Stop the War Coalition

Today (11th September) the TUC Congress 2013 said that it “strongly [opposes] external military intervention” in Syria and is committed to “work with civil society organizations” including “Stop the War Coalition, in pursuit of [preventing such action]”.

Lindsey German, founder of Stop the War, said “we welcome the TUC’s decision to work alongside Stop the War to prevent a disastrous military campaign in Syria. This is a great step forward and reflects massive public opposition to David Cameron or President Obama’s plans for a new war in the Middle East.”

General Council Statement on Syria (in full):

The TUC and its members are appalled by the death, destruction and suffering in Syria. We believe that the humanitarian crisis – including the huge number of dead and injured, as well as the number of refugees and displaced persons – requires urgent and substantial action from the international community. We pay tribute to those workers from around the world who are attempting to address the current needs of the Syrian people.

We reiterate our commitment to peace, disarmament, human rights, democracy and dialogue as the only ways to effect lasting and inclusive change, and urge all parties to desist from violence. In particular, we condemn the targeting of civilians, terrorism, and the use of chemical or other weapons of mass destruction. We express our solidarity with the people of Syria and demand that their right to self-determination, as set out in the UN Charter, should be respected by all concerned.

Rather than assuming that the only intervention possible is military, we urge the use of diplomatic mechanism such as the United Nations to negotiate and mediate, and we advocate the use of international instruments such as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, as well as the use of the International Criminal Court as the proper mechanism for the trial and punishment of war crimes. In this context, we note that there has been no United Nations Security Council resolution authorising military intervention in Syria, as international law would require.

We welcome Parliament’s decision not to support military action. The TUC believes that the UN weapons inspectors must be given the opportunity to conclude their work, and that external military intervention, whether targeted on specific sites or otherwise, would not lead to an improvement in the situation facing the Syrian people and could make diplomatic and humanitarian efforts even more difficult. In particular, we counsel caution in the context of the long-term impact of past western intervention in the region, the complexity of the civil war and opposition to external intervention expressed by trade union centres in the region, and the lack of certainty as yet over responsibilities for the atrocities committed in the conflict.

We endorse the statements of the International Trade Union Confederation on the Syrian crisis, urge the international community to redouble their efforts to find a peaceful solution, and strongly oppose external military intervention. Where appropriate, we will work with civil society organizations including faith, women’s, disarmament development, community and disarmament groups and the Stop the War Coalition, in pursuit of these ends.

11 Sep 2013

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