Category Archives: International

Solidarity with Afrin – Take Action Now

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.

Background
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)

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http://spotturkey.co.uk/2018/01/21/solidarity-with-afrin/

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Send a message of protest to the Turkish Government using the email addresses below.
bimer@basbakanlik.gov.tr
embassy.london@mfa.gov.tr

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/

Dear MP,

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.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Your name..

Solidarity with People Facing the Emergency in Turkey

I only made it to the second half of the conference by Solidarity for the People of Turkey today, due to having attended SERTUC in the morning, but it was superb and very well attended. Highlights included:

  • Leading trade unionists from the DISK union federation and the GIDA-IS food workers’ union, talking about the extreme repression against workers’ in Turkey today, were strikes have been de facto banned and fewer than half of supposedly recognised trade union agreements as honoured as collective bargains.
  • Politicians from both the major Turkish opposition parties, talking about the government’s effective destruction of democracy since the failed coup of 2016, its passing of anti-democratic legislation by decree without recourse to parliament and its shocking attempt to resolve the Kurdish question in it’s favour by attacking the Kurdish town of Afrin over the border in Syria.
  • Solidarity from British trades unionists like Christine Blower of the NEU/NUT and Bakers’ union leader (and friend of Barnet TUC) Ian Hodson, as well as a message of solidarity from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has raised the issue of human and workers’ rights in Turkey throughout Europe and directly with the government itself.

Trades unionists’ in Britain were urged to raise the issues within their own structures and communities, and there will be a solidarity visit to Turkey on May Day.

Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) Conference – Turkey under the state of emergency

SPOT conference “Turkey under the state of emergency” on 20 January 2018 at 09:30 – 16:15.

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)

Register Here

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 

Bangaldesh Garment Workers Call for Solidairty with Rohinga refugees

Leaders of 5-garment workers federations call to the international community, including Europe, USA & Canada, to cancel trade concession to Myanmanr for unleashing genocide against Rohingya. They have praised the government for taking courageous decision to provide shelter to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The trade union leaders made the call today, October 4, 2017 from in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka city at launching ceremony of the ‘Garment workers’ emergency solidarity fund for Rohingya’. Five garment workers federations jointly organizing the fund to help Rohingya refugees, who fled to Bangladesh for safety from genocide unleashed by Myanmar army in Rakhain province of that country.

Renowned labour leader & Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan MP inaugurated the fund as Chief Guest of the program. Held with NGWF President Amirul Haque Amin in the Chair, the program was attended by JSD General Secretary Ms Shirin Akter MP & Executive Director of BILS Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed as guests.

Leaders of 5-garment workers federations—General Secretary of Garment Workers Employees Federation Quamrul Ahsan, President of National Garment Workers Employees Federation M Delwar Hossain, General Secretary of Ekota Garment Workers Federation Quamrul Hasan, President of Bangla Garment Workers Federation Mohammad Ali & General Secretary of National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF) Ms Arifa Akter.

The Labour leaders urged the members of Garment Family that is 4.2 million garment workers & factory owners to voice for solving Rohingya problem & come forward TO help the Rohingya refugees.

They called upon the buyer & brands of different countries, including Europe, USA & Canada, who sources garment products from Myanmar to refrain from importing from Myanmar if the genocide is not stopped & Rohingya problem is not solved immediately. They also called upon the consumers of Europe, USA & Canada to boycott Myanmar’s products to protest genocide against Rohingya.

The labour leaders demanded immediate repatriation of Rohingya refugees to their country & creation of ‘safe zone’ inside Rakhain state of Myanmar for their safe living as per recommendations of the ‘Kofi Anan Commission’.

150th Anniversary of the Clerkenwell Prison Explosions

On Sunday 10th December, we will be commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Clerkenwell Prison explosions that occurred on 13th December, 1867. In an attempt to explode a prison wall, it, accidentally inflicted more casualties than the Birmingham Pub bomb of 1974 and was to start a repressive period of anti – Irish racism in Britain during the Victorian times. Michael Barrett was the last person to be, publicly, hanged for his part in this Fenian conspiracy and gave his name to the English language, “Taking the Mick.”

We will meet at 3pm on Sunday at Farringdon tube station. Peter Middleton will be conducting the tour and we will visit the place where Michael Barrett was hanged. It will be concluded with a candle lit vigil in Clerkenwell Close.

