News

Five years after court ruling, Israel continues to build illegal wall

7 July 2009 - 12:00am

On 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that the Separation Wall being built by Israel on Palestinian land was illegal. The ICJ ruled that Israel must cease construction of the Wall, dismantle the sections built thus far and make reparations to Palestinians for the damage caused. Yet five years on from the ICJ ruling Israel continues to build the Wall in defiance of international law and global outrage.

Comment is free: End the G8 charade – we need a G192

6 July 2009 - 4:25pm

Institutions such as the G8 and G20 will only ever serve the interests of the few. We need a forum of the many

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War on Want partner speaks out against the coup in Honduras

6 July 2009 - 12:42pm

War on Want partner Codemuh - a Honduran women's collective - has condemned the actions of the Honduran army after it forcibly removed the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya from power.

Tesco clothes ‘sweatshops' attacked

2 July 2009 - 1:48pm

NEWS HOOK: Britain's largest retailer Tesco holds its annual meeting in Glasgow


Campaign targets £3bn profits retailer's AGM

Britain's largest retailer Tesco today comes under fire over 7p an hour garment workers in Bangladesh as shareholders prepare to hail the company's record £3 billion profits at its annual meeting.

The charity War on Want cited research which reveals employees toiling up to 80 hours a week making Tesco clothes in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka for as little as 1663 taka (£14) a month.

Employees calculate a worker needs £44.82 (5333 taka) a month to give their family nutritious food, clean water, shelter, clothes, education, health care and transport.

In the three Tesco factories researched, average workers' pay, £20 (2280 taka) a month, is less than half a living wage.

Most employees live in small, crowded shacks, many of which lack plumbing and adequate washing facilities.

Runa, who produces Tesco clothes, is one of many young women forced by poverty to leave her rural home to earn money to send back to her family.

She said: "My pay is so meagre that I cannot afford to keep my child with me. I have sent my five-month old baby to the village to be cared for by my mother."

Ifat, who also toils in a Tesco factory, said: "I can't feed my children three meals a day."

Though compulsory overtime is illegal in Bangladesh, employees said they were made to toil extra hours, often unpaid.

Workers complained that in the fast fashion rush to produce the latest styles, many of them suffer verbal and physical abuse as they struggle to meet unrealistic targets

War on Want contrasts Tesco's claim to respect the rights of its garment suppliers to join and form trade unions with the charity's study which revealed that none of the Dhaka factories investigated was unionised.

War on Want adds that Tesco has signed up to a code of conduct under the Ethical Trading Initiative which commits the retailer to pay garment workers living wages, support freedom of association and collective bargaining, and to ban harsh treatment and excessive working hours.

Simon McRae, senior campaigns officer at War on Want, said: "While Tesco has smashed all records with more than £3 billion profits, it is also breaking promises to ensure a living wage and decent conditions for its garment workers. Tesco cannot be trusted to keep its word. The British government must act to stop this abuse."

CONTACT: Paul Collins, War on Want media office (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

NOTE TO EDITORS: Tesco's annual meeting will take place at 10.30 am on Friday (3 July) in the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, Exhibition Way, Finnieston, Glasgow G3 8YW.

Update from the Occupied Palestinian Territories

1 July 2009 - 12:00am

War on Want is currently in Palestine, visiting our grassroots partners and examining the situation on the ground.

The aim of the trip is to support and express solidarity with our partners - and to strengthen the links between the frontline struggle for justice in Palestine and our campaigns in the UK.

Our team of John Hilary, Executive Director of War on Want, Gemma Houldey our Conflict Zones International Programmes Officer and Yasmin Khan our Senior Campaigner on Global Justice will be sending regular updates via Twitter from Palestine.


1 July 2009

5:38pm (local time)
Now visiting our partners in alternative information centre in beit sahour and a heated debate on regional geo-politics!

2:53pm
Just walked into a house fire bombed by settlers recently coz internationals visited. Can still smell the smoke, childrens toys on the floor

2:51pm
400 settlers in hebron, 20,000 soldiers protecting them. Just seen soldier pull out a rifle & aim it at palestinians kids. Atmosphere tense

2:40pm
Cannot believe what we r seeing. ground littered with rubbish, glass, stones & bottles of urine thrown at palestinians by settlers

1:37pm
Walking thru old city of hebron. Isreali settlers have come into the city and set up israeli administration here & terrorised the population

12:27pm
Just getting info 4 boycotting israeli goods in the OPT [Occupied Palestinian Territories] in a local shop. barcodes which start with 729 r israeli, even jerico water bottles!

11:20pm
Now with popular committee which resists Wall in Bethlehem. Members discussing ways to respond to 9 house demolition orders issued yesterday

30 June 2009

11:28pm (local time)
Met Sawt el Amel 2day, amazing org workin on labour rights of Palestinians in Israel. Currently battling israeli corporations 4 gaza workers

5:31pm
Palestinians in Israel R not even 2nd class citizens but forgotten people, ignored by Pal Authority & classed as absentees on their own land

2:58pm
Just met the arab association for human rights working on palestinians rights in israel. Shocking evidence about how racism is entrenched in the israeli

12:17pm
just past sign 4 Jenin yet we r not in West Bank but Israel where we share a bus with young soldiers carrying rifles & there is little warmth or welcome

9:30am
Jolted awake by check point. Resentment at ritual humiliation for palestinians exacerbated by unbeliveably loud shouting by IDF [Israel Defense Force] female soldier

29 June 2009


12:38am
(local time)
An activist took us 2 the highest point in Ramallah 2nite where we could see Tel Aviv & the Med sea. Couldn't believe it was close, yet a different world

3:54pm
Just found out veolia involved in waste management from settlement farms in jordan valley. Another reason to step up the boycott campaign against them!

