Age letter: IS problem is our problem too

[By Helena Grunfeld] Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton wants to stop former IS fighters returning to Australia. That does not make the problem disappear. Where does he expect them to live? Does he want to leave that responsibility to the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, also known as Rojava, the mainly Kurdish area of Syria?

Have the Kurdish fighters who defeated IS militarily and paid a very high price in terms of deaths and injuries not sacrificed enough? Are they now to be burdened by these criminals? We need international solidarity to resolve this issue. We must not wash our hands of it. Australia should take its share of responsibility and support the Kurdish people in Syria who fought so courageously.

[Published in The Age Letters, July 5, 2019]

Call for Australia to support an end to Kurdish leader’s isolation

leylguvs[The following is the text of a letter submitted to the Melbourne Age. It was not published.] Kurdish MP Leyla Güven has now spent 90 days on hunger strike, calling for an end to the total isolation of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan.  Despite being released from prison by a recent court order, Güven’s hunger strike continues.  Over 300 Kurdish political prisoners – including MPs, journalists and academics – are following her example, at various stages of indefinite hunger strikes. Continue reading

PKK ban: Submissions to PJCIS

Three submissions were made in August-September to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) calling for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to be de-listed as a terrorist organisation.

  • Australians for Kurdistan‘s submission is posted below.
  • The law firm Stary Norton Halphen (associated with the well-known Melbourne criminal lawyer Rob Stary) made a submission on behalf of the Democratic Kurdish Community Centre of NSW and the Kurdish Democratic Community Centre of Victoria.
  • Dr Vicki Sentas, a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of NSW in Sydney also made a submission.

In the event the PKK was retained on the list of terrorist organisations. The government’s extremely flimsy and unconvincing rationale can be found here.

Submission: Why the PKK should be de-listed as a terrorist organisation

[The following submission was made by Australians for Kurdistan to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security on August 31, 2018 for de-listing the Kurdistan Workers Party as a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code Act 1995]

1. Australians for Kurdistan
Australians for Kurdistan (AFK) is an unincorporated solidarity group of non-Kurdish Australians drawn from all walks of life who come together to support the Kurdish liberation struggle in Australia. AFK liaises closely with members of the Kurdish community and is responsible for organising and undertaking a range of activities including public meetings and conferences; the preparation and distribution of written materials such as information brochures and longer publications; contributions to the media on relevant matters; and engagement with elected representatives and others in the Australian political system. Continue reading

May 26: Two events for Afrin

image001Saturday, May 26 is World Afrin Day. Here in Melbourne there are two events to note:

  • Rally & march: Solidarity with Afrin. Turkey out of Syria! No Aust ties with Turkey! Turkey is carrying out large-scale ethnic cleansing in Afrin in northwestern Syria. Some 150,000 Kurds have been forced out to be replaced with Syrian Arab refugees and jihadists and their families. Yet the West is silent. The Turnbull government has said nothing. Join us in a rally and march on World Afrin Day. 2pm. State Library, 328 Swanston St,City. Organised by Kurdish Democratic Community Centre of Victoria & Australians for Kurdistan. (Photo: London rally, March 31.) Facebook
  • Benefit gig for Afrin: Si amo Afrin. Film screening & bands: A fundraiser for Afrin refugees. 5pm on. Melbourne Anarchist Centre, 62 High St, Northcote. Facebook

 

Join us at Flinders Street Station, Friday, April 27

An emergency organising meeting to discuss action responses to Turkey’s invasion of Afrin was held at Melbourne’s Multicultural Hub on April 20. The meeting resolved to hold a series of big information stalls at key transport hubs in the city.

The first will take place at Flinders Street Station on Friday, April 27 from 4:30 to 6pm. We will hand out leaflets to commuters and talk to people about the issue and the utterly shameful silence of the Turnbull government. We will also have all the usual paraphenalia and will do some spruiking.

If you support northern Syria’s feminist, democratic, pluralist revolution and are appalled by Turkey’s brazen invasion and ethnic cleansing of Afrin, come along on April 27! The more people participating the bigger impact we will make.

West silent as Turkey wrecks most peaceful part of Syria

AfrinTurkey: Get out of Syria! Australia: End the silence about Turkey’s ethnic cleansing in Afrin!

[The following is the text of a leaflet issued by Australians for Kurdistan.] Afrin is a small region in northwestern Syria, on the Turkish border. During the seven-year civil war Afrin was the most peaceful part of the country. Before the war it was mainly populated by Kurds. It took in hundreds of thousands of refugees (mainly Arab), giving them security and full rights. Afrin was the geographically isolated, most western canton of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. The DFNS is organised on the principles of feminism, ecology, communal democracy, and ethnic and religious pluralism. Continue reading