Maya Khera summarises important events (June 2009)
Liberation organised an exciting and unprecedented women’s meeting in the House of Commons in May. The meeting was chaired by Clare Short MP; more than 30 women’s organisations attended taking part in the discussions. Women from Sudan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, were present, as well as Kurdish, Sindh, West Papuan and Kashmiri women, refugee and asylum groups, and organisations such as Womankind Worldwide and the POPPY Project. Violence against women was the topic of discussion: the forms of violence discussed were wide-ranging and multifarious – State-sponsored, post-electoral, honour-based, traditional practices (Female Genital Mutilation) and conflict-related.
The objective of the meeting was to get to know one another and to try and come up with a strategy for working together, co-ordinating efforts and strengthening campaigns. Following the meeting, a steering committee was set up, comprising 14 representatives, to devise and formulate proposals to present to the other groups, at the next House of Commons meeting, on the 15th July.
The Steering Committee which met on June 15th in the Islington Resource Centre had a lively and productive discussion. Sharing familiar stories and cross-cultural similarities as well as differences, connections were established, spirits and solidarity were raised. In spite of the friendly and relaxing atmosphere, the group was focused, worked well and proposals for future work were drawn up. Some ideas include: a large scale event in November and collaborating for a special Liberation journal issue, dedicated to women, on International Women’s Day in March 2010.
An inspiring Liberation Fundraising Night was held by British Tamils at the Bluegreen bar and restaurant in Northolt. The compére for the evening was Liberation’s Chair, Jeremy Corbyn MP: short speeches, poetry, entertainment and food ensured that a lively and informative night was enjoyed by all. The attendance was exceptional with MPs: John McDonnell, Stephen Pound, Gareth Thomas and Councillor Julian Bell in attendance to offer support and solidarity.
Liberation attended the Houses of Parliament reception celebrating 10 years of social progress and democracy in Venezuela, hosted by the Labour Friends of Venezuela. A few days later, Liberation participated in the Venezuela Information Centre Annual General Meeting and in early June, Liberation joined 150 other delegates at the National Union of Teachers headquarters to take part in the Cuba Solidarity Campaign Annual General Meeting.
Liberation’s Central Council assembled at Portcullis House in May, an additional CC meeting was arranged for early June. Preparations for the AGM were made as well as the regular discussions on finance, the journal, and other matters. As a result of the CC meetings, it was agreed that Liberation must send, as an emergency matter, letters of concern to David Miliband MP, about the Sri Lankan Army massacre of the Tamils, and to Andrew Smith MP, about the alleged unlawful detention of the pro-independence activist leader – Buchtar Tabuni, in West Papua.
Maya Khera summarises important events January-March 2009