Invitation: Join Lisa Nandy and BAFTA award winning journalist Waad Al-Kateab for the launch of a new paper on an ethical foreign policy

Invitation: LCID and Open Labour Pamphlet Launch ‘A progressive foreign policy for new times’

LCID is pleased to be supporting Open Labour to launch a new pamphlet written by Dr Harry Pitts and Professor Paul Thompson which argues that Labour should put forward a new foreign policy inspired by two great figures of our movement – Robin Cook and Jo Cox. 

Joining us for the launch will be Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy, and Oscar nominated and Emmy and BAFTA award winning journalist Waad Al-Kateab. Waad made the incredible documentary For Sama, is a board member of the Syrian British Council and made the BBC list of 100 women and Time magazine ‘s 100 Most Influential People in 2020.

It will be place next Thursday 10th December at 7pmPlease register here to get the Zoom link

As you know, LCID campaigns in support of the Responsibility to Protect, one of our two main campaigns alongside defending aid and development. We are pleased to see this paper back the approach to civilian protection that Jo Cox advocated forwhich forms the basis of our advocacy.

The full speaking link up is below:

  • Lisa Nandy MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary
  • Waad Al-Kateab, Director of For Sama and board member of the Syrian British Council
  • Prof Paul Thompson, and Dr Harry Pitts, report authors
  • Prof Mary Kaldor, Director of the Conflict and Civil Society Research Unit, LSE, and foreword author
  • Alex Sobel MP, Open Labour Co-Founder, and foreword author
  • and me!

Hope you can make it. And a reminder again that we are always keen to come and speak at your CLP on these issues. Our network of speakers includes activists from the Syrian British Council, Kosovo, Rwanda, Bosnia, Afghanistan and the World Uyghur Congress – please fill in the form here and we will be in touch to arrange for a speaker to speak at one of your meetings.

LCID Statement on Tory Aid Cuts

This is another truly shameful day for this government. This is money that should be spent immunising children to stop them dying of preventable causes, educating them so they can have a decent future and escape poverty, or stopping women from dying in childbirth.

Between now and the next budget, it’s a cut that could have immunised enough kids to save 100,000 lives, and 350,000 lives between 2021-22.

Is this what we have become as a country? Walking away from our responsibilities to the world? Breaking our promises? Pulling up the drawbridge?

Yes there are challenges at home, which is why we have always opposed austerity. Yes, the deficit needs to be paid down but we can do so gradually thanks to extremely low interest rates. In any case, this cut represents around 2% of the deficit – it will hardly make a dent whilst causing tremendous harm. This is a needless cut which will cause needless suffering.

If this cut requires a change to the 0.7% aid law, we urge all MPs to vote against it.

Setting the path to reaching 0.7%, and securing the votes that enshrined that target in law, is one of Labour’s greatest achievements. Only with a Labour government again can we ensure Britain becomes a force for good again in the world.

Write to your MP to oppose scrapping the International Development Select Committee

We’ve just heard that the vote on whether to keep or scrap the International Development Select Committee – the cross-party Parliamentary watchdog that scrutinises how the government spends our aid – will take place this or next week.

We need to keep that aid watchdog in order to hold the Tories to account for UK aid. Without the accountability and transparency that the watchdog helps ensure, there is a huge risk the Tories will divert money towards dodgy deals to secure favourable trade terms or arms deals – instead of keeping our aid focused on fighting poverty as it should be.

As this will be a ‘free vote’ we have a strong chance of winning this vote – but only if enough MPs of all parties vote for it!

It is important to ensure your MP knows the vote is happening, and why it’s vital they attend to vote in favour of it. 

That’s where you come in. We need you to write to your MP to urge them to vote in favour of keeping the aid watchdog.

Copy and paste the template letter below, and go to this link to send your letter.

Thank you!


Dear MP,

I am writing to you as a constituent to express my deep concern that the International Development Select Committee (IDC) is a risk of being lost, and to urge you to vote in favour of keeping the aid watchdog

The International Development Committee is integral to holding the government to account on development, and ensuring that UK aid is spent on poverty reduction. 

Since the merger of the Department for International Development with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the future of the International Development Committee — which is responsible for scrutiny of UK aid and Official Development Assistance expenditure, including by the FCDO — has been at risk of being abolished.

