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2014 National LGBT Conference
30 July 2014

Conference is horrified that in July 2014 bombing raids are targeting 1.7 million Palestinians trapped under siege in Gaza, and shocked at the wave of racism and violence targeted against Palestinians. Following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli youths, Israeli leaders incited racism and hatred. Benjamin Netanyahu called for revenge and described Palestinians as ‘human animals’. This is the third military assault on Gaza in six years.

Conference believes that UNISON must urgently step up its work to implement its policy, as determined by National Delegate Conference (NDC), in favour of peace and justice for the Palestinian people, and in particular to further our role in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Conference welcomes proposals adopted by the National Executive Council (NEC)’s International Committee in September 2013 to:

1. Make the Russell Tribunal on Palestine findings available through the UNISON website;

2. Work with Communications to set up a ‘mini-campaign’ website aimed at promoting UNISON policy on BDS;

3. Work with the Pensions Unit to look at how the governance structures for the Local Government Pension Fund can be used to implement UNISON policy on divestment;

4. Work with the Services to Members Committee to issue guidance to UNISON’s affinity partners.

Conference welcomes the adoption on 19 November by the international committee of its work programme for 2015 which identifies Palestine as a priority and includes working with Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) to develop a campaign tool kit for pension fund divestment from companies complicit in the occupation that can be taken up by branches, and support to PSC on developing the trade union network launched in September 2014.

Conference further notes that the NEC was instructed by 2012 and 2013 NDC resolutions to develop guidance for branches on campaigns to stop public service contracts being let to companies which are complicit in Israeli violations of international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention, for instance by contracts which service the illegal settlements, construct the Apartheid Wall or provide security in prisons holding Palestinians illegally transferred from the Occupied Territories. However, guidance has not been issued.

Conference welcomes the continuing support of UNISON for PSC and the ‘No to Pinkwashing’ group.

However, it believes that there remains an urgent need for practical steps to implement the NDC decision on guidance for branches regarding campaigns on public service contracts.

It therefore instructs the national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) committee to raise these issues with the NEC, to continue to work with the NEC and International Department to raise LGBT human rights issues as part of UNISON’s work on Palestine and to continue to:

A. Publicise the work of PSC, and encourage LGBT people to become members;

B. Promote UNISON policy and the information for members, pension fund representatives and branch guidance when available;

C. Develop its links with Palestinian LGBT organisations and assist PSC to build links with LGBT communities;

D. Give appropriate support to the ‘No to Pinkwashing’ campaign.