Abdullah Öcalan is a Kurdish political leader who has been jailed on the Turkish island of Imrali and held in the most inhumane conditions for over 18 years. He is a political prisoner whose incarceration and total isolation is unlawful, arbitrary and infringes the most basic elements of human rights. Abdullah Öcalan must be released if a negotiated peace is to be found in Turkey and the wider region and if human rights and human dignity are to have any meaning. To this end, the Freedom for Ӧcalan Campaign was launched in the House of Commons in London on 25 April, 2016.
The principal aim of the campaign is to build mass support across the national and international trade union movement for the release of Abdullah Öcalan. Central to the campaign is the firm belief that the Kurdish community must be allowed to fully participate in democratic society, be free from discrimination and able to freely choose and elect their own leaders and representatives. The resolution of the ‘Kurdish question’ is a democratic and human rights issue that would have nothing but positive consequences for all the people of Turkey, the Middle East and globally.
The campaign recognises the extraordinary political texts that Abdullah Öcalan has managed to produce since his imprisonment and recognises the exceptional historical and political insight these provide, as well as the potential solutions they offer, to centuries of conflict and bloodshed. At the very centre of these writings stand the principles of peace, democracy, equality, inclusiveness and tolerance. These are the very principles upon which the union movement was founded and upon which it has always built and participated in famous solidarity campaigns, it’s now time for us to focus on this injustice and help build tomorrow’s peace through the trade union campaign for ‘Freedom for Öcalan!’
The trade union campaign will:
- organise public meetings throughout the UK
- provide speakers and host and organise fringe meetings at trade union and appropriate political conferences
- table motions to union conferences nationally and internationally
- organise and participate in visits as part of the Imrali peace delegation
- lobby and campaign in the Westminster parliament, devolved administrations, local authorities and other public bodies
- build the campaign amongst the wider international trade union movement
- produce campaign materials and maintain a campaign website
- work as part of the global ‘Free Öcalan’ campaign
- disseminate the writings and political thought of Abdullah Öcalan