There will be a ‘free vote’ on keeping the IDC within the new few weeks. I appreciate you will be busier than ever trying to ensure that your constituents are kept safe and supported during this COVID lockdown. However I would be extremely grateful if you could find the time to vote in favour of keeping the committee when the vote takes place.

Yours sincerely,

Solidarity against Antisemitism

Solidarity, today and always, with our fellow Socialist Society the Jewish Labour Movement and our Jewish brothers and sisters who have experienced antisemitism in the past few years.

Antisemitism is a disease that must be rooted out of our Party.

With the launch of today’s report we pledge to stand with you to fight for the culture change our movement so desperately needs.

We encourage our supporters to show solidarity too by joining the Jewish Labour movement as an ally.

Request one of our speakers for your CLP!

The Labour Campaign for International Development is keen to speak at your local CLP meeting about international development and humanitarian issues.

LCID is a socialist society affiliated to the Labour Party, and affiliated to a number of CLPs around the UK as well. Our two main campaigns are:
1. Defending the UK’s aid – to retain the 0.7% aid target and an independent DFID
2. The Responsibility to Protect – support Jo Cox’s call for Britain to take a comprehensive approach to protecting civilians caught up in conflict.

We have a brilliant range of speakers able to come and give a short talk and have a discussion with you. Speakers involved include aid and international development experts, including on universal healthcare, and refugees and survivors from countries including Rwanda, Syria, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and the World Uyghur Congress, with speakers from Yemen soon to join.

Please fill in the form here and we will be in touch to arrange for a speaker to speak at one of your meetings.

Watch: Labour and Humanitarianism in today’s world

A huge thank you to everyone who joined our panel on Thursday night on humanitarianism for what was a really inspiring and thought provoking discussion.

If you weren’t able to join us, you can watch back the discussion on YouTube by clicking above. 

Reminder: In conversation with Preet Gill MP, Shadow Secretary of State for DFID

Our second event to mark the launch of our new speakers network is our discussion on international development with Preet Gill MP, Shadow Secretary of State for DFID.

The talk will take place this Tuesday 15th September, 6-7pm, online, and be chaired by Libby Smith, LCID Exec member and Coalition for Global Prosperity COO.

Please RSVP to our talk with Preet Gill by clicking here.

LCID CLP Speakers Network

These two events mark the launch of LCID’s new speakers network to raise awareness of international development and humanitarianism amongst Labour members. Over 20 speakers have now signed up and are keen to come join your local CLP meeting to talk about these issues. You can request a speaker for your local Labour Party here.

Invitation: LCID at Conference / Labour Connected: What should a Labour vision for trade justice and private-sector international development look like?

We are pleased to invite you to another event, this time at Labour conference, or Labour Connected as it’s called this year. With Britain leaving the EU and DFID being taken over by the Foreign Office, this panel will explore what a fair and justice trade policy should look like for the UK, and how private-sector development can be done in a way that benefits those living in the worst poverty and help reduce inequality.

Speakers include, Shadow Minister of International Trade and LCID VP Gareth Thomas MP, Alice Lucas from the Fairtrade Foundation; and Ruth Bergan of the Trade Justice Movement, and will be chaired by LCID’s Chair Heather Staff. It will take place on Monday 21st September from 5-6pm, online. Link to follow, but in the meantime you can register for Labour Connected here.

Sharing links and resources to the issues discussed by Thursday’s panel

As discussed on Thursday night we are sharing a few links and resources for anyone interested in finding out more.

R2P
To find out more information about our campaign on the Responsibility to Protect civilians and read Jo Cox’s Cost of Doing Nothing report, click here.

To watch the event again on YouTube, please click here.

Syria British Council
Find out more about the work of Ibrahim’s Syria British Council at: sbcouncil.org.uk.

