Theresa May in the US and Turkey: Not in Our Name
30 January 2017
Donald Trump’s presidency is turning out to be every bit as dangerous and divisive as we feared. His executive order instituting restrictions on refugees fleeing for safety and nationals from certain Middle East countries is a violation of the US’s international duties, and its impact will spread racism, hatred and fear in the US and beyond, given its specific impact on Muslims.
Trump’s actions are particularly egregious given the role of his predecessors in fuelling the generation-long conflict which continues to devastate the Middle East.
We have been shocked and dismayed by the level of support which the British government has given to President Trump’s administration. Trump threatens the entire model of international human rights law built up after the Second World War, especially obligations to protect refugees. He threatens to reverse even the small steps taken on climate change. He threatens any progress, however fledgling and imperfect, to create a more equal, peaceful and democratic world. He is the very antithesis of our values and he will do irreparable harm to our movements for justice.
At a time when many people and governments are trying to contain this damage, the British government has gone out of its way to give international backing and cover for Trump’s dangerous agenda. Theresa May’s visit to the US, her strong backing for a trade deal, her invitation to a state visit, her refusal to properly condemn Trump’s dangerous actions, lend him much-needed political support.
People in Britain never voted for this. We say: the government’s actions are not taken in our name.
It further dismays us that the Prime Minister flew from Washington DC to Ankara to meet with President Erdogan of Turkey. There, she spoke of another trade deal and a military deal. President Erdogan is currently at war with his own people. He has arrested tens of thousands of journalists, judges, members of the military, opposition activists – even MPs. He continues to commit gross human right violations against the Kurdish people. Like Trump, Erdogan is a threat to international peace and human rights law. It is staggering that the prime minister is offering massive military contracts to such a regime, making Britain complicit in these human rights violations.
In this situation, it is our duty as citizens to speak out and take action against the British government’s policies. History teaches us that if we do not speak up for those persecuted today, we will all face persecution tomorrow. We will not allow Britain to provide cover and support to Presidents Trump and Erdogan. We offer our solidarity to those in the US and Turkey who are protesting against their government’s policies. We would like to work with campaign groups, trade unions, faith groups and others, more closely than we have done in the past, to resist these dangerous developments.
To start, we will support a protest at Downing Street at 6pm on Monday 30 January, and taking place in other parts of the country with many other campaigners. Please join us.