Saturday 16 March 2019

Kurdish Question to be debated in Welsh Assembly on 20th March 2019 - support the 300 Kurds on hunger strike

                                         Leyla Güven      

Leyla Güven, a democratically elected Kurdish MP to the Turkish parliament, has been on hunger strike for over 120 days and is nearing death. 

Her hunger strike calls for an end to the isolation of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan. 

The leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) has been held mostly in solitary confinement by Turkey since 1999.

Over 300 Kurds are now on hunger strike in Turkish prisons, Kurdistan, Europe and North America. In Strasbourg, 14 Kurds have been on indefinite hunger strike since 17 December to pressure the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) to fulfil its duties and pay a visit to check on the situation of Öcalan. In Newport, Wales, Imam Sis has been on hunger strike since 17 December in Newport.

The international campaign for freedom for Öcalan and reconvening peace talks between the Turkish government and the PKK has been supported by the TUC, Jeremy Corbyn, Plaid Cymru, Mairead Maguire, Wole Soyinka, Desmond Tutu, Gerry Adams, Noam Chomsky, Professor Angela Davis and many others. Many believe that freedom for Öcalan is a precondition for a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question in Turkey.

We call upon the UK government to press the Turkish government to end the isolation of Öcalan.

Mark Campbell Co-Chair, Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign UK
Adam Price Leader, Plaid Cymru
Darren Williams Labour NEC and secretary, Welsh Labour Grassroots
Peter Hain Labour, House of Lords
Mark Serwotka President, TUC
Anthony Slaughter Leader, Wales Green party
Leanne Wood AM Plaid Cymru
Marianne Owens NEC, Public & Commercial Services Union
Cerith Griffiths Wales secretary, Fire Brigades Union
Amrit Wilson South Asia Solidarity Group
Lindsey German National convenor, Stop the War Coalition
Allison Hulmes National director, British Association of Social Workers Cymru
Osian Rhys Chair, Cymdeithas yr Iaith/Welsh Language Society

This is the current list of people who have signed the letter/statement -

Adam Price, Leader, Plaid Cymru

Anna McMorrin MP, Labour, Cardiff North

Darren Williams, Labour NEC and WEC Secretary, Welsh Labour Grassroots

Lord Peter Hain, Labour

Mark Serwotka, President, TUC

Leanne Wood AM, Plaid

Anthony Slaughter, Leader, Wales Green Party

Shavanah Taj, Public & Commercial Services Union National Officer

Marianne Owens, NEC, Public & Commercial Services Union

Lindsey German, National Convenor, Stop the War Coalition

Mark Campbell, Co-chair, Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign

Amrit Wilson, South Asia Solidarity Group

Jill Gough, National Secretary, CND Cymru

Professor Michael Lavalette, Liverpool Hope University

Allison Hulmes, National Director for Wales, British Association of Social Workers Cymru

Cerith Griffiths, Wales Secretary, Fire Brigades Union

Belinda Loveluck Edwards, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Labour, Vale of Glamorgan

Rhun Ap Iorweth AM, Deputy Leader, Plaid

Llyr Gruffyd AM, Plaid

Delyth Jewell AM, Plaid

Sian Gwenllian AM, Plaid

Helen Mary Jones AM, Plaid

Bethan Sayed AM, Plaid

Dr Dai Lloyd AM, Plaid

Osian Rhys, Cadeirydd, Cymdeithas yr Iaith (Chair, Welsh Language Society)

Dani Thomas, Co-ordinator DiEM25 Cymru

Emma Garson, Branch Secretary UNISON Cardiff County

Mike Jenkins, Writer, Co-editor, Red Poets

Jon Luxton, Labour, Mayor of Penarth (personal capacity)

Cllr Angela Thomas, Labour, Penarth Town Council

Cllr Ellie Evans, Labour, Penarth Town Council

Fflur Arwel, Co-Chair, Plaid Ifanc

Sioned Treharne, Co-Chair, Plaid Ifanc

Morgan Bowler-Brown, Treasurer, Plaid Ifanc

Maggie Simpson, vice chair, Wales Labour Grassroots

Sandy Clubb, Undod

Rhys Mills, Undod

Greg Cullen, Playwright, Shock n Awe Theatre Company

Dani Thomas, Co-ordinator DiEM25 Cymru

Ramon Corria, Secretary Communist Party of Britain, Cardiff Branch

Jenny Marie Charles, Wales Equality Alliance

Len Arthur, Left Unity Wales

Pete Wentland , Founder Calais Refugee Solidarity Bristol

Tim Evans, Secretary, Llanelli 1911 Rail Strike Commemoration Committee; Convenor, Swansea Live Poets Society