12:26pm
jordan valley most shocking part of trip so far. Palestinians live in plastic tents nxt 2 swanky israeli farms making produce 4 uk supermarkets. Sickening

11:41am
Aargh! After months of efforts our attempts to get into gaza have failed at 11th hour. Gutted :( gaza prison impenetrable.

27 June 2009

11:30pm (local time)
Naomi klein speech on BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] was great. War on Want colleagues Yasmin & Gemma now taking on twitter duty for next week, hopefully from Gaza.

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6:25pm
Now in ramallah to hear Naomi klein speak on israel boycott. Her support for BDS as Jewish Canadian is front page news here. Hall packed.

12:31pm
Checkpoint between nablus & ramallah closed. Huge tailbacks, on day int'l media announces easing of restrictions. Dont believe all u read!

9:40am
First a meeting with brilliant palestinian human rights group al haq. http://tinyurl.com/r8doc2 for current case v uk govt support 4 israel.

8:26am
Going to conference on reunifying the left in palestine. Normal politics has been squeezed out by fatah-hamas break & israeli occupation.

26 June 2009

2:34pm (local time)
Now back in bi'lin village. Popular committee here has kept up wall demos each friday for 5 yrs, despite many casualties. So inspiring.

2:13pm
Calming down now. Got big mouthful of tear gas thru not paying attention. Focusing too much on photos and tweets!

1:51pm
Israelis now firing tear gas down at us. Palertinian kids respond with stones from home-made slings. David v goliath again.

1:25pm
Now at start of demo in bilin. Good mix of local villagers and int'l solidarity activists. Waiting for friday prayers to end b4 start.

12:57pm
Bedouin camels graze by wall. Bedouin themselves displaced by settler-only road to ben gurion airport. They are the very poorest here.

11:10am
At apartheid wall in north Jerusalem. All houses within 100 metres of wall slated for demolition. Whole areas deserted. Eerily quiet.

7:04am
Off today to weekly bi'lin demo with War on Want partner Stop the Wall. http://tinyurl.com/mtxe32 for must-see video of one of the demos.

7:01am
Then stuck another hour in mass traffic jam at checkpoint on road back to ramallah. Perfect time to tweet but mobile had run out. Grrr...

6:57am
Met last night with amazing women's cooperative in qalqilya, producing organic olive oil & honey under banner 'women can do everything'.

25 June 2009

3:01pm (local time)
Weird and totally new problem is settlers apparently breeding pigs which are sent onto palestinian land to destroy crops. Farmers furious.

3:00pm
Just heard from farmers' co-op in anin village. Major problem is water as israelis dig deep boreholes from behind the Wall & take all of it.

9:14am
Coming into Jenin, site of 2003 massacre when israeli forces invaded the refugee camp. Many homes demolished. Over 70 killed

9:12am
Just passed thru nablus on way to meet olive farmers in jenin. Nablus coffee good, sweet & big on cardamom. 4th checkpoint just gone....

24 June 2009

4:22pm (local time)
Just passed thru checkpoint on bus to ramallah. More watchtowers, army, guns, walls. Strange how insecure the 'security' makes you feel.

2:14pm
Bullet holes on many houses. 30 to 40 israeli soldiers drove thru aida camp in jeeps last friday, shooting indiscriminately. Why?

2:13pm
Check out refugeevoice.org for youth magazine from the camps of the west bank.

1:30pm
Aida refugee camp is home to almost 5k people. Size of just 2 football pitches. No health facilities at all.

1:17pm
Now in bethlehem at aida refugee camp. Over 7 million palestinians are now refugees or IDPs [Internally Displaced People]

23 June 2009

6:59pm (local time)
Jerusalem is Arab city of culture 2009. Israel tried to stop it from happening, but failed. Mabrouk! [Congratulations in Arabic]

6:00pm
Hearing again & again how int'l pressure is now having impact on israel. Both govt & business afraid of becoming next apartheid. BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] works!

9.53am
Amazing to see scale of tramway being built to link jerusalem to jewish settlements in west bank. But no stops in palestinian areas of city.

22 June 2009

5:05pm (local time)
Just been told that US aid to israel has increased under obama, from $3bn to $3.5bn a year. So much for political pressure.

3:07pm
Ma'ale Adumim, one of the biggest settlements, is an unreal luxury island built on occupied land. Just shocking.

12:50pm
Now standing under the separation wall in east jerusalem. No pretence here that it's for security. Just to cut palestinian area in two.

12:13pm
Jerusalem municipality is meant to serve all areas in east city. But there's no sewerage for palestinian areas, only for jewish settlers.

11:53am
On tour of israeli settlements around jerusalem. All barred to palestinians, guarded by private security and police.

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