Slavery alert as Iraq crisis deepens

Originally posted on A Riverside View:

“She said she is going to be sold as a slave this afternoon, for $10. What can a father say to that? How can I help? We all feel so useless.”1

Can you imagine hearing news like this? This is the phone call that Khandhar Kaliph received from his daughter earlier this week. He has been despairing over the safety of his child ever since and shockingly, this is not an isolated case.

UN officials have reported that as many as 1,500 people fleeing religious persecution in Iraq have been captured and may be at risk of modern slavery.2

Earlier this month, tens of thousands of people belonging to a religious minority group rejected by the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) fled their homes in terror as militants took over their town.3

Hundreds of these women have reportedly now been kidnapped and are being held inside a police station…

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Ipswich Conservative News and Action

Councillor Cenci reports here

Normally August would be a quiet time, a month in which to catch one’s breath and to reflect.

However, we Ipswich conservative activists have been working several times a week to talk to residents, listen to their problems and views but most of all have been busy holding the labour administration to account.

There are so many decisions they are taking that appear to be riding roughshod over the thinking and wishes of anybody else. I can forgive them for not wanting to indulge their opposition but this is not what I am alluding to here.

Let’s take the Ravenswood proposal. Nearly 100 council homes that the local residents are up in arms about – see my last post and yet the language and stance shows they have already made up their minds about this.

The issue for me is one of common sense – In a few years time those new homes may very well have been bought by the tenants under the right to buy which will mean we will lose an asset, and the tenant will have bought at a huge discount, whereas putting funds into shared ownership or the Help to Buy supports people in owning their own home from the beginning. But then that would be more inspiring and empowering, wouldn’t it?!

Developers have been put off in the past by the Labour administration’s insistence on things like 35% social housing to be included, which means that Labour now use under-building as an excuse to grow their share of the vote with large council developments. The public meeting showed that others disagree with them and would prefer to see help in other ways, alongside building a few council houses but peppered around the town. This way integration doesn’t have to wait for tenants to buy their house.

Before that we had the call in on Argyle street concerning the Bangladeshi Support Centre. This has caused many problems within the community because it seems that Cllr Ellesmere was dealing with only one part of the group whereas another part of the group was also hoping to benefit from the site – I won’t go into too much detail here – and had no knowledge of what the Labour administration were doing.

This means that Cllr Ellesmere is having to rethink the whole idea – something that wouldn’t have been necessary if he had opened up the lease to all, using a competitive process. The whole point of my call in was because of my concern about fairness and openness but I didn’t expect my case to be proved immediately afterwards. It was because of the publicity brought by the call in that other parts of the Bangladeshi community were made aware.
This has caused hurt to a wonderful group of people and that is why I have left them to it. It is far better for there to be a win/win situation rather than have even more newspaper articles. I will not be giving out any press releases on this subject and just hope that Cllr Ellesmere does the right thing.

Overview and Scrutiny (who agreed to look at this as part of my request at the call in) can ensure that this never happens again.

On a lighter note, we had a stall at the Ipswich maritime festival for all 3 days of the event and covered by conservative councillors and activists. We gave out Ben’s newsletters, surveys and balloons. My own grandson proudly took one of the balloons but burst it within an hour, which brought a few tears so I made sure it was replaced the next day. I went again but this time with my whole family on the Sunday, which gave me much joy as I watched my grandchildren having a great time at the children’s fun fair and making clay pots to take home to paint. It was a great event – and I never went near the beer tent!

Last but not least, I have instigated a new regular community activity for Stoke park in the Cambridge Drive area. A resident brought up something that had been bothering me for quite a while, pertaining to that one part of my ward, which was a lack of a community centre. I asked an IBC community development officer to look at providing some activities at the Chantry Gym Centre on Birkfield drive and to cut a long story short, I will be seeking funds at the next Area Committee meeting, which I know will be supported by my fellow stoke park councillors. This will pay for the hire of the room, for a year, and we hope to bring in a variety of leisure activities for those that live nearby – crafts, pilates, tea dances, film evenings and perhaps a lunch. Look out for the flyers and posters which will be advertising it soon.

The northern fringe was an important paper at the last executive and you can see the film of the meeting courtesy of Ipswich Spy. However I will blog in more detail about this when it is brought to the next full council meeting 17th September. Ben Gummer spoke at the executive as we are concerned about the masterplan and infrastructure – so watch this space.

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Ipswich Maritime Festival 2014

The Ipswich Star reports that

The Celebrate Ipswich extravaganza featured a new five-day beer and beverage festival, a regatta programme enjoyed by young and old and a string of stalls showcasing jewellery, wooden models and locally produced food.

There was something for everybody, from an exciting car show on Monday to a fancy dress day on Friday.

Visitors were also treated to a Viking re-enactment and had the chance to shop at a Suffolk Farmers Market.

More here.

There’s also a report of the event on DullNews.com here.

Ipswich Conservatives had a stall at the Ipswich Maritime Festival which made a roaring trade.

Ben Gummer was in attendance with his wife Sarah. Father to be, Ben Gummer spent a lot of time around the festival proudly showing off his wife’s baby bump.

