National Board report: February

The National Board held its first meeting for 2017 on 25 and 26 February. This meeting covered national and international issues, and the Board took some key decisions in order to meet our 2020 Vision.

National Director Claire Mallinson provided the board with a review of our work in 2016. Some of the key highlights from the year included:

  • Significant wins from our Community is Everything campaign, including the QLD Government passing a Bill to remove 17-year-old children from adult prisons.
  • 10 000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees resettled
  • 650 individuals at risk were protected by Amnesty activists around the world
  • Key legislative changes across the world, including a commitment from the government of Burkina Faso to raise the legal age of marriage for girls to 18 years and to ensure that forced marriage is clearly defined in Burkina Faso’s criminal code.
A woman plays with her child outside a shelter in Burkina Faso, which has the 7th highest rate of child marriage in the world.
A woman with her child outside a shelter in Burkina Faso, which has the 7th highest rate of child marriage in the world. © Sophie Garcia/Amnesty International

The annual review will be covered in more detail at the upcoming Branch Annual General Meetings, which will be held on 20 May. Keep a look out for the notice of meetings which will come out to members in the last week of April.

For a number of months the National Board has being considering the best models of governance that will allow AIA to meet the goals of our 2020 Vision. In order to protect and defend more lives; be an unstoppable movement and inspire outstanding passion and commitment, the Board felt that it was time to take a look at our Board composition and other governance structures, and examine if they are fit for purpose for our future.

As part of this process, the Board engaged the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) to investigate our current governance arrangements, and deliver a report. AICD delivered its draft report to our February Board meeting. The report has posed some interesting questions for us to consider around how best to structure and facilitate governance across AIA. A working group was established by the Board and will communicate further about how this project will move forward over the next few months. If you would like more detail at this time please contact the National Secretary, Ian Gibson, at

The Board took the decision to join the Diversity Council of Australia. This is an exciting step as membership will provide us with tools and support to improve our approach to diversity. The Board also approved our new Reconciliation Action Plan, which was then sent to Reconciliation Australia for their review.

We were privileged to be joined by friends and family of AIA supporters who have passed away, and to hear stories of their passion for human rights.

NSW LGBTQI Network at the 2017 Mardi Gras Parade. © Cosmo Price
The NSW LGBTQI Network © Cosmo Price

Members of the NSW LGBTQI network presented to the board on the important work they are doing; local campaigns here in Australia, supporting urgent actions, running events, MP engagement and much more. Network members emphasised the importance of consultation and involvement of LGBTQI people in the work of AIA.

We also welcomed our new Head of External Affairs, Dermot Ryan. It’s great to have Dermot join our Senior Leadership Team.

The Chairs and Directors’ Forum will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 30 April – 2 March, where all sections will come together to discuss our progress toward our international strategic goals. We will also consider the International Board’s proposal to reform our international governance, and other resolutions being put to the August International Council Meeting. AIA will be running a national engagement process on these resolutions which will be advertised via the Leader. If you would like more detail at this time please contact the National Board member and chair of the International Issues Committee, James Milsom at

The Board of AIA is committed to an international governance model which is efficient, transparent, diverse, and enables us to be a strong voice for human rights across the world. We are looking forward to engaging with our colleagues around the world to find the right model for Amnesty internationally.

We are excited to have started our journey toward reaching our 2020 vision and we are looking forward to our next steps!

Gabe Kavanagh