Citizenship not sectarianism
A Party delegation has met with representatives of the policy section of the Community Relations Council to discuss issues around the removal of ‘peace’ walls, the Party’s proposals for a Citizens Charter against sectarianism and the details of the DUP/Sinn Fein Together: Building a United Community document.
This is the first in a series of meetings with agencies, organisations and individuals to discuss sectarianism in Northern Ireland society and the positive and progressive steps which can be taken to eradicate rather than manage it.
Earlier this month the party published a 5 Point ‘Citizenship Against Sectarianism’ Charter: Click here for details: Citizenship Charter Against Sectarianism
Opposing the G8: saying No to capitalist economics
Thousands of anti-G8 protesters have marched through Belfast city centre to register their opposition to a system “which puts profit before people and always will: a system for the few and not for the many”
Party members from throughout Northern Ireland marched with banners, flags and placards.
On Friday, Party members also delivered a letter of protest to the US Consulate highlighting the United States human rights record ahead of Barack Obama’s visit. The letter focused on Obama’s failure to close Guantanamo Bay prison camp and interrogation centre, the unjust and continuing imprisonment of the ‘Cuban Five’ and the murders of civilians by the United States in unmanned drone attacks in countries it is not even at war with.
And why does the Workers Party and so many thousands of people in Northern Ireland oppose the G8 summit?
Here’s just five reasons:
- The G8 represents the interests of most of the worlds largest capitalist economies. Their philosophy is based on privilege, profit, inequality, disadvantage, hunger, poverty and war.
- The governments of the G8 countries have designed and delivered an austerity agenda which has allowed the rich to get richer at the expense of working people, public services and jobs.
- Since 2008 £13 trillion of public money has been used to bail out the global banking system. The amount of money that was spent on banks could have ended world hunger for fifty years .
- The G8 countries spend more on weapons than any other country, bar China. The USA and Russia devote 17% and 14% of overall spending on weapons of war. This is more than on health or education and it is still rising.
A letter protesting America’s human rights record has been delivered to the US Consul General in Belfast, Gregory S. Burton, ahead of Barack Obama’s visit on Monday.
Workers Party General Secretary John Lowry and International Secretary Gerry Grainger presented the letter criticising the US president for his repeated failure to honour a pre-election promise made in in 2008 to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and interrogation centre.
It is estimated that there are currently 166 detainees held without charge at Guantanamo. Of these around 100 are currently on hunger strike and thirty of those are being force fed.
“The detention of these detainees and the conditions under which they are being held have been cited by International Human Rights Organisations as an affront to the protection of human rights and have been found to be unconstitutional by the US Courts themselves“, the Workers Party letter said .
The protest letter also highlighted the on-going plight of the ‘Cuban Five’, jailed in 2001 and the Obama administration’s increasing use of unmanned drone aircraft.
The unacceptable conditions under which the ‘Cuban Five’ are held in US prisons and the punishment of their relatives who are denied acceptable visitation rights have been condemned world wide as examples of the violation of human rights by the United States of America.
The use and legality of drone attacks, which have murdered civilian populations, in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – countries the United States is not at war with – has been questioned by numerous international bodies including The International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School and the Global Justice Clinic at the New York University School of Law.
The Workers Party has called for the immediate closure of the Guantanamo Camp, the unconditional release of those detained there, the immediate release and return to Cuba of the Cuban Five and an immediate end to the use of drone attacks by the US.
Full text of the letter handed into the US Consulate today :Letter of protest
Queens University has been criticised by the Party’s representative in south Belfast, Paddy Lynn, for its plans to close its main campus ahead of the G8 summit in Fermanagh.
“Many people are extremely disappointed that Queens has taken this irrational and wholly unnecessary step. Actions like these only contribute to the smokescreen which is being generated around the G8 Conference itself”, he said
“The university could make a much more positive and constructive contribution by undertaking an academic assessment of the effects of the austerity programmes initiated by these countries and the adverse effects it is having on the lives of millions of people”, Paddy added
In a letter to the University Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Peter Gregson, he has also called on the university to state publicly on whose advice the campus is to be closed and to declare the basis of its risk assessment.