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Time to stop war and end the arms trade that supports war

Sutton for Peace and Justice invite you to a public meeting:

‘Time to stop war and end the arms trade that supports war’

15 years on from the US led invasion of Iraq its high time that the lessons were heeded and action taken to stop war and the trade in arms that promotes war.

The people of Iraq are still suffering whilst the horrors of war continue to be visited upon countless others, as remote governments repeat failed military adventures and big business reaps the benefits of the trade in arms.

This meeting will bring together three expert speakers to talk of the lasting legacy of the illegal invasion of Iraq, the folly and tragedy of military conflict,
and the abhorrence of the international arms trade.

Nazli Tarzi – from Tadhamun (solidarity) Iraqi women organization.
Ian Chamberlain – from Stop the War.
Phil Mahon – from the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

Come and take part in the debate and join with us as we heed the lessons
and commit to work to stop war and control the arms trade.

Wednesday 23 May 20187.30–9.30p, m, doors open at 7.00.
At Sutton Quaker Meeting House, Cedar Road, Sutton, SM2 5DA.

There is no entry charge, donations will be taken on the night – please reserve your place by email to sutton4peace@yahoo.co.uk
or by text message to 07740 594496

During this year Sutton for Peace and Justice will be staging a series of events
to mark Hiroshima Day, remember the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1,
and call for an end to war and the trade in arms that promotes war.

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Why do Eritrean’s risk their lives to flee their country?

Report by Mike McLoughlin.

On the 6th April Sutton for Peace & Justice invited a settled Eritrean refugee Fessahaye Gebregiorgis, know as George, to speak about the present situation in Eritrea and why so many young people risk their lives by trying to escape the country. He brought an Eritrean friend, Gabriel, who has worked in the Ethiopian refugee camps for “Save the Children” and also contributed to the discussion.

George started by saying he was very grateful to the UK for twice accepting him as a refugee, first when Eritrea was invaded by Ethiopia and then after the present president tore up the independence constitution and became a dictator controlling every aspect of Eritrean life and ridding himself of his previous co-fighters.

After 30 years of war for independence, Isaias Afwerki became the first president of Eritrea, and has held that position ever since its independence in 1993. In 1994 he got rid of the UN peacekeeping force on the Eritrea/Ethiopia border and in 1998 declared war on and invaded Ethiopia. Then using this as an excuse, he declared a state of emergency, suspending the constitution, imposing military rule and arresting his deputy and some cabinet members. None have been seen since and they are all believed to be dead. Afwerki has removed all possibility of a challenge to his regime of fear and divide-and-rule, and dictates everything concerning life in Eritrea.

In Eritrea there is no freedom of speech, no right to assemble, religious freedom is restricted and young people are conscripted into indefinite military service, many being used as, in effect, slave labour. In a country which now has a population under 4 million there are 300 prisons in which no visitors are allowed and if a prisoner dies no-one is informed. If a person is arrested their family realise it is the end for them.

In view of all this it is not surprising that there are 150,000 Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia and many more in Sudan, despite the Eritrean army’s shoot to kill policy at the border.

Gold is mined there but as there is no official budget no one knows how much revenue is generated or how it is spent, except that some of it goes to the president’s supporters. The Country is rich in other minerals and there has been a recent discovery of significant amounts of potash. The UK wants to do business with the regime and is particularly interested in the potash.

The UK Government refuses to acknowledge the real situation in Eritrea and has adopted a harsh policy towards Eritrean asylum seekers, even giving as an excuse that the Eritrean government encourages its young people to try to get to Europe in order to benefit from money sent back to their families. As a result, many young Eritreans in this country, who are allowed to remain but not allowed to work and have no access to government funds, are despairing; their mental health is deteriorating and the suicide rate is rising.

The true situation in Eritrea is verified by  the UN Human Rights Commission report, the second part of which was presented in June 2016, and the Human Rights Watch Report of June 2015 – both available on the internet. There are also many videos featuring Eritrean refugees on YouTube which show the conditions there and their escape journeys, two of which were shown at the meeting.

Public meeting – Refugees welcome here

Sutton 4 Sanctuary and Sutton for Peace & Justice invite you to a public meeting in Sutton on 6 April:

Refugees welcome here

Why people flee their home country

Why we should give them sanctuary and a welcome here

This meeting will examine why thousands are forced to flee their homes and face the perils of travelling across North Africa and the Mediterranean Sea to find safety in Europe, and how some of them seek sanctuary here in Sutton.

Come and see a short film; hear the personal experience of a
refugee from Eritrea who has settled in South London; find out more and join the debate.

Friday 6 April 7.30–9.30pm, doors open at 7.00

Sutton Quaker Meeting House, Cedar Road, Sutton, SM2 5DA

There is no entry charge, donations will be taken on the night

Please reserve your place by email to
admin@sutton4sanctuary.uk
or by text message to 07740 594496

Palestine – 100 years after Balfour

Sutton for Peace and Justice will host a meeting to mark 100 years since the Balfour Declaration:

Wednesday 29 November, 7.30–9.30pm, doors open at 7.00.
Sutton Quaker Meeting House, Cedar Road, Sutton, SM2 5DA.

100 years ago the Balfour Declaration pledged Britain’s support for a ‘national home’ in Palestine for the Jewish people, on the understanding that the rights of ‘existing non-jewish communities in Palestine’ would not be prejudiced.

The first part of this pledge led to the establishment of the state of Israel. But Britain reneged on the the second part, leaving Palestinians dispossessed and living as refugees or under occupation.

The resulting suffering and conflict has gone on far too long.
It is time to acknowledge Britain’s broken promises, and bring justice
and equal rights to everyone living in Israel and Palestine.

