Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Stop this war!

An international peace conference has just been meeting in London. I just picked this up from it.


Stop the War Coalition

Saturday 10 December 2005

The Conference was a great success, a significant step forward for the worldwide anti-war movement.

Sheik Hassan Al Zagani of the Al Sadr movement was refused a visa to enter the UK and faces further attacks - read the statement

Well over 1000 people packed packed into the Royal
Horticultural Society Hall, London on Saturday for the peace conference. More were in an overflow hall and still more were turned away in the days before the conference began.

They came from the US; a sizeable delegation of activists from the east and west coasts and points between. From Iraq, Iran, as well as from Pakistan, India, the Philippines, Canada, Poland, Greece, Italy, Spain and many other European countries, to share experience and plan activity and organisation for the future.

Delegates and individuals came from across Britain; including national delegations from PCS, Amicus, CWU, TSSA and NATFHE. It was one of the biggest conferences of its kind and definitely the most diverse, with many different nationalities represented, young and old, students, school students, peace activists, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and Christians.

They came to hear the Iraqi delegates - although the British government refused to allow entry to the al Sadr representative, Hassan al Zargani. We were joined by Sheikh al Khallisi from the Iraqi Foundation Congress, Hanna Ibrahim from the Women's Will Organisation, and Hassan Jumaa from the Iraqi Oil workers' Union, and to hear from US visitors, including Cindy Sheehan, Judith le Blanc from United for Peace and Justice and Phyllis Bennis.

The session on military families was a major highlight as we heard from former soldiers and relatives of the dead some of the most moving personal stories and political analysis of why they opposed the war and occupation.

Other sessions were on bringing Bush and Blair to account and building an international movement. All stressed the importance of immediate troop withdrawal, the need to guard against other forms of military or economic intervention, the connection between the war and attacks on our liberties and, of course, our opposition to torture.

The conference heard from Anas al Tikriti, who has been in Iraq trying to obtain the release of kidnapped peace activist, Norman Kember, and issued a statement calling for his release. We also issued a statement for more international coordination, an international weekend of action on March 18/19 2006 and for continued campaigning around other issues.


STATEMENT FROM THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

This international conference, embracing representatives of the Iraqi, British and American and many other peoples, drawn from all parts of society, declares that the crisis caused by the invasion and occupation of Iraq is the central problem in world politics today and demands urgent resolution.

It affirms that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was unlawful, in breach of the Charter of the United Nations and justified by the invading powers with lies designed to manipulate public opinion.

It declares that the occupation of Iraq by US and British military forces has brought misery and suffering to the people of Iraq. The occupation represents the denial of their national rights, impedes social, economic and political development and threatens the wider peace in the Middle East and the world. It has accounted for the loss of tens of thousands of lives of the Iraqi peoples, as well as more than 2,000 soldiers from the occupying armies.

This conference therefore demands an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq, as called for by the majority of the Iraqi, British and American peoples. It demands the withdrawal of the occupying military forces and the return of full sovereignty to the Iraqi people, who should be allowed to determine their own future free of external interference.

We salute the struggle of the Iraqi people for national freedom and the worldwide movement against the war and the occupation. We pledge to step up our campaign against the occupation until it is ended. To this end, we call on the anti-war movement in all countries to:

  • Organise international demonstrations on March 18-19 2006, the third anniversary of the war and invasion, calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops and an end to the occupation.
  • Campaign for a full international public inquiry into the assault on Fallujah last year.
  • Give full support to the campaigns of military families in the US, Britain and the other occupying countries.
  • Develop an international coordination from this conference to plan further events.
  • Campaign against the privatisation of Iraqi oil.
  • Oppose any attack on Iran or Syria.

STATEMENT (2) FROM THE INTERNATIONAL PEACE CONFERENCE

This international Peace Conference of 1,400 anti-war activists from Britain, the USA and many other countries demands the release of all illegally detained prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

We urge the release of the four Chritian peace campaigners, Norman Kember, Tom Fox, James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden, and we ask those holding them to return them to their families unharmed.

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