Dr Renata Medeiros-Mirra, Cardiff University

Professor Sue Williams, Visual Artist and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Fine Art & Media School, Swansea College of Art, UWTSD

Jane Harries, Cymru dros Heddwch/Wales for Peace

Sue Leader, Branch Secretary, Cardiff & Vale Unite Community

Alan Short, Branch Chair, Cardiff & Vale Unite Community

Dr Llion Wigley, Secretary, Cardiff Branch, Cymdeithas y Cymod (Fellowship of Reconciliation)

Elin Davies, YesCaerdydd

Richard Huw Morgan, YesPontypridd

Jonny Jones, Queen Mary UCU member

Neil Rogall UCU (retired member)

Derek Wall, Parish councillor Winkfield Berkshire

Geraldine O'Connell Warrington South CLP

Sandy Clubb, Undod (Radical Independence Campaign)

Rhys Mills, Undod (Radical Indepenence Campaign)

Ben Gwalchmai, Labour for Indy Wales

Christopher Roberts, Welsh Labour Representation Group

Pippa Bartolotti, Wales Green Party

Lotte Reimer,  Aberystwyth Peace and Justice Network

Nichola Davies, Caerphilly and Iswlyn Welsh Labour Grassroots

Helen Erasmus, Caerphilly and Islwyn Welsh Labour Grassroots

Annie Gwillym Walker islwyn CLP Crosskeys branch

Rob Hoveman, Unite the Community & Central European University

Dee Murphy, Swansea Palestine Community Link & Swansea Action for Palestine

Debbie Witts - senior designer at The Olive Grove Design Team, Cardiff

Sheila Jones, Unite Community member

Chris Gingell, Conservationist and humanitarian campaigner

Lyndsey Halliday, Cardiff Extinction Rebellion

Maggie Ravenscroft, Caerphilly and Islwyn WLG/Unite member

Geno Sulano, Welsh artist

Annie Gwillym Walker islwyn CLP Crosskeys branch

 Julie Dixon  Islwyn CLP

Dorian Dixon Islwyn CLP

Sandra Holliday, RCT Welsh Labour Grassroots

Jennifer Fletcher - Cardiff resident and international development worker/consultant

Mireille Escande de Messieres, Aberystwyth

Anna Monro, Pembrokeshire

Matt Rhys-Roberts, Wrexham

Linda Jensen, Cardiff

Cathy Wilson, Liverpool

Jackie Shellard, Bridgend

Jeff Hurford, Bridgend

Emily Trahair, Aberystwyth

Debbie Francis, Cardiff

Kristina Hedges, Cardiff

Anna Forster, Rhondda

Helen Pendry, Macynlleth 

Ken Barker, Cardiff

Sheelagh Llewellyn, Cardiff

Pat Gregory, Cardiff

Andy Chyba, Bridgend

Sian Gale, Cardiff

Jenny Howell, Cardiff

Sam Jenkins, Cardiff

Andree Morgan Andrews, Cardiff

Alice Shing, Cardiff

Emma Mato, Cardiff

Kirsty-Marie Jones, Cardiff

Madhu Khanna-Davies, Cardiff

Selma James, Global Women’s Strike, London

Nina Lopez, Global Women’s Strike, London

NDM6999 Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn)

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Notes that, whilst foreign affairs is a matter currently reserved to the UK Government and Parliament, Section 62 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 provides that “The Welsh Ministers, the First Minister and the Counsel General may make appropriate representations about any matter affecting Wales”.

2. Recognises the substantial Kurdish community in Wales.

3. Notes that a resident of Wales - İmam Sis, a young Kurdish man - is on an indefinite, non-alternating hunger strike as of 17 December 2018, which was initiated to protest the isolation of the Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan who has been imprisoned by Turkey since 1999 under conditions which are understood to contravene the Turkish state’s legal obligations in relation to human rights.

4. Notes that hunger strikes are taking place across Europe and the world, including by Leyla Güven, an elected member of the Turkish Parliament.

5. Notes that Turkey is a signatory to several international human rights treaties, including the European Convention of Human Rights as a member of the Council of Europe.

6. Expresses its concern at the reasons behind the hunger strikes.

7. Recognises that the ultimate aim of the hunger strikes is to see a peaceful, political solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey.

8. Affirms the importance that human rights obligations are upheld in Turkey.

9. Calls on the Welsh Government, on behalf of the National Assembly for Wales, to write to the Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment calling for the committee to visit Imrali Prison to assess the conditions of Abdullah Öcalan.