Monday, 30 April 2007

Stoning to Death in Kurdistan

To: Kurdistan Regional Government

International Campaign against killings and stoning of women in Kurdistan Condemn the brutal stoning to death of Doa - a young girl whose only crime was to fall in love Doa was stoned to death in the centre of the town of Bashiqa in front of hundreds of people and the authorities did not prevent this crime from happening.

On the contrary, they were present and paving the way for this horrific crime to be carried out. Doa was a 17 year old girl from a family of Yazidi faith; she was snatched from her house by some Yazidi men who discovered that she was in love with a Muslim Arab man and had visited him. They stoned her to death in public on 7th April 2007 in the town of Bashiqa. It is known that women in Kurdistan and Iraq are oppressed. The few rights they do have are very limited and in most cases they are treated as sub-humans. Killings, suicide, and violence against women are an every day occurrence in this region.

Although a crime of this nature is very new to Kurdistan, this is an indication that such crimes against women are now tolerated. Doah's killers are still free. The governments failure to protect women, and enforce laws against criminals, has created a situation where thousands of women become victims of so called honour killings . Violence has risen as result of patriarchal and religious traditions. We strongly condemn this barbaric act, and call upon all human rights and womens rights organisations, political parties, and activists in Kurdistan and globally to condemn this crime. In the 21st century, for such crimes to be carried out in broad daylight is not only a shame on society as whole, but most of all, it is a shame on a government that is unable to protect women from such inhumane and backward practices.

The stoning of Doa sets a dangerous precedent for more women to become victims of stoning. We hold the Kurdistan Regional Government responsible for the lives and protection of women in this region, and we believe that the brutalisation and victimisation of women must come to an end. We the undersigned therefore demand: That the Kurdistan Regional Government brings the killers to justice and punishes them. The Kurdistan regional Government should set laws against terror, killings and oppression of women, and punish criminals. To avoid this barbaric crime from becoming a norm and a practice in Kurdish society, the Kurdistan Regional Government should criminalise stoning to death.

The initiators of this campaign are: Houzan Mahmoud: Representative abroad of Organisation of Womens Freedom in Iraq and campaign coordinator Raga Rauf: Writer and womens rights activist and campaign coordinator Samera Mohammed: Editor of Rasan womens newspaper in Kurdistan Yanar Mohammed: President Of Organisation of Womens Freedom in Iraq Aram Ali: Coordinator of the Kurdish website Baker Ahmad: Writer and poet Dler Colnadar: member of executive board of CHAK organisation Omar Faris: coordinator of a Kurdish website Dina Nammi: International Campaign against Honour Killings Amal Almas: (Iraqi Womens League) Gothenburg -Sweden Federation of Workers councils and unions in Iraq/ Kurdistan representative Chro Sabir: Director of Rasan womens organisation in Kurdistan Hana Shwan: Journalist and womens rights activist in Kurdistan Hamza Abd: The Iraqi Cultural House in Gothenburg-Sweden .

To join this campaign or to show your support pleases contact: Campaign Coordinators: Houzan Mahmoud and Rega Rauf Or 26/04/2007

To Add name and see current signatories:

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Iranian strike

Iran’s teachers stage a 2-day strike ( Monday)

Teachers in Iran were on a nationwide strike today for the second day running.
Called by the Teachers’ Trade Association of Iran (/Kanoon e Senfi eMoalleman e Iran/), the strike followed last month’s massive protests over pay and conditions, which ended in the arrest of hundreds ofteachers as the security forces moved in to crush the action.

Labour organisations around the world and various sections of workers in Iran have protested at the regime’s brutality, calling for the release of those still in prison and the meeting of teachers’ legitimate demands.In Sunday’s and Monday’s actions nearly all the schools in Tehran remained closed. Secondary schools were reported shut, while some primary schools remained open but no teaching took place.

In addition to the capital, the strike was observed in the following cities and regions: Esfahan, Homayoon-Shahr, Shahin-Shahr, Flaverjan,Pirbekran, Bojnoord, Eslam-Shahr, Shazand, Khomein, Arak, Tafresh,Farahan, Delijan, Karaj, Saghez, Bookan, Hamedan, Aligoodarz, Ardebil,Kerman, Urumiye, Tabriz and Broojen.In Eslam-Shahr teachers were threatened.

They were told not to assemble in the school.In another development, 5 of the 9 detained teachers in the city ofHamedan, members of the Teachers’ Trade Association, were released after nearly 10 days in prison. They are: Jalilian, Foroozanfar, Sadeghi,Naderi and Najafi. The following are still in prison: Zareiee, Ghadimi,Refahiat and Gholami.In Homayoon-Shahr in Esfahan Province, 4 teachers were summoned to theInformation Ministry and detained.

