Category Archives: Human Rights
Stop Arming Saudi – Stop Bombing Yemen
Tues 27 Nov | 19:00
Mander Hall, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD
Facebook Event »
Organised by: Stop the War Coalition »
Kim Sharif, Human Rights for Yemen
The Saudi regime is one of the most brutal and authoritarian anywhere in the world. Its ruler Mohammed Bin Salman is implicated in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey and has rounded up and tortured opponents at home. His government is also the main protagonist of the terrible war on Yemen.
The Saudi led war has already devastated Yemen and killed tens of thousands of people. Aid agencies warn that if it continues it will cause the worst humanitarian catastrophe since World War Two.
Yet the British government continues to back the regime. Earlier this year Theresa May welcomed Bin Salman to Britain, claiming he was a reformer. Really the British government stays close to Saudi Arabia because Saudi buys more arms from Britain than any other country, because it is a major oil supplier to the West and because it has long been a key ally in a region the West is desperate to control.
Ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia is now essential and urgent. It could help to avert catastrophe. Come to this important public meeting and join us in our campaign to make it happen.
Given the worldwide outrage at Donald Trump’s aggressive, chauvinistic and belligerent policies, this is a crucial demonstration. We are urging all our supporters to take half a day off work to make sure they come to the demonstration. Please promote the demo as widely as possible. We are asking our groups and supporters across the country to organise transport to the national demonstration.
Urgent call for the people of UK, politicians, trade unionists, campaign groups, democrats, intellectuals and all those who take sides with peace, freedom and justice to take immediate action to protest the bombing of Afrin.
On Saturday, 20th January, Turkish war planes launched air strikes on Afrin, one of the three Kurdish cantons in Northern Syria. A ground operation has now begun with the support of the Free Syrian Army.
The Turkish government announced that the operation, cynically dubbed “Olive Branch”, targets the Syrian Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) and ISIS. In fact it is a war being waged on the people of Afrin and sabotages hopes for future peaceful co-existence between the Turks and the Kurds not just inside Turkey but also across the Middle East.
The Syrian government also denies being informed of the military operation targeting Afrin, despite a statement by the Turkish Government that “all parties involved were informed and the operation is being carried out with respect to Syria’s territorial integrity”.
A later statement said 108 targets belonging to Kurdish militants had been hit. The YPG said the strikes were being carried out indiscriminately, and have already killed 9 people, including 6 civilians, and wounded 13 (and rising).
The Turkish government is trying to justify this operation as being for the “protection of the border and security”. In fact, this is a wholly untrue justification of Turkey’s war on the Kurdish population. The real threat to the peoples of Turkey is not its Kurdish neighbours who fought against ISIS and other jihadist gangs in northern Syria and Rojava and built democratic regimes with other peoples of the region.
It is clear that these attacks are not aimed at protecting the security of Turkey because Turkey’s border security is not endangered. Afrin has been the calmest region in the whole Syrian civil war.
Turkey has been waging a war against the Kurdish population in Turkey and has launched these attacks to destroy the Kurdish democratic formations in Northern Syria, considering them as a “bad example”.
The responsibility of the killings lies with Turkey’s ruling AKP government, its leader Erdogan, and those imperialist powers who consent to the attacks. We will not be part of it.
Turkey was placed back on the European Union Human Rights watchlist in April 2017 and has consistently breached Human Rights both within and outside its own jurisdiction. We oppose the UK government’s involvement in arms deals with Turkey and call on our Government to put a stop to these sales.
Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) calls on the people of the UK, including politicians, trade unionists, campaign groups, democrats, intellectuals and all those who take sides with peace, freedom and justice to take immediate action against these attacks.
Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT)
Send a message of protest to the Turkish Government using the email addresses below.
You can also send a letter to your local MP. If you are unsure what to write, you use the letter below. Also you can also find your MP here: https://www.writetothem.com/
On Saturday, 20th January, Turkish war planes launched air strikes on Afrin, one of the three Kurdish cantons in Northern Syria. This was followed by ground attacks on Sunday with civilian casualties already being reported. We urgently need you, as a Member of Parliament, to take some action to put an end to this bloodshed.
This act of unprovoked warfare by the Turkish state threatens to destablise one of the calmest regions throughout the whole Syrian civil war. Afrin has been a crucial safe haven for people fleeing ISIS in the region, and it must stay that way!
It is clear that the Turkish government’s claim that this war is to protect Turkey’s border and security is simply untrue, and it will have devastating consequences for not just the Kurdish people who will pay with their lives but also the people of Turkey and of the broader region.
The responsibility of the killings lie with Turkey’s ruling AKP government, its leader Erdogan, and those powers who fail to oppose these attacks and take action to influence Turkey to cease its attacks on Afrin with immediate effect.
As a resident of your constituency, I am calling on you to:
raise this issue as a priority with the UK Government,
call for an end to all UK arms sales to Turkey,
publically condemn Turkey’s aggression on the Kurdish regions, and
take any other necessary action to end the bloodshed in Afrin.
This conference is supported by the National Education Union (NEU), who will be hosting us at the NEU / NUT Headquarters, Hamilton House, Mabledon Pl, Kings Cross, London WC1H 9BD
The event will provide an update on some of the biggest issues facing democratic forces in Turkey and workshops on how we can better campaign for change.
