The Writers in Prison Committee meeting in Rotterdam in May 2019

 

 

Dear Centers,

 

Those of us who met in Rotterdam last month will long remember the spirited cultural performances by the various brave ICORN artists and writers. We had days of music, humour, theatre, and performances to remind us of the creativity within us – how it thrives in spite of enormous odds – as we got important business done, including conversations about threats to writers, ways to secure our privacy, and think of new ways for protection. Each of us who came would have their cherished moments, but for me, one high point was to meet Shahidul Alam, the Bangladeshi photographer and writer, who had been in jail for more than a hundred days last year, and for whose release we campaigned along with many others. As well, the profound lecture offering insights into being an outsider and an insider in a new culture, from Yiyun Li, the China-born American writer, who spoke movingly about her transition into America, and how she made conscious choice of writing in the language of her new land. I thank the wonderful friends and colleagues at ICORN, who made this once-every-two-years meeting so memorable, as well as our fantastic partners at the City of Rotterdam and Verhalenuis Belvedere.

 

At the Writers in Prison Committee meeting in Rotterdam, [held in May 2019,] participants had a detailed discussion about the best ways to address the challenges posed by the tabling of a large number of resolutions at the Congress. The minutes of the meeting outline the discussion in detail, and that thediscussion provides the context of what is being proposed below.

It is proposed that we will now follow the procedure as outlined below, for accepting resolutions being tabled at the Congress:

  • A Centre will follow the guidelines on drafting a resolution and seek out other centres seconding it, and send the draft to the secretariat. The Resolution should be clear, addressing current concerns, and propose an action plan either for PEN Centres or calls to governments or other appropriate entities to take specific steps to address a particular challenge.

  • The Resolution will be fact-checked, edited for clarity, merged with other similar thematic or geographic resolutions where appropriate, at the Secretariat. The secretariat will be in dialogue with the proposing centre on the best way to achieve the change/action being proposed in the resolution.

  • It is assumed that the negotiations and conversations between the Centres and the Secretariat will resolve and differences of opinion.

  • If the differences persist, the Secretariat or the Centre(s) can approach the chair of the Writers in Prison Committee to help resolve the issue.

  • If there is disagreement, then the Resolution (and accompanying background materials) will be shared with a committee of five individuals, of which three will be drawn from the writers in prison committee and two from the board. These five individuals will examine the materials and offer their view and aim to resolve the matter.

  • It is hoped that all parties will accept the decision from the panel of five.

  • As the chair of WiPC will have been involved earlier in the process, s/he will be available to offer advice, but not be part of the committee.

  • The committee is self-selected voluntarily at this stage. The three WiPC members who offered themselves at the WiPC to be part of the committee are:

    • Andréas Becker (PEN France)

    • Jane Archer (Scottish PEN)

    • Maria Emilia Arioli (PEN Swiss-Italian and Retro-Romanian)

  • They will be joined by two board members:

    • Zoe Rodriguez (PEN Sydney, Chair, Women Writers’ Committee, Board Member)

    • Iman Humaydan (PEN Lebanon)

Please find attached as well:

 

1.       Rotterdam plenary session meeting minutes (to be approved in Manila) 

2.       Rotterdam Resolution session minutes

3.       Pune 2018 Congress approved minutes

4.       Secretariat work report (see attached saved as pdf)

5.       Centre representation list updated

6.       Link on Noma’s video on Woman’s Manifesto: https://youtu.be/3WmgkEvhTLg (please feel free to share it through social media or use for your PEN events)  

 

With best wishes,

 

Salil Tripathi,

WiPC Chair PEN International Dear Centers, Those of us who met in Rotterdam last month will long remember the spirited cultural performances by the various brave ICORN artists and writers. We had days of music, humour, theatre, and performances to remind us of the creativity within us – how it thrives in spite of enormous odds – as we got important business done, including conversations about threats to writers, ways to secure our privacy, and think of new ways for protection. Each of us who came would have their cherished moments, but for me, one high point was to meet Shahidul Alam, the Bangladeshi photographer and writer, who had been in jail for more than a hundred days last year, and for whose release we campaigned along with many others. As well, the profound lecture offering insights into being an outsider and an insider in a new culture, from Yiyun Li, the China-born American writer, who spoke movingly about her transition into America, and how she made conscious choice of writing in the language of her new land. I thank the wonderful friends and colleagues at ICORN, who made this once-every-two-years meeting so memorable, as well as our fantastic partners at the City of Rotterdam and Verhalenuis Belvedere. At the Writers in Prison Committee meeting in Rotterdam, [held in May 2019,] participants had a detailed discussion about the best ways to address the challenges posed by the tabling of a large number of resolutions at the Congress. The minutes of the meeting outline the discussion in detail, and that thediscussion provides the context of what is being proposed below.It is proposed that we will now follow the procedure as outlined below, for accepting resolutions being tabled at the Congress:A Centre will follow the guidelines on drafting a resolution and seek out other centres seconding it, and send the draft to the secretariat. The Resolution should be clear, addressing current concerns, and propose an action plan either for PEN Centres or calls to governments or other appropriate entities to take specific steps to address a particular challenge.The Resolution will be fact-checked, edited for clarity, merged with other similar thematic or geographic resolutions where appropriate, at the Secretariat. The secretariat will be in dialogue with the proposing centre on the best way to achieve the change/action being proposed in the resolution.It is assumed that the negotiations and conversations between the Centres and the Secretariat will resolve and differences of opinion.If the differences persist, the Secretariat or the Centre(s) can approach the chair of the Writers in Prison Committee to help resolve the issue.If there is disagreement, then the Resolution (and accompanying background materials) will be shared with a committee of five individuals, of which three will be drawn from the writers in prison committee and two from the board. These five individuals will examine the materials and offer their view and aim to resolve the matter.It is hoped that all parties will accept the decision from the panel of five.As the chair of WiPC will have been involved earlier in the process, s/he will be available to offer advice, but not be part of the committee.The committee is self-selected voluntarily at this stage. The three WiPC members who offered themselves at the WiPC to be part of the committee are:Andréas Becker (PEN France)Jane Archer (Scottish PEN)Maria Emilia Arioli (PEN Swiss-Italian and Retro-Romanian)They will be joined by two board members:Zoe Rodriguez (PEN Sydney, Chair, Women Writers’ Committee, Board Member)Iman Humaydan (PEN Lebanon)Please find attached as well: 1. Rotterdam plenary session meeting minutes (to be approved in Manila) 2. Rotterdam Resolution session minutes3. Pune 2018 Congress approved minutes4. Secretariat work report (see attached saved as pdf)5. Centre representation list updated6. Link on Noma’s video on Woman’s Manifesto: https://youtu.be/3WmgkEvhTLg (please feel free to share it through social media or use for your PEN events)

 

With best wishes, Salil Tripathi,WiPC Chair PEN International

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