The following statement reflects the unanimous sentiment of the signatories, who drafted it during the AFL-CIO convention, which they attended as guests. The signers welcome its broad circulation in the labor movement.
We, Middle East and North Africa guests attending the AFL-CIO 2013 convention, are here representing Middle East and North Africa labor unions that stand in solidarity with the AFL-CIO.
1. On behalf of our unions, we send warmest comradely greetings to our brothers and sisters here at the convention, and to all the American working class. Having heard the powerful remarks delivered at the convention, in particular the speech of Brother President Trumka, we are certain that your convention will succeed in achieving its agenda in favor of American labor as well as workers globally.
2. We Arab representatives are attending the convention in a moment of great tension. Syria and its people have seen much destruction and ruin of the country’s infrastructure.Tens of thousands of Syrians have been killed and millions have been displaced at the hands of the regime and the other parties involved in this conflict.
We are calling for an immediate halt of fighting and resorting to resolve the conflict through dialogue.
3. As we enjoy the labor solidarity, support and unity spirit here in this room, we are at the same time very concerned about the possibility of the resort to a military solution to the Syrian crisis, by striking Syria at the pretext of disciplining the Syrian regime.
4. We declare our strong condemnation of what the Syrian people are living through; the killings, oppression, and the use of all kinds of weapons including those that are internationally banned. We also declare our standing in firm solidarity with the Syrian people in crisis.
5. While we condemn the current situation in Syria, we reject and denounce any military interference and any military strikes regardless of the pretext used. We deeply believe that such actions will exacerbate the crisis and cause more harm to the Syrian people and their struggle for freedom and democracy. Such actions will bring about more destruction and will eradicate any remaining opportunity of a political solution of the crisis.
Furthermore, we are afraid that such actions will ignite a regional war which will carry dangerous ramifications and disastrous outcomes that reach beyond the Syrian borders.
6. Therefore, we urge you, in the spirit of solidarity, to exert your best efforts to convince your government to refrain from striking Syria, and rather to pursue peaceful solutions to the crisis that would allow the Syrian people to build their democratic nation in which freedom and dignity are guaranteed under a unified and sovereign country.
We hope this convention will support the aspirations of the participating Middle East and North Africa unions and affirm the commitment to peace, a grounding principle of the global labor movement.
Manawel Abdelall, President of Electricity Union, Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
Amel Al Amri, National Secretariat Responsible for International Relations, The Moroccan Workers’ Union (UMT)
Hadi Ali Lafta, Vice-President, General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW)
Akram Nadir, Representative, Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI)
Hassan Juma’a Awad Sdawe, President, Iraq Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU)
Issam Shukor; Member of General Secretariat; General Federation of Workers Unions in Iraq (GFWUI)
Azzam Somadi, President, Jordanian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (JFITU)