2017 Highlights

30 December 2017 - 12:15am
News

War on Want's 2017 highlights

Fighting corporate impunity

In 2017 we brought community activists from South Africa, Colombia, Chile and Brazil to the UK, to challenge the devastation of land, lives and livelihoods by companies in the extractive industries.

6,500 people called on HSBC to end its complicity in Israel’s violations of international law

In July we launched a new phase of our Stop Arming Israel campaign, calling on HSBC to end its complicity in Israel’s violations of international law. There were over 20 demonstrations across the country and over 6,500 people responded to our call to email the CEO of HSBC, leading to a face to face meeting with the UK bank.

August marked 5 years since the Marikana Mining Massacre, where 34 miners were killed whilst working for British company Lonmin. We hosted Primrose Sonti and Thumeka Magwangqana  from the women’s movement Sikhala Sonke to build solidarity in the UK, and meet to advocate with Lonmin and the South African High Commission.

War on Want patron Naomi Klein joined us at The World Transformed festival in September, where we shared our vision for tackling the multiple crises of neoliberalism and inequality around the world with thousands of eager activists.

Worker’s rights

In February, we stood up for the rights of migrants, alongside groups around the UK, as part of the inaugural innovative One Day Without Us.

UNIQLO was forced to reveal its 146 core factory suppliers n a real breakthrough for the rights of garment workers

In March fashion giant UNIQLO caved to pressure from workers and War on Want supporters, after our Hong Kong-based partner SACOM revealed serious labour rights abuses in UNIQLO factories. UNIQLO published their list of 146 core factory suppliers across seven countries in Asia – in a real breakthrough for transparency

Fast food workers made history in September with ‘McStrike’ – the first strike by McDonalds workers in the UK. We supported and promoted their demands for £10 per hour, respect for their right to join a union and an end to precarious contracts.

Trade justice and protecting democracy

More than 3 million people across Europe signed a self-organised European Citizens' Initiative petition against toxic trade deals TTIP and CETA – set up after the European Commission refused to register an official petition. In May the European Court of Justice over-ruled the Commission, declaring that the original petition must stand – a victory for democracy.   

June saw a High Court victory for the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign with a ruling that the government cannot block local councils from divesting from companies complicit in human rights abuses. This came after our intensive Protect Local Democracy campaign, taken up by thousands of individuals and many groups around the UK.

Over 130 MPs signed Early Day Motions demanding transparency for upcoming  trade deals

As Brexit negotiations hotted up, post election, our trade transparency campaign launch came at a crucial time. More than 130 MPs have signed Early Day Motions demanding that they have a role in: outlining the terms of trade deals and approving their ratification; that the public is meaningfully consulted on their content and crucially, that negotiations are not held in secret.

Supporting people power

Buenaventuran people striking for peace and dignity won an historic agreement with the Colombian government

In May, hundreds of thousands of people from Buenaventura in Colombia engaged in a momentous strike to demand peace and dignity. War on Want mobilised supporters to call on the Colombian government to respond to the people’s demands. After an extraordinary three-week strike organisers came to an historic agreement with the government which they hope will begin to address the centuries of neglect of Afro-Colombian people in Buenaventura.

This year we continued fighting for justice for Palestinian political prisoners. In December, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, our partner in Palestine, announced the wonderful news that their media coordinator Hasan Safadi was finally released in December from an Israeli prison, after behind held in administrative detention since May 2016.

Land and resource sovereignty

In spring, we expanded our partnerships into North Africa working to organise a ‘solidarity caravan’ with more than 25 activists from North Africa and Latin America to visit communities in Tunisia who are fighting for land and resource sovereignty. We supported the creation of a ground-breaking web documentary series, ‘Paradises of the Earth’, which tells the inspiring stories of these people and communities.

The North African Network for Food Sovereignty launched, connecting Tunisian, Moroccon, Egyptian and Algerian activists

We facilitated the creation of the North African Network for Food Sovereignty, launched in July, bringing together community organisations and activists from Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Algeria. The Network is fighting against the corporate-dominated food system that threatens the livelihoods of millions of people, and will advocate for a new system based on food sovereignty, democracy and environmental justice – for all

 

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Watch grassroots activists reveal sites of environmental injustice in #Tunisia in Paradises of the Earth – free scr… https://t.co/MbYtPMeqmA 2 hours 54 min ago
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