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On 14 September 2013, we had the first ever Amnesty International stand at the "Weltfest" at Boxhagener Platz in Berlin-Friedrichshain. The "Weltfest" is a bi-annual event organised by SONED e.V. (Southern Network for Environment and Development e.V.) and this year, it promoted development co-operation, sustainability and fair working conditions. Not necessarily our usual topics, but Amnesty fitted in well with its aim to put an end to human rights abuses.
Our stand focused on Ebrima B. Manneh, the journalist from The Gambia who "disappeared" in Banjul in July 2006. 82 people signed our petition asking the Gambian Minister of Foreign Affairs to ensure that the Gambian Government implements the decision of the Court of Justice of ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) from 2008, which declared Ebrima B. Manneh's arrest to be illegal and demanded his immediate release from prison and a restoration of his human rights.
A second petition reminded the Minister for Public Order and Citizen Protection from Greece that asylum is a Greek word and asked him to end the illegal refoulement ("push-backs") of refugees and migrants at the Greek border and to ensure that all persons picked up at the Greek borders are treated according to international standards and get access to a fair asylum procedure. This petition was signed by 65 people.
The number of signatures may sound small compared to other stands we have organised, but we cherished being present at a relatively small, but very well organised event, where we could reach out to people we usually don't meet at our stands. And we stood in awe, once again, at our oldest group member's outstanding ability to attract people to our stand and to make them sign our petitions. Well done, team!