Come and hear first-hand accounts of the plight of Palestinians today,
and join the discussion of how we can support Palestinians and Israelis
to build a peaceful future based on equal rights for all.

Please reserve your place by email to sutton4peace@yahoo.co.uk
or by text message to 07740 594496.

There is no entry charge, donations will be taken on the night.

You can download or flyer/poster here.

 

The Colloquium in Carshalton Park

Sutton for Peace and Justice brings you

The Colloquium in Carshalton Park

Throughout the day of the Environmental Fair on Bank Holiday Monday 28 August at Carshalton Park, Sutton for Peace and Justice will be hosting a series of informal and open discussions on a range of peace and justice issues:

11.30 Sutton 4 Sanctuary – Refugees welcome here
Helping refugees find a welcome and establish a new home in Sutton, including the Community Sponsorship Scheme.

12.15 Inequality is not inevitable
Inequality is bad for everyone and austerity is making it worse – but there is an alternative.

13.00 Climate Change – threat to peace & justice
Action on climate change is essential – now more than ever.

13.45 The plight of Palestinians today
How the rights of ‘the non-jewish communities of Palestine’ are ‘prejudiced’ 100 years after Balfour.

14.30 In defence of the Human Rights Act
The Human Rights Act protects us all and needs our support.

15.15 Stop nuclear proliferation – scrap Trident
Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki –Trident should be scrapped.

16.00 Sutton 4 Sanctuary – Refugees welcome here
Helping refugees find a welcome and establish a new home in Sutton, including the Community Sponsorship Scheme.

All at the Sutton for Peace and Justice stall J04–J05.

Come along and hear about these important issues, have your say and join the debate.

Colloquium – an informal gathering for the exchange of views, from latin ‘to talk together’; a seminar usually led by a different academic or expert speaker at each meeting.

 

In defence of development aid

S4P aid Apr17 2

Tom Brake and Graham Gordon speak in support of development aid

Reporting by Mike McLoughlin.

At a well-attended meeting hosted by Sutton for Peace and Justice at Friends Meeting House in Sutton on 28th April, Graham Gordon and Tom Brake spoke on why International aid is good for both the recipients and for us.

Both have extensive experience in the subject, Graham Gordon as Head of Public Policy at CAFOD, a leading aid agency, and Tom Brake as present and past Lib-Dem spokesperson on international development.

Tom Brake said that over the last 18 months or so there had been a concerted effort by some of the press to talk down the benefits and exaggerate the failings of aid. One success of this campaign had been the appointment of Priti Patel, an opponent of aid in general to head up The Department for International Development (Dfid) which she once said should be abolished. She has said we will promote transparency but by shifting DFID money into Prosperity, Security and Empowerment funds its use will become less transparent. The “Prosperity” fund will provide cash for private businesses, the “Security” fund probably be used by the Ministry of Defence, the most non-transparent and unaccountable ministry and the “Empowerment “ fund is for the Baltic States who are not high on anyone’s list of the world’s poorest countries. With all these moves the provision of aid will become more political and less able to fulfil its purpose to eradicate poverty in the world.

Tom Brake concluded by saying we should lobby our political parties and their election candidates telling them how much we value aid and encourage its focus on eradicating poverty.

Graham Gordon agreed with Tom Brake in that the quality of our aid was in danger from the skewing of the debate possibly leading to the reduction of our involvement to only disease eradication and responding to natural disasters. DFID was recognised as a world leader in humanitarian aid but also in development aid in areas such as the alleviation of the impact of climate change, improvement of the position of women and girls, and strengthening of civic society for long term development. He quoted several typical schemes in countries as far apart as Zambia and Myanmar whose success was apparently unknown to the aid deniers. These included provision of water boreholes which then enabled girls to attend school because they no longer needed to spend their days fetching water from great distances, providing training in cyclone preparedness so that communities were able to quickly recover from the next cyclone caused by climate change and schemes to strengthen civic society and governance enabling more transparency and so enabling governments to improve their tax take and therefore provide service to their communities.

Graham also mentioned the Commonwealth Development Company, now know as simply CDC, a part privatised arm of DFID. There was little evidence of it being successful at generating jobs by providing capital and loans to private companies. However Ms Patel planned to give it much greater funds. In fact private enterprise is not very good at working with civic society or focussing on the poor, the two most important areas if we really want to eradicate poverty.

Both speakers concluded that we should be proud of our contribution to reducing poverty across the world and being one of the first in the rich world to commit to 0.7% of GDP. Many millions of people have benefited from our generosity and many millions more rely on our continuation of this generosity.

Aid works – public meeting in Sutton 28 April

Sutton for Peace and Justice invite you to a public meeting :

Aid works –

why we should maintain the foreign aid budget

With Graham Gordon of CAFOD  and Tom Brake MP

Friday April 28th 2017, 7.30–9.00pm, doors open at 7.00.
at Sutton Quaker Meeting Hall, Cedar Road, Sutton, SM2 5DA.

There is no advance entry charge, donations will be taken on the night.
Please reserve your place by email to sutton4peace@yahoo.co.uk or by text message to 07740 594496.

Come and learn more about foreign aid spending and join the discussion.

Our informed speakers will provide evidence that foreign aid is a good thing with examples of how aid money can have a real impact on people’s lives, and will equip us with the arguments to dispel the myths and protect the 0.7% GDP currently spent on foreign aid.

Graham Gordon heads CAFOD’s Public Policy team dealing with international development, finance and environmental issues in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Graham worked for six years in Peru protecting the rights of indigenous groups and local communities, particularly around land, natural resources and political participation.

Tom Brake is MP for Carshalton & Wallington. Having been actively engaged in International Development issues for at least the last ten years, Tom is currently the Lib Dem Foreign Affairs, International Development and Defence Spokesperson.

You can download a flyer here.