World Uyghur Congress
Rahima’s fundraising page is here: uk.gofundme.com/f/stop-uyghur-genocide

Guardian article on the forced sterilisation taking place in the camps:
theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/04/muslim-minority-teacher-50-tells-of-forced-sterilisation-in-xinjiang-china

Testimony of Sayragul Sauytbay:
businessinsider.com/muslim-woman-describes-horrors-of-chinese-concentration-camp-2019-10?r=US&IR=T

Shabana Mahmood MP article on what we should all do:
indexoncensorship.org/2020/09/british-mp-we-should-forge-a-path-for-uighur-freedom-heres-how/?fbclid=IwAR0ik5dg3fAP91kwomJ4vEfanI5fJYGlGzGoFXCXGy8jGAfxhugLM1eOv2A

Remembering Srebrenica
Find our more about the work of Elmina’s Remembering Srebrenica here: srebrenica.org.uk

Remembering Srebrenica is also launching a podcast next month that details the events of the Srebrenica genocide through the voices of survivors, experts and academics. Subscribe to it here: messageheard.com/podcasts/untold-killing-remembering-srebrenica

Ishami Foundation
Find out more about the work of Eric’s Ishami Foundation raising awareness of the lessons of the Rwandan genocide through sport and storytelling here: ishamifoundation.org

The day that changed me forever, by Ameenah Sawwan

This message was sent out by the Syria Campaign and is reproduced here to share Ameenah’s story and raise awareness on the seventh anniversary of the chemical weapons attack on Ghouta. LCID campaigns for the protection of civilians in Syria and donates to the White Helmets – you can do so too here.

My name is Ameenah Sawwan and I’m a campaigner from Syria. Seven years ago I lived through a day that has changed me forever.

In the early morning hours of August 21, 2013 bombs filled with chemical weapons were dropped just 20 kilometres from my house. Then as panic filled our town of Muadamiyat al-Sham, it too was attacked with chemical weapons.

I ran to the field hospital where I volunteered as a nurse. I saw people lined up in the street in front of the hospital. They were suffocating. Many looked like they were close to death.

I went inside and started to wash people and take off some of their clothes. I was instructed to put towels soaked with vinegar and lemon under their noses. We did not know what we were doing and whether it was helping at all. All we knew was that something terrible had happened and we were alone, left to deal with hundreds of dying people unable to do anything for them.

I tried to save the life of a 10-month-old baby. I tried to wash him and give him CPR but  nothing worked. I wished I would soon wake up from a nightmare but the baby died along with his parents.

That day a total of 1,127 people were killed. People went to sleep the night before and never woke up. My family and I survived, but death continued to rain from the sky. Eight days later my brother, his wife, and their son Ahmad were killed by a mortar shell.

That attack was not the first and it was not the last. The Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against its own people as part of more than 200 documented incidents. The red line that many world leaders talked of has been crossed with impunity.

Seven years on I still cannot understand how the attack was allowed to happen, why there were no consequences and why justice is still to be done.

Those of us who survived live with memories that haunt us daily but also compel us to keep on campaigning. We will not give up. We will tell our stories, preserve our collective memory, and demand justice.

That’s why today many of us will be taking to the streets in cities and towns giving out pins and yellow roses and explaining to people around the world what happened in 2013. We want to shed a light on the use of chemical weapons in Syria and renew the fight to hold to account a regime that suffocates children to death as they sleep.

Please add your message of solidarity today using the hashtag #DoNotSuffocateTruth on Facebook and Twitterand by following and sharing updates from the Ghouta campaign.

With hope,

Ameenah

Join LCID in conversation with Preet Gill MP, Shadow DFID Secretary of State

Invitation: In conversation with Preet Gill MP, Shadow Secretary of State for DFID

We are delighted to invite you for a discussion on international development with Preet Gill MP, Shadow Secretary of State for DFID, as we launch our new awareness raising campaign with Labour members.

The talk will take place on Tuesday 15th September, 6-7pm, online, and be chaired by Libby Smith, LCID Exec member and Coalition for Global Prosperity COO.

Hosted by us and our friends at the Coalition for Global Prosperity, this conversation with Preet Gill will explore how best we should tackle the global challenges of our time, what the role of UK aid should be, Labour’s vision for international development and how to create a safer, healthier and better off world for us all. You will also be provided with the opportunity to ask the Preet your own questions.

Please RSVP to our talk with Preet Gill by clicking here.


Invitation: Panel Discussion on Labour and Humanitarianism 

A reminder that before then we have another talk, a special panel discussion on humanitarianism in today’s world, which will take place on Thursday 10th September from 6pm-7.30pm online. Speakers include Stephen Doughty MP, Shadow FCO & DFID Minister and LCID VP and speakers from Syria, Bosnia and Rwanda and Robin Cook’s former advisor David Clark.

