An emergency motion on Syria was moved by UCU at the Scottish Trades Union Conference in Aviemore today and passed unanimously. The motion reads:
That this Congress strongly condemns the bombing of Syria on 14 April. Congress further condemns the hypocrisy of US President Trump when the US has still not destroyed its chemical weapons well beyond the April 2102 deadline for doing this in the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Congress welcomes the statements by Nicola Sturgeon, Richard Leonard and Maggie Chapman, condemning the bombing, pointing out the risk of escalation and calling for a peace strategy and debate in the UK parliament.
Congress mandates the STUC General Council to:
- Make a public statement opposing the bombing and calling for a peaceful strategy for ending the use of chemical weapons and human rights abuses in Syria.
- Call for a demonstration against further bombing of Syria with other organisations such as Scottish CNC and Stop the War and encourage affiliates to support this call and the demonstration.
- Write to all MP’s representing Scottish constituencies to express public opposition to the bombing, call for a parliamentary debate on Syria and vote against any further bombing.
- Encourage affiliates to write to all their members in Scotland to lobby their MPs and MSPs on the issue.
Speaking in support of the motion a delegate from EIS-ULA noted the catastrophic impact of the war on the Syrian people. Noting that:
The civil war in Syria – born out of the brutality with which Bashar al-Assad’s regime repressed the 2011 revolution – has so far killed over 400,000 people and displaced a further 11 million.
Extending Western bombing campaigns will only inflict more death and misery on the 12 million Syrians living in the territory, and bring no respite to the victims of Assad’s regime.
Over the past seven years, the people of Syria have faced foreign interventions from Russia, from Iran, and from the US. Turkey has also invaded Syria by occupying Afrin and displacing a further 100,000 civilians.
Comrades, we must be clear. No foreign power should be bombing Syria. We believe that a political strategy should be followed to bring about a lasting peace – and that Britain and other countries should support a peaceful resolution of the Syrian civil war.
We are calling for an end to the bombing. Nobody should think, however, that we are trying to whitewash the heinous chemical attacks and other barbarous attacks carried out by the Syrian regime. The perpetrators of such attacks and other human rights breaches must be brought to justice. We must call for an urgent end to all foreign interventions and reject any attempt to deny or legitimise the crimes of Assad.
The recent bombing of Syria was wrong and there is a compelling case that it might also be unlawful. Theresa May’s rush to embark on this bombing campaign and piggy-back on the coat-tails of Donald Trump reveals a shocking disregard for the UK Parliament. This matter should have been debated in Parliament.
As trade unionists in the UK, our primary influence needs to be in opposing further escalation. We must call for the opening of our borders to all Syrian refugees and the right of return for refugees. We must also demand the democratic rights of civilians in Syria.