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Our History

Amnesty International Oakville, also known as Group 75, was formed in 1981 by Sandra DesCotes Onufryk, Wendy Belcher, and Dave Kinmond.

Prisoners of Conscience

We have had 17 Prisoners of Conscience assigned to us, of whom 12 have been released.

Our released Prisoners of Conscience were from the following countries: Pakistan, Poland, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Korea, East Germany, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, and Burma (Myanmar).

Campaigns

We have participated in national and international campaigns relating to torture, the death penalty, refugees, political killings, and the disappeared, as well as country campaigns for China, Sudan, and Namibia.

Each December 10th, we honour Human Rights Day by having students and the public participate in Amnesty's Campaign of Hope. We sign cards which are sent to Prisoners of Conscience and human rights defenders in various countries around the world.

Some of our memorable activities include

  • handing out postcards at the screening of the movie Missing in 1982
  • selling security whistles for the Blow the Whistle on Violence Campaign in 1995
  • flying Kites for Rights in Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1996
  • sending birthday cards to the missing Panchem Lama in 1998
  • attending a Farmers' Market in support of the China campaign prior to the 2010 Summer Olympics

Fundraising

Our first fundraiser was a gigantic yard sale in the parking lot of St. John's United Church in 1981. Since then, we've hosted fundraising events such as our Fall Super Sale, Arts for Rights Auctions, Taste for Justice at Paradiso, and a Fiddlestix Concert. We have also partnered with Chapters and with Southside Cottage Grill. Group 75 initiated the first Amnesty raffle of Robert Bateman prints in 1984; the raffle proved so successful that we suggested the national office take over this fundraiser.

We hosted annual Night of 1000 Dinners events from 2002 through 2008 in support of the Canadian Landmine Foundation, raising nearly $5000 to help clear landmines from war-torn countries.

Outreach

Our outreach to Oakville has included selling roses at the Town Centre, celebrating our 20th anniversary with a cake at City Hall, and hosting a poster display from the Artistsí Network. We have spoken at schools, churches, and conferences. We have hosted speakers such as Dr. Venturelli, a torture victim from Chile; Roger Clark, the past secretary general of AI Canada; and Alex Neve, the current secretary general of AI Canada.

Oakville Group 75 continues to play an active role in the on-going fight for human rights.