They are: Mojtaba Abtahi, AbdolrasoolEmaadi, Nurullah Barkhordar and Hamid Mojizi. Their whereabouts are unknown.In the city of Kerman, the city’s education chief accused the teachers of ‘conspiracy against the system’, following which several teachers were arrested.

On Saturday 14 April, Hamid Pour Vosoogh, AlirezaRezaiee and Mohammad Reza Rezaiee were arrested and taken to Evin Prison in Tehran.The teachers’ two-day action was pre-planned and went ahead in spite of the mass arrests, harassment and intimidation by the government. There is already talk amongst teachers of further actions in the coming days.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Public Employee Press

Public Employee Press:
Houzan Mahmoud speaks out:Life in war-torn Iraq

Iraqi feminist and labor leader Houzan Mahmoud spoke March 5 on life during the war, which can lead to unjustified jailing, kidnapping and rape. She lives under an open-ended death sentence from a religious court.

By GARY GOFF2nd Vice President, Local 2627“There are no rights in Iraq for working people today,” said Houzan Mahmoud, speaking at the Manhattan campus of SUNY Stony Brook on March 5.Mahmoud represents both the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions, Iraq’s second largest union group.She is currently living in London and was in New York to testify about gender-based violence in Iraq before the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Mahmoud spoke at great personal risk, because she is under a fatwa, an open-ended death sentence issued by an Islamist group from Iraqi Kurdistan, where she was born.“Women are the uncounted victims of this occupation.”“Women are the uncounted victims of this occupation,” Mahmoud said. They cannot safely go out on the streets alone to buy food for their families, she said. Daily life is very difficult. There is no security. There are no basic services — drinkable water, electricity, health care or schools.

Millions of people are out of work or have been forced to flee the Islamist militias to refugee camps in neighboring countries.More and more women are now in Iraqi prisons, with no legal protection or representation. “They can just come and take you out of your home,” said Mahmoud.Civil society has broken down. “The government is dysfunctional,” says Mahmoud, with no real existence outside the U.S.-run Green Zone.

The politicians are heavily corrupt, stealing public money and spying on each other. Elsewhere, she said, there is “a never-ending battle” among the occupying forces, the terrorist networks and the Islamist militias and gangsters.It was not always like this. “Secularism is deeply rooted in Iraqi society,” she said. “The people don’t want a theocratic regime.”And, according to Mahmoud, that is the strength of the secular Federation of Workers Councils and Unions, which includes men and women of all faiths, ethnicities, and nationalities.

“We’re anti-occupation, therefore we’re illegal, but we still organize.”Unlike the legal unions supported by the Iraqi government and the U.S.-occupation forces (“We call them ‘yellow unions,’ ”), the Federation organizes protests, conferences and strikes — “at least two a month,” says Mahmoud with pride.“ We’re anti-occupation, therefore we’re illegal, but we still organize. We’re gaining popularity among the working people of Iraq.”In Iraq, the war “has created a breeding ground for the terrorists.”

They “carry out all kinds of suicide bombings and attacks, all in the name of fighting the occupation,” she said. The terror groups use the American presence “as a cover to kill.”Mahmoud sees women, youth, and labor unions as the keys to restoring a dynamic secular society in Iraq.

But before that can happen, she said, the war has to end. “This war is not in the interests of the working-class in Iraq or in America.”Mahmoud’s presentation was sponsored by Stony Brook’s Center for Study of Working Class Life and U.S. Labor Against the War, the organization that led the labor section of the recent anti-war marches in which many DC 37 members participated.This article is based on Mahmoud’s March 5 talk and an interview she gave Goff, which is available on line at

Death of General Secretary

The GFIW mourns the death of martyr Najim Abd-Jasem the General Secretary of the Mechanic Workers Union.Brother Najim was abducted by criminal militias in Baghdad on theafternoon of the 27th March 2007 .

His body was found three daylater on 30 March 2007. Signs of torture were evident all over hisbody.Brother Najim was one of the key leading trade unionists who helped to establish the IFTU now the GFIW after the fall of Saddam'sdictatorship and was elected as the General Secretary of theMechanics Workers Union in late 2003.

Under the former dictatorship of Saddam, brother Najim worked forthe Health Ministry as a mechanic before he was dismissed because ofhis opposition to Saddam's yellow unions.He joined the underground trade union movement (WDTUM) and fought against the former dictatorial regime.

His murder is a sign of a systematic campaign to eliminate the leadership of the newly formed independent and democratic unions that strongly oppose sectarianism.Najim A- Jasem leaves a widow and four children.Glory to the martyr of Iraqi working class brother Najim A JasemLong live the Iraqi labour movementNajim was kidnapped on 27 March 2007His Body was found on 30 MarchSigns of torture was visible on his bodyNajim Joined the under ground trade union movement (WDTUM) in the1980s.