I’m also pleased to announce that we are in touch with the World Uyghur Congress to secure a Uyghur activist to speak on the panel as well.

Please RSVP to our talk on humanitarianism by clicking here.


LCID CLP Speakers Network

These two events mark the launch of LCID’s new speakers network to raise awareness of international development and humanitarianism amongst Labour members. Over 20 speakers have now signed up and are keen to come join your local CLP meeting to talk about these issues. You can request a speaker for your local Labour Party here.

To find out more information about our campaign on the Responsibility to Protect civilians click here.

Look forward to seeing you at both!

Invitation – Join LCID’s talk on humanitarianism with Stephen Doughty MP, speakers from Syria, Rwanda & Bosnia, and Robin Cook’s advisor David Clark 🌐

LCID is delighted to invite you to a special panel discussion on humanitarianism in today’s world as we launch our new awareness raising campaign with Labour members.

The event will take place on Thursday 10th September from 6pm-7.30pm on Zoom.

Our brilliant panel includes:

  • Stephen Doughty MP, Shadow FCO & DFID Minister and LCID VP
  • Elmina Kulasic, Bosnia Director, Remembering Srebrenica
  • Ibrahim Olabi, Syrian British Council Board Member, Barrister at Guernica37 and Director of the Syrian Legal Development Programme
  • Eric Murangwa Eugene MBE, Founder & CEO of the Ishami Foundation and former international goalkeeper for Rwanda
  • David Clark, former Foreign Officer advisor to Robin Cook MP

Please RSVP here and the Zoom link will be sent to you shortly.

We’ll also be organising another panel on UK aid in the coming weeks, so watch this space. These two events will mark the launch of LCID’s new speakers network to raise awareness of international development and humanitarianism amongst Labour members. Over 20 speakers have now signed up and are keen to come join your local CLP meeting to talk about these issue. You can request a speaker for your local Labour Party here.

LCID is a socialist society affiliated to the Labour Party, and affiliated to a number of CLPs around the UK as well. Our two main campaigns are:

  1. Defending the UK’s aid – to retain the 0.7% aid target and an independent DFID
  2. The Responsibility to Protect – support Jo Cox’s call for Britain to take a comprehensive approach to protecting civilians caught up in conflict.

Remembering Srebrenica

RSrebenicia

by David Taylor, Vice-Chair

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, in which over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered in the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War, simply because of their Muslim identity. As an organisation we believe that we must ensure that we never forget about the genocide and reaffirm our commitment to standing up against hatred and prejudice.

This year’s Srebrenica Memorial Day Theme “Every Action Matters” seeks to encourage every person to reflect upon their own behaviour and choices that they make, and demonstrate that however insignificant it may seem, every action matters. It aims to show that those who stand up can make a difference. It sets out to dispel the notion that one person cannot make a difference and show that the action of one individual does matter and that they can achieve a great deal, however small their action may appear initially.

On Srebrenica Memorial Day we remember and honour those who were brutally murdered because of hate and commit ourselves to working towards building a more cohesive, stronger and safer society free from hatred, discrimination and prejudice.

For more information about Srebrenica Memorial Day, including details of the ceremony at 7pm today which will be attended by Keir Starmer and broadcast online, please click here. You can also follow them online on Twitter and Facebook.

For many in the Labour movement, Srebrenica and the Bosnian war were a turning point. Appalled by the Tory Government’s refusal to help – they actively blocked attempts to protect civilians caught in the conflict – the failure to protect civilians in Rwanda a year before, and indeed some on the Left, when Labour came to power in 1997, Foreign Secretary would proclaim a new Ethical Foreign Policy which would lead to successful interventions to protect civilians in Kosovo and Sierra Leone from mass atrocities.

The Responsibility to Protect civilians is one of our campaigns, and we will be launching a speakers network later in the summer with the aim of raising awareness amongst Labour Party members about these issue, and we’re delighted that Remembering Srebrenica have agreed to be part of this network. For more information about our campaign please click here.

Finally, below we share a letter written by a survivor of Srebrenica, Ahmed Hrustanovic. You can read more letters here.