For further details, please contact Austin Harney: au5tin67@yahoo.co.uk

Peace and Political Violence in Colombia

Join JFC and Alborada for a special meeting:

Peace and Political Violence in Colombia

Tuesday 21 November, 5.30-7pm
Discus Room, Unite House
128 Theobalds Road
London WC1X 8TN

In November 2016, the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed an agreement to end over half a century of armed conflict. One year on, several areas of the peace agreement have yet to be implemented, particularly on land reform, and politically-motivated violence continues to impact civil society. The State has failed to uphold measures to guarantee security stipulated in the agreement. While the FARC has given in its weapons and transformed into a legal political party, almost 30 of its members and 11 relatives have been murdered since peace was signed. In addition, over 120 social and political activists have been killed so far in 2017. With presidential elections scheduled in 2018, what does the future hold for Colombia?

Join us for a special meeting on key developments and challenges in the Colombian peace process.

Speakers:

Enrique Santiago – Legal Adviser in the Colombian Peace Process and architect of the Peace Agreement’s ground-breaking Transitional Justice Mechanism

Mariela Kohon – Director of Justice for Colombia and International Adviser to the FARC in the peace process

Mark Burton – Human Rights lawyer representing FARC prisoner Simón Trinidad, held in the US since 2004

Chair:

Mick Whelan – General Secretary, ASLEF and Chair, Justice for Colombia

Tuesday 21st November, 5.30pm – 7.00pm 
Discus Room, Unite House
128 Theobald’s Road
London WC1X 8TN 

You can register online for tickets but these are limited. More tickets will be available on the door on a first-come-first-served basis.

Visit the Facebook event page.

www.justiceforcolombia.org/

www.alborada.net/

www.unitetheunion.org/

www.marchapatriotica.org/

An Evening of Solidarity with Academics & Teachers in Turkey – 23 November 2017

Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) fundraising event on 23 November 2017 at 18:30 at the National Union of Teachers, Hamilton House, Mander Hall, WC1H 9BD.  Tickets are £20 (waged) and £10 (unwaged).
For the past two years SPOT has been working with campaigners, journalists, academics and trade unions to support the struggle for democracy in Turkey. Our work is significant for friends in Turkey facing persecution for standing up for basic rights and freedoms.
This fundraising event provides a chance for us to network and raise some funds for the families of all academics and teachers who have been under immense attack by the Turkish state. Proceeds will both support affected families and the continuing struggle for academic freedom and democracy in Turkey.
This event is wholly prepared and put together by volunteers and our friends in the trade union movement in UK. The success of this event relies on the generosity of supportive individuals and organisations. All proceeds will go to Egtim-Sen Union in Turkey.
We hope to see you all at the event.
You can purchase your ticket on Eventbrite:

SERTUC International Committee presents Bernard Regan on 100 Years of the Balfour Declaration

The next SERTUC International Sub-Committee meeting will be at 5pm on Thursday 7 December at Congress House, TUC HQ in Great Russell Street.

The guest speaker will be Bernard Regan, who will speak about his book on 100 years of the Balfour Declaration.

Anyone who would like to attend should contact Darren Lewis at dlewis@tuc.org.uk in advance to get their names on the list.

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Bernard Regan completed his PhD at St Mary’s University and Surrey University in 2016 having studied with Professor Nur Masalha and Dr Claire Norton.  His research focussed on Palestine and the British Mandate between 1917 and 1936.  He is the author of “The Balfour Declaration: Empire, Mandate and Resistance in Palestine”. (Publication November 2017. Publisher Verso).

He is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at St Mary’s University

He returned to academic study after a career teaching in Primary, Secondary and Special Education.  He has also taught in Further, Adult and Higher Education and run education courses for trade unionists on international questions especially related to Palestine and Cuba.

Whilst teaching Bernard Regan was a member of the National Union of Teachers Executive Committee for 25 years and during that time took an especial interest in Government Education policies and in the Union’s international work. His international work in the Union centred on Palestine and Cuba and the development of Education within these countries.

He has written on the impact of Neoliberalism on Education policies in the national press and numerous journals.

He has led trade union delegations to Palestine and Israel, visiting schools, meeting students, teachers and Educational administrators.  He co-authored the 2006 policy of the Trade Union Congress on Palestine.  In 2008, along with Michael Kustow (former Commissioning Editor Channel 4 and director of ICA), he developed a series of initiatives entitled Another Israel aimed at giving space to the voices of dissident Israeli intellectuals and activists.

He is one of the Co-organisers and a contributor to the annual Latin America Conference which has now been held in London for the last 12 years.  The conference is recognized as the largest of its type in Europe and brings together contributors from Latin America, intellectuals, academics, activist/campaigners, students and trades unionists.  Amongst its contributors over the last 12 years have been Noam Chomsky, Harold Pinter, Ernesto Laclau, Aleida Guevara, Tariq Ali and ambassadors from Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela.

He was the first recipient of the NUT’s Steve Sinnott Award for international work in 2015.

In 2016 he was the first foreigner to receive the Frank País medal of the SNTECD (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación, la Ciencia y el Deporte – Cuban Education Union).

 

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