Amnesty USA Group 30 is a community-based collection of volunteers who meet, write letters, and organize events to advance the principles of human rights promoted by Amnesty International that meets once a month via Zoom.
Amnesty International is an independent worldwide movement working impartially for the release of all prisoners of conscience, fair and prompt trials for political prisoners, and an end to torture and executions. It is funded by donations from its members and supporters throughout the world.
Amnesty USA Group 30 tables at local street fairs, visits death row at San Quentin, conducts write-a-thons, and holds regular events and film screenings. We are currently working on the following issues and campaigns:
- Death Penalty and Criminal Justice Reform
- Solitary Confinement and Torture
- Ending Gun Violence
- Southeast Asia Regional Actions
- Defending Ethnic Minorities in China
- Protecting Human Rights Defenders Worldwide
- Welcoming Refugees and Asylum Seekers
- Security With Human Rights
Listen to an interview with Larry Bensky of KPFA talking to group member James Cummings at the 2015 KPFA crafts fair.
Amnesty USA Group 30 has been around since the mid 1970s-no one is quite sure just when it was founded, since none of the founding members is still with the group. A core of members have been around since the early 1980s, though, and the collective memory of the group is long and strong.
Group 30’s portfolio of work over a twenty five year span is impressive. It includes a large number of prisoner files and work on nearly all of Amnesty’s major country and regional campaigns. We met the family of a Moroccan political prisoner whose case we worked on for seven years. He telephoned us after his release. We’ve sent financial support to a Chilean POC who escaped to Mexico City during the repressive years of the Pinochet regime. In 1987 a couple from the then-Soviet Union whose cases we had worked on for four years attended a Group 30 meeting-they were among the first to be released from the Soviet Gulag by Gorbachev and they emigrated to the U.S. Group 30 has also written on behalf of a Greek conscientious objector, a Laotian ‘education camp’ prisoner, a Shi’a moslem cleric in Iraq, and a Burmese medical student arrested for distributing pro-democracy leaflets. We have worked on the case of a Nigerian General imprisoned for advocating a return to democracy.
We have worked for 20 years against the widespread use of torture in Turkey, especially against ethnic Kurds in the southeast of that country. We have worked on the cases of Tibetan Prisoners of Conscience, Ngawang Choezom, Phuntsog Nyidron, and Ngawang Phulchung, who were all released from Drapchi Prison in Lhasa, as well as the Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen who moved to the Bay Area following his release from China.