. Shortly after, she became the WA Youth Advisory Group representative, and then the WA Branch Secretary. She moved into the staff role of Indigenous Rights Campaigner assistant and on conclusion of that role, became the Vice President of the WA Branch. Over the last year, Richa’s focus has working with partnerships that celebrate diversity and ensuring that cultural representation and diversity is reflected within Amnesty structures.

Jacob Stokes

My name is Jacob and I am a postgraduate student studying international relations and national security focusing on the impact of war and conflict on poverty, social underdevelopment and refugee migration. I am an editor for the Organisation for World Peace and a Global Vision International ambassador, an organisation providing high-impact and high-quality marine conservation and community development programs worldwide. I am also a United Nations volunteer and have travelled to Thailand to work alongside local organisations on environmental sustainability projects. I have experience working with volunteers and organising field events through my time as a field coordinator for the Australian Labor Party.
I have been an Amnesty International member since 2019 and I believe grassroots activism is a great way to advocate for non-violent solutions to conflicts around the world. It is important for Australia to play a leading role in the Asia-Pacific to ensure the human rights of people in the region are protected and defended and that countries work together to solve conflicts peacefully. 
Volunteers are the heart of Amnesty International and I have enjoyed working alongside passionate and like-minded activists on a wide-range of human rights issues and hope to continue to do so by developing and motivating local human rights activism as part of WA’s Activism Leadership Committee.

Profile Picture