For immediate release

27th September 2016

The Freedom for Ocalan Campaign is holding a fringe meeting at Labour Party Conference in Liverpool today in Room 3a Conference Centre • 12.30pm – 2pm. Refreshments provided.

The meeting, entitled Building solidarity with the Kurdish struggle for democracy, equality and freedom is co-sponsored by the GMB, UNITE and Peace in Kurdistan Campaign.
Following the adopting of a strongly supportive resolution at the TUC conference on 14th September, this meeting will present firsthand accounts of the extraordinary purge under way in Turkey, from Kurdish women politicians who are at the sharp end of these repressive measures. The solidarity campaign has benefitted from the outset from the support of our newly re-elected leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has always supported the Kurdish movement and who is a patron of the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign.

The TUC resolution issued on 14th September  noted that: Since his unsuccessful attempt to secure an absolute majority in the election of June 2015, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has embarked on a programme of wholesale repression of all progressive forces that has included the closing down of opposition newspapers, intimidation of parliamentary opponents, imprisonment and harassment of trade unionists, and the detention and imprisonment of human rights activists and all those engaged in trying to build a stable and democratic civil society.

It resolved to: call for the immediate reinstatement of all public officials who have been suspended in the wake of the failed coup, urging the Turkish government to adhere fully to ILO fundamental rights, especially regarding the protection of trade unions rights to freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

This meeting will hear from the guest speaker from Turkey HDP MP Feleknas Uca, and Michelle Allison, the UK women representative of the Kurdistan National Congress.*) Also speaking: Kate Osamor MP (invited), Richard Howitt MEP (invited) and Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director.

It is absolutely essential that the UK and wider international labour movement significantly step up their solidarity work with all progressive forces in Turkey and in particular with the Kurdish activists who are bearing the brunt of the crack down. The GMB and UNITE, together with activists in many other unions, have been actively engaged in building solidarity with the Kurdish population. Both unions are firmly of the view that the release of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan is critical if any renewed peace process can begin and have any chance of succeeding.

This meeting will be a significant step in achieving this aim of international solidarity and support.

For more information contact

Simon Dubbins:  07785265964

Estella Schmid:  07846 666804 or 020 7586 5892

*) Biographical notes

Feleknas Uca HDP MP for Diyarbakir, is a Yazidi politician active in Germany and Turkey. From 1999 to 2009, she was member of the European Parliament  from Germany, serving with Die Linke . Feleknas Uca was at one time the world’s only Yazidi parliamentarian until the Iraqi legislature was elected in 2005. In June 2015  she was elected as a Member of Parliament in Turkey representing the Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakır .

Michelle Allison, a Kurdish political activist for past 18 years. She was a co-founder of the Kurdish Education and Training Centre.  She was a member of the management committee of Kurdish Community Centre In London, the Kurdish Federation UK, which was part of KonKurd, a political umbrella group in Europe.  She is now the women representative of the Kurdish National Congress  (KNK) in UK.
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
44 Ainger Road, London NW3 3AT
Email: <file:///C:\Users\davidm\Downloads\> < <> >
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890
Fax: 020 7263 0596
Patrons: Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Kate Osamor MP, Elfyn Llwyd, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, John Austin, Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary, Simon Dubbins. UNITE International Director, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, John Berger, Edward Albee, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall, Melanie Gingell