The motion below was recently passed at the STUC conference in Ayr. Kurdish activists and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign’s Trade Union Liaison Officer Stephen Smellie (UNISON) were at the event for three days, where they met with union activists including Dave Parentis, general secretary of UNISON.
STUC April 2015
104. SUPPORT ROJAVA, DEFEND KOBANE, DEFEAT ISIS
“That this Congress expresses its concern at the events in Syria, resulting in thousands of deaths resulting in thousands of deaths and that conflict and the rise of ISIS has created a humanitarian crisis in the region and that millions of refugees have been displaced and some are now surviving with the assistance of local authorities, trade unions and volunteers, often without international aid.
- the efforts in Rojava to establish an inclusive, non-sectarian and democratic self-rule, which has attracted considerable attention because of their experiment in democratic self-government, which is unique within the region;
- the role that women are playing in the administration, and defence, of Rojava;
- the role of the defence forces of Rojava, the YPG and the women’s YPJ, the Peshmerga of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq and the PKK, in defending Kobane and the battle against ISIS in Iraq; and
- That assemblies and popular militias have been formed, regime property turned over to worker co-operatives and all despite continual attacks by ISS forces.
Congress notes that these actions were widely celebrated in the region, but received almost no coverage in the Western media and draw heavily on inspiration from the democratic autonomy project that has long been avocated by the PKK.
Congress calls on the Western governments to recognise the Kurdish people’s legitimate rights within Turkey and beyond.
Congress calls on the STUC General Council to lobby the United Kingdom Government to do everything it can to help ensure that:
- the borders between Rojava, Turkey and Iraq remain open and secure, in order for the free and safe passage of medical equipment, food and other essential aid, as well as of refugees and internally displaced people;
- international aid organisations be granted a safe route into Rojava to provide humanitarian aid to the thousands of refugees from other parts of Syria, whohave fled to Rojava, seeing it as a safe haven from the chaos;
- in the immediate period, to pressurise the Turkish Government to assist in the defence of Kobane by allowing arms to be received by the defenders of the town, who are resisting the assault by ISIS forces;
- the PKK are removed from the list of terrorist organisations and encourage the Turkish Government to engage in meaningful peace negotiations; and
- Western governments recognise the Kurdish people’s legitimate rights within Turkey and beyond.
Mover: South Lanarkshire & East Kilbride TUC
Seconder: Dundee TUC