The abridged statement below was released by the South African Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) on September 29. * * * After a huge mobilisation by South African academics, the senate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) voted today “not to continue a long-standing relationship with Ben Gurion University (BGU) in Israel in its present form and has set conditions for the relationship to continue”.
On September 27, the Australian Director of Military Prosecutions announced that charges were being laid against three soldiers from Australia’s Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan. The charges were over the February 12, 2009, killing of two adults and four children near the village of Sarmorghab in Oruzgan province.
Chanting “Free chickens, caged workers”, on September 24 more than 100 community members and trade unionists protested against the treatment of Sudanese immigrant Anyuon Mabior. Anyuon was sacked by Lilydale Free Range Chicken, in Wingfield, for complaining about a racist email. The National Union of Workers (NUW) has lodged an unfair dismissal claim through Fair Work Australia on Anyuon’s behalf, and will also seek a time and wages inspection.
One of the greatest living exponents of Peruvian musica criolla (creole music), Eva Ayllon, performed at the Sydney Opera House on September 25. Finding my seat, I felt as if I’d walked into an exuberant family gathering full of animated conversation, laughter, waving and group photography.
Pakistan blocked a vital supply route for US-led troops in Afghanistan on September 30. The move was in apparent retaliation for an alleged cross-border NATO helicopter strike that killed three Pakistani frontier troops, The British Morning Star said that day. The blockade appeared to be a big escalation in tensions between Pakistan and the United States. A permanent stoppage of supply lorries would place huge strains on NATO and damage the already faltering counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan.
More than 10 million workers staged a general strike in Spain on September 29 in response to vicious government attacks on their rights and pensions. The huge mobilisation, organised by the Confederacion Sindical de Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) and Sindicato Union General de Trabajadores (UGT) labour unions, produced a 75% turnout of members, sending a strong message of opposition to the austerity measures. UGT secretary for organisation and communication Jose Javier Cubillo said that in some sectors of the economy, such as steel and energy, support for the strike was close to 100%.
Amnesty International’s Demand Dignity and Eora College art exhibition opened at the Boomalli Aboriginal Arts Gallery on September 22 to a crowd of 50 people. The exhibition was based on the theme of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The artworks were produced by talented students from the Eora TAFE College. The Demand Dignity campaign aims to eradicate poverty by making human rights law. As part of the campaign, Amnesty International has criticised Australia’s NT intervention policy, which was launched by the Coalition government of John Howard in 2007.
More deaths Deaths in custody in Australia continue and are also not limited to prison and police custodial jurisdictions. There were 2043 Australian deaths in custody from 1980 to 2007; 72 deaths in custody per year from 1980 to 2000; 75 deaths per year from 2000 to 2007. Eighteen percent are Aboriginal. We have one of the world's worst deaths in custody records.
Twenty people attended a September 28 Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) meeting to hear Bruce Campbell, from the WA Deaths in Custody Watch Committe, discuss the campaign for justice for Mr Ward. On Invasion Day (January 26) 2008, Mr Ward, a respected Aboriginal elder, was arrested and died of heat stroke in the back of a prison van the next day while being taken 360km in 42°C heat.
On October 8, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), Queensland branch of the Electrical Trades Union and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union will sign a “social compact” with the North Queensland Lands Council (NQLC). The compact will mark a new stage in collaboration between trade unions and Indigenous organisations, especially in those regions targeted in the mining and resources boom.