I lived in a small village called Miholjevine. This village, is located 30 km south-east of Srebrenica, surrounded by hills and beautiful forests. My small village had twenty houses and it was home for 140 people. Life in it was like a true fairy tale. Most of us were relatives and we knew each other very well. My family was really big. My grandfather Ismet had three sons. They all got married and we all lived together in one house. We had just one budget for us all and grandfather was the one who managed the money. My father and my two uncles worked mostly as builders but they did other jobs that included physical work.

My dad was away most of the time. Sometimes he wouldn’t come home for six months. He worked all over the Yugoslavia. When he was home I wouldn’t leave his side for a second. The love we had for each other was immeasurable. During the winter, when he was coming home, I would sit by the window for days waiting for him to come, and the minute he would walk through the door I’d run into his arms hugged him as much as I could. Sometimes he would squeeze me so much that made me cry. I loved my father too much. I was in tears for hours every time he had to leave home looking for job.

My dad used to make me different toys from wood and paper because we had no toys as today and the shops were far away. He knew so many things and he could make anything I wished for with his hands.

When aggression on my homeland and my Srebrenica happened I was 7 years old boy.

At the beginning we could hear gun shots and detonations. When I asked my father about the noise and bangs he would answer I shouldn’t be worried because someone was getting married at Osmace (one of the villages nearby) and they were celebrating by shooting in the air. He was comforting me. He didn’t want me to be scared even though he was scared himself because he knew what might happen. Serb soldiers (Chetniks) were attacking from each side until they managed to take our village in March 1993. We had to run to Srebrenica. I took 35 kilometres long trip to Srebrenica by foot. We had to hide from time to time so we were forced to spend the night in the woods. It was still winter and the snow was deep. We slept on leaves my father found under the snow and I remember him making the fire all night long so that my sister and I could keep warm.

When we reached Srebrenica, we stayed at our relatives in the village Fojhari and later we managed to find some small room which we had to share with the people we knew. My dad was happy for that and he found some old tin barrel which he made into a stove to keep us all warm.

After the massacre in front of the school in Srebrenica,on April 12th 1993 , my father was even more scared because he saw butchered bodies of more than 100 boys and girls and their body parts scattered on the playground fence and across the playground. He couldn’t wait for something like that to happen again so he decided to send us with one of the last UNPROFOR convoys to Tuzla. That is the moment that will stay forever in my memory. Saying goodbye to my dad was the hardest thing I had to do. My mum was pregnant and I can imagine how hard it was for her. Along with her, my sister and I managed to get on a truck. My dad and uncles stayed in Srebrenica along with other relatives and grandparents. All of them. Women and children were on the way to Tuzla. After that last convoy no one could leave Srebrenica.

When truck started moving I cried so much. I hated saying goodbye to my father. This time it was forever. Dad was running after the truck for some time. He was crying and pulling his hair from his head because he had to send us somewhere unknown. Watching him like that I was pulling my hair as well saying: ‘Dad I will never see you again’.

And I never did. Two years after my dad was killed in one factory in Kravica along with his two brothers. The video them being captured can still be found on the Internet and in the media. They were all killed: grandfather, uncles and my dad. My grandmother had four sisters. Four of them lost 16 sons.

Our little village was like a story. 36 men out of 140 residents were killed. The village was burnt, plundered and demolished. No one has ever returned there to live again. The only thing witnessing that there was life there is the marble board with names of those who were killed. They destroyed everything and killed most of the adult men.

To speak and listen the truth is the most important for the future generations. They need to learn that hatred, prejudice and ignorance can cause pain to one family, one nation and the entire world.

When you read my story, I would love you to understand that hatred cannot and mustn’t live in the heart of a good man. If you want to be good –don’t hate! Know your neighbour before you
judge him. Don’t let the net of disinformation lead you to forget how much evil one man can do to another.

Serbs were the ones who killed us, their army and police. They got part of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the gift for such ‘actions’. Every man needs to know the character of the aggression on Bosnia. That is why it is important that war criminals don’t get support, not here or anywhere in the world. Our stories from Srebrenica should serve as warning and example to all men, what hatred towards someone different than you can do.

Genocide in Srebrenica is the biggest crime since the WW2. Our testimonies are witnesses to that. We must preserve memories of our past in order to preserve the future.