Ben Gummer MP with wife Sarah  by the Ipswich Conservatives stall on Saturday.

Ben Gummer MP with wife Sarah by the Ipswich Conservatives stall on Saturday.

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Stop Ipswich Turbines

Did you hear it too?
Peter Evans’ letter says it all

He makes the point that at the recent Sausage and Beer Festival at Jimmy’s Farm, very close to the turbine site, the commentators’ voices could be heard very distinctly all over South West Ipswich – up to Tesco’s and beyond Asda – not to mention the bands.

Whilst no-one is pretending that turbine noise would be the same, it was a perfect demonstration of how far the noise can travel when there is NO WIND, as was the case on the Saturday. With a South Westerly, which is the norm for this time of year, it would have been even louder.

PfR tells us the noise will not be a problem, nor the flicker, but what they mean is they would theoretically just scrape by within the Government guidelines. Those guidelines allow for a considerable amount of noise and flicker, and they don’t even consider the effect of infrasound.

Infrasound is an issue that the Australians and US citizens have been researching for some time. In this country we have some serious stalwarts who are advanced physicists campaigning relentlessly and at last there is some slight acknowledgement of their case -

Last week the Scottish Express reported that the Scottish Government commissioned a report into the effects of noise, flicker and infrasound.

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Have your say on proposed changes to children’s centre services across Suffolk

With 2 months to go – don’t forget to have your say!

Children’s centres are an essential part of delivering early support to children, young people and their families in Suffolk. We are committed to continuing to deliver high quality, effective children’s centres services to families across the county. To achieve this we have to make sure that services are delivered in ways different communities want to access them and that we make the best use of buildings we have across the county.

Go on the Suffolk County Council website to read the proposals and have your say here..

The closing date for responses is 16 October 2014

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Six Hundred gather in London for Iraq prayer vigil

Prayers were said outside the Houses of Parliament in a sign of solidarity for Iraq’s persecuted Christians.

Six Hundred Christians have dropped to their knees in a minute’s silence held in London’s Parliament Square to pray for the tens of thousands of Iraqi Christian’s who’ve been forced to flee their homes from Islamic militant group IS. More here.

The Catholic Herald reports here,

Organised by ‘7:14’, a group that organises occasions in which Christians publicly pray together for the nation and its leaders, 600 Christians (mainly Evangelical Protestants, often of a distinctly charismatic flavour) came to intercede together before God for their persecuted middle-eastern brethren-in-Christ. Many were wearing red jackets, jumpers, sweaters and other pieces of clothing in conscious symbolism of the blood of Christians martyred in the plains of Nineveh.

From 18:45, people started coalescing together in the centre of the lawn just opposite the Palace of Westminster, and just before Big Ben struck 19:00, we were called to gather more closely together around two young men who told us the plan: to pray independently for Christians in Iraq, either individually or (as was more expected) in groups, and intercede for three blessings in particular that had been identified by Canon Andrew White, the Anglican Vicar of Baghdad. These were ‘provision’ of food, water, and other supplies they need to survive), ‘protection’ against the violence the barbaric thugs of ISIS, and ‘perseverance’ through their suffering.

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Slavery alert as Iraq crisis deepens

“She said she is going to be sold as a slave this afternoon, for $10. What can a father say to that? How can I help? We all feel so useless.”1

Can you imagine hearing news like this? This is the phone call that Khandhar Kaliph received from his daughter earlier this week. He has been despairing over the safety of his child ever since and shockingly, this is not an isolated case.

UN officials have reported that as many as 1,500 people fleeing religious persecution in Iraq have been captured and may be at risk of modern slavery.2

Earlier this month, tens of thousands of people belonging to a religious minority group rejected by the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) fled their homes in terror as militants took over their town.3

Hundreds of these women have reportedly now been kidnapped and are being held inside a police station in northern Iraq.4 Without an immediate intervention, they and thousands more like them could be at risk of modern slavery.

The world’s attention has been focussed on Iraq for a while, but now the time has come for action. By bringing this case to the attention of the International Criminal Court, we can help secure justice for these women and their families. Once you’ve signed your name, will you forward this email to your friends, asking them to do the same?

Demand an urgent investigation and trial of those suspected of enslaving Iraqis here..

UPDATE:
Tragically, the number of Iraqis vulnerable to modern slavery under the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) has now risen to as many as 3,000 women and children.

There has been 43,769 emails sent to Philip Hammond (the current President of the UN Security Council) calling on him to help take slavery in Iraq to the International Criminal Court. Walk Free believes this incredible response has prompted his office to block their server. So now they’re going to deliver the signatures to him in person, as a petition.

1 http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/11/yazidis-tormented-fears-for-women-girls-kidnapped-sinjar-isis-slaves
2 http://www.newsweek.com/women-and-teens-suffer-barbaric-rape-islamic-state-fighters-264523
3 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/13/yazidi-women-abudcted_n_5676151.html
4 http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/10/us-iraq-security-yazidis-killings-idUSKBN0GA0FF20140810

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