We have a great line up of speakers on the day; including Louise Regan (NEU Co-president), Ken Loach (Filmmaker), Fatih Polat (Editor of Evrensel), Seyit Aslan (General Secretary of GIDA-IS), Owen Jones (The Guardian), Kemal Goktas (Cumhuriyet Journalist), Kate Osamor (Labour MP), David Lammy (Labour MP), Hisyar Ozsoy (HDP MP), Mehmet Tum (CHP MP), Simon Dubbins (Unite the Union), Kani Beko (President of DISK), Lindsey German (Stop the War Coalition), Esra Ozyurek (LSE), Mustafa Yalciner (Writer), Aydin Cubukcu (Author) and many more.
We very much hope you will be available to join us on 20 January 2018.
Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT)
Programme for the day.
09:30 – Registration and Refreshments
10:00 – Turkey under the state of emergency
Chair: Louise Regan, NEU Co-President
Ken Loach, Filmmaker / Seyit Aslan*, General Secretary of GIDA-IS / Fatih Polat*, Chief Editor of Evrensel Daily / Mehves Evin, Journalist / Steve Sweeney, Morning Star
11:30 – Workshops Part I
- Workshop 1. Fighting for the freedom to teach and the freedom to learn – how to show solidarity with scholars at risk?
Chair: Mehmet Ugur, BAK UK
Joanna De Groot, President of UCU / Assoc. Prof. Ceren Sozeri / Assoc. Prof. Esra Ozyurek, LSE
- Workshop 2. Declining women’s human rights and gender inequality – how to strengthen the women’s resistance?
Chair: Cinar Altun, Day-Mer
Mehves Evin, Journalist / Owen Jones, The Guardian / Ceylan Begum Yildiz, Academic / Sarya Tunc, Women’s rights activist,
- Workshop 3. Political representation and role of parliament
Chair: Oktay Sahbaz, SPOT
Kate Osamor, Labour MP (Invited) / Mustafa Yalciner*, Writer / Mehmet Tum*, CHP MP / Hisyar Ozsoy* HDP MP / Israfil Erbil, President of British Alevi Federation
12:30 – Lunch
13:30 -Workshops Part II
- Workshop 4. Attacks on workers and trade unions
Chair: Elena Crasta, TUC
Kani Beko*, President of DISK / Simon Dubbins, Unite / Seyit Aslan*, General Secretary of GIDA-IS / Ian Hodson, President of BFAWU
- Workshop 5. What next for Turkey in the Middle East and the Kurdish question?
Chair: Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition (STWC)
Aydin Cubukcu*, Author / Hisyar Ozsoy* HDP MP / Thomas J Miley, Academic / Andrew Smith, Campaign Against Arms Trade
- Workshop 6. Journalism & the role of media.
Chair: Ege Dundar, PEN
Fatih Polat*, Chief Editor of Evrensel / Barry White, Journalist / Kemal Goktas*, Journalist Cumhuriyet / Kumru Basar, Journalist / Steve Sweeney, Morning Star
14:30 – Tea/Coffee Break
14:45 – Final Session – Campaigning to win change
Chair: Christine Blower, SPOT Spokesperson
Mehmet Tum*, CHP MP / Kate Osamor, Labour MP (Invited) / Hisyar Ozsoy*, HDP MP / David Lammy, Labour MP (Invited) / Kani Beko* President of DISK / Ian Hodson, President of BAFWU / Fatih Polat*, Chief Editor of Evrensel Daily / Cagdas Canbolat, SPOT
16:15 – Event Close
*Simultaneous translation will be provided
Although I only managed to get to the second half of Saturday’s Stand Up to Racism conference due to attending SERTUC in the morning, I did manage to attend a particularly poignant session in the afternoon that was not only important in itself, but that has been demonstrated as exceptional vital by events today. It was held in the afternoon on the Grenfell Fire and social cleansing, with an extremely strong range of speakers.
Activist rapper Lowkey, himself from from Kensington, spoke eloquently on the very long history of working class residents of the area having to campaign for their rights to live there. This, in fact, goes back before it would have been considered part of London, or even particularly urbanised.
Lucy Masoud, of the Chelsea Fire Brigades Union spoke next. She described her colleagues’ experiences of facing the terrible blaze itself (easily the worst actual fire most of them had ever seen, even in long careers). She finished with the fire fighters’ resolve to demonstrate through thorough proof that whatever the proximate cause of the initial blaze, the fundamental cause has been austerity.
We heard from two young survivors, Tomassina Hessel and Bellal El Guenuni, who talked about how young people had come together in the emergency to try to save lives, something that the media has largely ignored about this very ethnically diverse, solidly working class, community. They also told us that most of the survivors of the tower are still not in permanent homes.
The last speaker was Glyn Harris, a campaigning housing worker and author on the subject. He related how racism has always affecting housing policy, with members of ethnic minorities often end up in housing that the least desirable and safe. It is also the least economically secure, as witnessed in the way the sub-prime mortgage scandal that triggered the great economic crash 10 years ago.
The speakers all had there own take, but they were all pointing to the intersection between racism and austerity and the way that the basic, and totally avoidable, failure of authorities in their duties toward the public are represented by the Grenfell tragedy. It is fitting, then, they are all proved completely right by the Conservatives being forced to day to confirm that despite promises, they have no intention of providing fire prevention systems for high-density housing that could prevent future Grenfells. Ultimately, people the Tories do not care about live in that kind of housing, and it for reasons like that they we must do everything we can to get them out of office.