He was dismissed from his job as a mechanic where he worked for theIraqi health MinistryHe was reinstated to his job after the fall of Saddam's dictatorship.He was a key founder the of the IFTU now the GFIWHe was elected to the position of the General Secretary of theMechanics Workers Union 2003He attended many national and international seminars and training

The executive committee
31 March 2007

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Iraq Letter to International Workers' Movement

Sunday, April 01 2007 @ 12:56 PM PDT

Iraq: Letter to the International Workers’ Movement

Friday, March 30 2007 @ 06:57 AM PDTContributed by: WorkerFreedomViews: 57

Four years of occupation and destruction have devastated the society, where the streets witness daily killings through explosive bombs, booby traps, cars, and belts. Unprecedented destructive powers were unleashed in these 4 years to turn people’s lives into hell. All of this happens amongst false promises of democracy and freedom, in the time when the country is stamped by tanks, military vehicles, and tens of thousands of heavily armed soldiers.Letter to the International Workers’ MovementFrom: Falah Alwan, FWCUI’s presidentFour years of occupation and destruction have devastated the society, where the streets witness daily killings through explosive bombs, booby traps, cars, and belts.Unprecedented destructive powers were unleashed in these 4 years to turn people’s lives into hell.

All of this happens amongst false promises of democracy and freedom, in the time when the country is stamped by tanks, military vehicles, and tens of thousands of heavily armed soldiers.The occupation troops, their allies and the influential militias have driven the society into a burning sectarian war. They have also confiscated the most basic liberties in the areas under their power.Moreover, the regional powers have put their resources and experiences under the command of the armed groups and powers who represent their interests in Iraq, thereby turning the country into a battlefield of conflict among these different forces. All of this has given way to turn living and working places into battlefields of a destructive reactionary war.The secular, libertarian, and egalitarian alternative failed to become the major power to face and resist this scenario. Still, the freedom-loving people have expressed their aspirations to resist these situations in a variety of ways.The workers of Iraq have taken their position against the occupation and the current situation through continuous demonstrations and ways of protest. Some administered sit-ins while others demonstrated demanding better pay and living conditions, even some demanded cancelling the laws of the previous era.

The workers’ movement managed to maintain an independent presence regarding their theses, programs, and approaches of workers’ organizations, or their different practical methods of work among the movement, even through setting forward practical demands here and there.The main reasons which stopped the workers’ social efforts from turning into a main pole/part within the political formula and kept them as a mere potential force, is not that the workers are incapable or reluctant in organizing; although these factors are of some influence more or less. In reality, there is an essential reason and aspect, which is that the weakness of the workers’ movement in Iraq reflects the parallel weakness of an international workers’ movement, and is consequently and extension to it.

The workers of Iraq have to face and confront the whole arsenal of the occupation troops, and moreover all the dominant and destructive political and militia forces, in addition to all their reactionary heritage which defies all the liberties of the workers and the people. All of these forces have their regional and worldwide depth and resources, and are therefore international powers. In other words, the working class in Iraq is confronting international poles, while the workers’ movement is not functioning in international parameters.

In the midst of the flow of blood and fire, the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq has established its presence as a radical workers’ movement with a profound basis of revolutionary tradition, a movement which forwards demands and fundamentals of social equality and a humane alternative for the current situations.Our victory and survival precondition is that the international workers’ movement stands immediately by us, not in the sense of supporting and encouraging a movement somewhere in the world, but they need to regard it as a basic part of an international movement which confronts a fierce adversary whose main objective is to impose weakness and withdrawal on the international workers’ movement and paralyzing its’ political will.Iraq is currently the main arena of struggle between the American and the regional local forces, a struggle which is basically reactionary.

Achieving a working class victory in Iraq at this point will represent a victory of the workers’ movement internationally. This victory will elevate the libertarian and socialist movement to new heights. Simultaneously, both the US and their adversaries’ victory will impose an accomplished failure of the workers’ movement and force it to withdraw and become marginal for decades to come.The failure of the US and the current political forces in imposing a functional political model in the last four years in Iraq, in addition to the drawbacks which came over the nationalist and political Islamist forces, have opened a window of opportunity for the leftist and libertarian forces to enter the arena swiftly and to become

THE alternative.The pre-requisite for that is preparing and organizing the workers’ forces and ranks around their main aims, in addition to attracting and gaining the inseparable support of millions around the world. Only then, the possibility of victory becomes achievable and possible.

Falah Alwan Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq, presidentMarch 6, 2007