Fire up! 60 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

10th December is Human Rights Day and 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the (UDHR). Amnesty International members from London gathered at City Hall on Saturday to commemorate the anniversary with banners representing the 30 articles of the UDHR. Each London local group made a banner displaying a single article and one case that exemplified an abuse of that article. Rosie Montford made a banner for Blackheath Amnesty for article 9: “No arbitrary detention or exile” and the case of Aster Fissehatsion, imprisoned in Eritrea since 2001.

Despite the cold weather, about 200 people showed up, from 18 of the local groups and 5 of the London student groups. The evening ended with everyone holding up glow sticks to form a giant Amnesty candle beside Tower Bridge. My photos are up on flickr and there’s more on

HMS Illustrious

HMS Illustrious, originally uploaded by eat your greens.

There’s a parked up by Deptford Creek. Worth taking a look at if you’re down near the Cutty Sark. She’s in London for Remembrance Day and will sail out again next Wednesday, 12th November. The BBC have video of her coming through the Woolwich flood barrier.

Update: Simon Starr took a lovely photo of fireworks over the carrier last night.

First steps with WAI-ARIA

On the line, originally uploaded by eat your greens.

The National Maritime Museum launched a podcast this summer. It’s called On the line and publishes monthly talks relating to the museum, the Royal Observatory and the Queen’s House. Transcripts for each talk are provided by Casting Words – see Bruce Lawson’s blog for discussion of how great they are. I did the front-end development for the site, building it as a blog using Movable Type Open Source with the podcasting plugin. I also used WAI-ARIA in my markup for the first time. If you aren’t familiar with ARIA, I’d recommend taking a moment to follow the previous link and read Gez Lemon’s excellent introduction to the subject. ARIA is currently in ‘Working Draft’ status, but Bruce Lawson points out that it’s already supported in browsers and the W3C are encouraging authors to use it.

Continue reading First steps with WAI-ARIA

Ten year sentence for human rights journalist

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN is shocked to learn of the ten year prison sentence served against the independent journalist and human rights defender Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov, on 10 October 2008. Aburakhmanov was arrested in early June 2008 on charges of possessing illegal drugs, charges widely considered to have been fabricated in retaliation for his human rights reporting. The WiPC considers his conviction to be a serious breach of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Uzbekistan is a signatory, and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.
Source: International PEN

Amnesty International has background information about Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov’s case. Blackheath & Greenwich Amnesty will have our monthly letter-writing evening at Greenwich Picturehouse next Tuesday. We’ll have letters, which you can sign, calling for Mr Abdurakhmanov’s release.

Update: I’ve drafted a letter calling for Salidzhon Abdurakhmanov’s release. There’s a copy to the Deputy Prosecutor General and another to the Minister of Internal Affairs. Feel free to download these and mail them on your own behalf. Alternatively, you can e-mail the Deputy Prosecutor General at and the Ministry of Internal Affairs at

Sea monsters in the Thames

People waiting for the monsters to appear.

Australian video artist Craig Walsh has an installation, Classification Pending, running alongside London Bridge until Sunday, 19th October. It is brilliant – go and check it out if you have a chance. It starts running around about sunset at the north-west end of the bridge, and twilight is probably the best time to see it. Two dinosaurs swim around in the water, occasionally popping their heads up to look around. The BBC has a video of the installation.

Amnesty book sale, 15 Nov 2008

7th annual Blackheath & Greenwich Amnesty clearance book sale
Saturday 15th November 2008
10am until 4pm
Church of the Ascension
Dartmouth Row
Blackheath SE10 8BF

20,000 new and used books at bargain prices. In June we raised a record-breaking £11,500 for Amnesty International UK but we still have thousands of books left to sell. We hope to raise a further £3,000 by selling the unsold books in November.

If you would like to help with preparing for the sale, or are interested in collecting unsold books at the end of the day, please leave a comment using the form below.

You can also find us on Upcoming and facebook. Flyers can be downloaded from flickr.