Kate Osbourne, Unite delegate today (Monday 25 September) addressed congress in relation to the international section of the National Policy Forum report.
She said, “While Unite clearly welcomes the document and the various positions taken and commitments made in terms of international policy, I just wanted to draw attention to two factors in particular that really warrant more attention going forwards.”
“Firstly in relation to Palestine it is essential that when we gain power – which I am convinced will be in the near future – we really redouble our efforts to end the horrific occupation and discrimination that has been systematically dished out on the Palestinian people,” she added.
This year is an historic year indeed. It is 100 years since the Balfour declaration was made in which the partition of Palestine and the formation of Israel became a guiding principle, and it is 50 years since Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
With our historic responsibility for much of what occurred it is essential that the UK finally act firmly to rectify the injustices that have been done and support the human rights of the Palestinian people.
“If the international community does not act soon to stop the new settlements being built, and if it does not act soon to stop the human rights abuses of Israel, then then the viability of an independent Palestinian state will be lost forever,” said Osbourne.
“So I hope and urge the party to make clear commitments that it recognises the historic responsibility of the UK and that when in power it will be prepared to take firm steps to right the wrongs that are being committed and to insists that Israel abide by international law,” she added.
Osbourne went on to raise her second point.
“Secondly, we would like to see more explicit condemnation of what the Turkish government of President Erdogan is doing in Turkey and more clear and open support for the Kurdish population,” she said.
Unite and many other unions have been trying to do their best to support all democratic and progressive forces in the area, and know that support for the Kurds is essential for any positive future developments in Turkey and the wider region.
“As part of that we believe it is absolutely essential that we as a party recognise and publically support the freeing of the Kurdish political leader Abdullah Ocalan,” said Osbourne.
Ocalan has been locked up for nearly 20 years now in the most inhumane and degrading conditions and has been unable to play his proper role in bringing about the peace that is so desperately needed.
Yet it is his ideas that are the inspiration behind the incredible changes that are taking place in Northern Syria and that inspire much of the progressive and democratic forces in Turkey.
“So let’s do what we have proved we do best, be bold and offer hope in to the British people and be bold and offer hope to downtrodden people around the globe,” said Osbourne.
“But more important than just doing it in opposition – let’s do it in government and make a real difference. Thank you,” she added.
See Kate’s speech here: