UK and Irish Cross Party Politicians and Civil Society leaders Support Patriotic March

Justice For Colombia News | on: Wednesday, 8 May 2013

During the visit of the Patriotic March delegation to Belfast, Dublin and Ireland in April, politicians and civil society representatives including Church and trade union leaders signed the below statement in support of the Patriotic March and the peace process. The statement backs the Patriotic March’s call for a ceasefire to be agreed during the talks, for civil society participation and the root causes of the conflict to be addressed and for safety for peace activists. The statement garnered support from politicians from a broad selection of political parties including Labour, SDLP, DUP, Sinn Fein and others. Leading church figures also added their names, as well as Northern Ireland Victims Commissioner, Kathryn Stone.

Statement of Support for the Patriotic March, April 2013:

We, the undersigned from Ireland and the UK have met with members of the Patriotic March during their Justice for Colombia organised tour of April 2013 to hear about their work for peace and social justice in Colombia. We have heard about its inspiring organisational process which has led to its current composition of over 2,000 organisations, and the important work which it is carrying out in promotion of an end to the armed, social and political conflict, and particularly its role in the organisation of the recent March for Peace which saw hundreds of thousands of people mobilised in support of the peace talks.

We have also heard however of the threats, assassinations, the legal persecution and the stigmatisation its members have suffered since its founding.

We would like to express our full support for the Patriotic March and emphasise the important role we believe it has to play in the creation of a successful peace agreement which not only ends the armed conflict but also allows for the root social and political causes to be addressed.

We believe that the following steps would help the future success of the peace process:

1. Guarantees for safety and an end to accusatory statements and persecution.

We believe it is essential that members of the Patriotic March and other peace and opposition organizations are given guarantees for their safety and that all members of state institutions comply. Guarantees for political opposition are a corner stone of any democracy and essential to building a lasting peace. We are concerned that senior government representatives continue to make statements questioning the legitimacy of the Patriotic March, which results in increased dangers for its members. After the most recent accusations, more members have been assassinated by paramilitary groups opposed to the peace process. It is essential that the Patriotic March is recognized as a civic society movement and that the authorities bring to justice those responsible for the crimes, and cease the legal persecution of members of the Patriotic March.

2. A Ceasefire between the negotiating parties.

We are concerned that ongoing military actions from all sides pose a risk for the success of the peace talks, as well as continue to draw civilians into the conflict. The humanitarian cost of the ongoing war is devastating, with combatants, soldiers and civilians dying. We believe that the parties should consider a ceasefire during the talks as a way to create the necessary positive conditions for a successful peace process.

3. Civic Society involvement in peace process.

We believe that a successful peace process must include civil-society voices. We believe the social and political causes of the war need to be addressed in order for a lasting peace process with social justice, and that civil society needs to be given a profound role in the process in order to raise issues which affect them.


Northern Ireland Assembly:

Joe Byrne MLA SDLP

Brenda Hale MLA - DUP

Chris Lyttle MLA – Alliance Party

John McCallister MLA

Rosie McCauley MLA

Basil McCrea MLA

Conal McDevitt MLA - SDLP

Pat Sheehan MLA Sinn Fein international spokesperson in the assembly

House of Commons:

Joe Benton MP Labour

Tom Blenkinsop MP Labour

Katy Clark MP Labour

David Crausby MP Labour

John Cryer MP Labour

Ian Davidson MP Labour

Rt Hon Jeffrey Donaldson MP DUP

Brian Donohoe MP Labour

Jim Dobbin MP Labour

Mark Durkan MP SDLP

Paul Farrelly MP Labour

Rob Flello MP Labour

Mike Gapes MP Labour

Tom Greatrex MP Labour

Stephen Hepburn MP Labour

Kelvin Hopkins MP Labour

Ian Lavery MP Labour

Diana Johnson MP Labour

Helen Jones MP Labour

Andy Love MP Labour

Paul Maskey MP Sinn Fein

Francie Malloy MP Sinn Fein

John McDonnell MP Labour

Jim McGovern MP Labour

Madeleine Moon MP Labour

Grahame Morris MP Labour

Lisa Nandy MP Labour

Stephen Pound MP Labour

Jim Shannon MP DUP

Jim Sheridan MP Labour

Gerry Sutcliffe MP Labour

Mark Tami MP Labour

Gareth Thomas MP Labour

Dave Watts MP Labour

House of Lords:

Lord Bilston

Lord Brookman

Lord Davies of Coity

Lord (Bill) Jordan, Former General Secretary ITUC

Lord ( John) Monks, Former General Secretary TUC and ETUC

Lord ( Tom ) Sawyer, Former General Secretary of The Labour Party.

Other politicians:

Sean Crowe TD Sinn Fein international spokesperson at Leinster House

Richard Howitt MEP Labour

Andrew Mackinlay, Former Labour MP and Chair of the CO-OP Party in Northern Ireland.

Kathryn Stone, Commissioner for Victims and Survivors, Northern Ireland

Civil Society UK and Ireland:

The Rt Rev Dr Alan Harper OBE FRGS, former Archbishop of Ireland

Rev Dr Leslie Carroll, Minister of the Fortwilliam and Macrory Presbyterian Church

Barclay Bell, Deputy President Ulster Farmer’s Union

Elaine Hampton, Northern Ireland Disabled Police Officer’s Association

Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ)

Reverend Harold Good, former President of the Methodist Church of Ireland

Lesley Mercer, President TUC

Eugene McGlone, President ICTU

Brian Campfield, General Secretary NIPSA

Patricia McKeown, Regional Secretary UNISON Northern Ireland

Jimmy Kelly, Regional Secretary UNITE Ireland

Christine Blower, General Secretary NUT

Mary Bousted, General Secretary ATL

Chris Goodthorpe, President ACCORD

Billy Hayes, General Secretary CWU

Sally Hunt, General Secretary UCU

Ian Lawrence, General Secretary NAPO

Mick Whelan, General Secretary ASLEF

Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary UNITE

Luke Crawley, Deputy General Secretary BECTU

Ellie Reeves, Labour Party NEC

Jim Kennedy, Labour Party NEC

Howard Bennet, UNITE

Micheal Byrne, ASLEF

Stephen Cavalier, Chief Executive, Thompsons Solicitors

Graham Cooper, ASLEF

Graham Croucher, ASLEF

Simon Dubbins, Head of International and Research UNITE

Richard Fisher, ASLEF

Tom Jones, Thompsons Solicitors

Adam Lambert, UNITE

Nicky Marcus, UNITE

Karen Mitchell, RMT

Angela Morillo, UNITE

Tom Murphy, UNITE

Bryan Nott, Simpson Millar Solicitors

Esther Rey, UNITE

Sonia Rowley, NUT

Jessie Russell, UNISON

Nick Sigler, International Officer, UNISON

Jo Stevens, Thompsons Solicitors

Cath Speight, Head of Political GMB

Victoria Phillips, Thompsons Solicitors

Katy Proctor ASLEF

Jo Pryce, UNISON

John Usher, UNITE

Jose Vallejo Villa, UNITE

Chris Weaver, NASUWT

Dennis Wilson, Executive Committee Member UNITE

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