Female Human Rights Campaigners

We display a blue plaque in Castlegate

In March 2019, we honoured one female human rights campaigner who faces persecution in her home country and heard from another.

Azza Soliman from Egypt

To mark International Women's Day, we displayed a blue plaque outside flats in Castlegate in central York where Egyptian lawyer Azza Soliman lived when she spent six months at the University of York's Centre for Applied Human Rights from 2015 to 2016.

A close-up of the blue plaque that we displayed in Castlegate

On returning from York to Egypt, Azza continued to speak out, particularly on issues of rape and domestic abuse, as co-founder of the Centre for Egyptian Women's Legal Assistance. Since then, she has been arrested and faces charges such as slandering Egypt's image. She is banned from travelling overseas, her bank account is frozen and she risks a long prison sentence. We call for the Egyptian authorities to drop all charges against Azza and her colleagues and to allow them to travel and access their bank account.

Biscuits in the shape of the ankh

We also baked biscuits in the shape of the ankh, which is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that represents life. We then served the biscuits at a series of coffee mornings, where people also wrote letters and cards to the Egyptian authorities and messages of support to Azza.

Staff at the University of York's Centre for Applied Human Rights show their support for Azza Soliman and enjoy our biscuits at a coffee morning

The York human rights embroidery group show their support for Azza Soliman and enjoy our biscuits at a coffee morning

A book group that Azza Soliman attended while she was in York show their support for her and enjoy our biscuits at a coffee morning

Han Hui Hui from Singapore

Leong Sze Hian (left) and Han Hui Hui (right, wearing matching tee-shirts) at our monthly meeting in March

At our monthly meeting on 12 March, two human rights campaigners from Singapore spoke. Han Hui Hui is the author of a new book entitled Yearning for Justice: A Mother's Musings to her Future Child. She told us how her criticising the Singaporean government led to her being interrogated by the Singapore police, charged, fined and imprisoned.

Leong Sze Hian also spoke about his campaigning for respect for the human right to freedom of expression, including the right to criticise the government.

Our Monthly Meeting in April

Linda Fielding from Wakefield Refugee Reception Centre is the guest speaker at our monthly meeting this month at the usual venue - the Friends Meeting House, Friargate, York YO1 9RL.

The meeting takes place on Tuesday 9 April, starts at 7 p.m. with Linda's talk followed by questions and answers and then continues (from 8 p.m.) with our group's regular business. Everyone is welcome to attend and, if they like, to leave after Linda's talk.