vic_teachers_strike.jpg  AEU Mambers Demonstrating Last Year Angelo Gavrielatos, President of the AEU - the Australian teachers union condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza and called for international solidarity The AEU has had a very active year with many strikes which have been reported on this blog to defend education services and teachers' pay and connditions and they have won significant concessions. At their annual conference, Gavrielatos said: "We have always maintained the view that the well being of a child, whether s/he is in our classroom, school, state, country or anywhere else in the world, is fundamental teacher business. 

"It is within that context that I wish to open conference by expressing particular sadness at the reported killing of some 300 children in Gaza since the commencement of Israel’s military campaign on Gaza on 27 December."

The conference went on to move a motion on international solidarity which incluced the effects of the eonomic crisis on children in 'developing' countries and the situations in Fiji and Afghanistan as well as Gaza. The resolution is pasted below:

Global Financial Crisis

 

The AEU Federal Conference acknowledges and supports the Global Unions Washington Declaration November 2008 which notes that:

 

The global financial crisis compounds food crises in developing countries resulting from unprecedented increases to food and commodity prices. Further, it also occurs against the background of accelerating climate change which, without rapid action, will affect the poorest across the globe most severely, especially vulnerable groups including women and children.

 

History has shown that crises on this scale lead to social and political instability with unpredictable and often tragic results.  This most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s must mark an end to an ideology of unfettered financial markets, where self-regulation has been exposed as a fraud and greed has overridden rational judgement to the detriment of the real economy.

 

Now is the time to move forward with a “Green New Deal” to create jobs through alternative energy development and energy saving and conservation. Economic recovery  can be stimulated by  environmentally responsible investment designed to create green jobs  Long term and productivity enhancing investment in public infrastructure – schools, hospitals, clean water and sanitation as well as public transport and energy – will not only help national economies to avert or climb out of recession, but will also lay the basis for millions to overcome poverty.

 

Development assistance budgets need to be maintained to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to help meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the adoption of binding commitments and a timetable to meet the UN target of 0.7 % of GDP. This is the time to invest in people – in their education and health, and in care for the very young and the aged. 18 million new teachers must be trained just to meet the goal of quality education for all primary age children by the year 2015. Millions more teachers and instructors are needed for vocational education and training for skills that underpin the real economy and for retraining of working people as economies restructure.

 

Attack on Gaza

 

Since the commencement of Israel’s military campaign on Gaza on 27 December over 1000 Palestinians have been killed, at least one third of whom are children. The conflict has also seen the reported killing of 13 Israelis, 10 of whom are soldiers at least 4 of whom were killed by “friendly fire’.

 

While condemning the unlawful rocket attacks by Hamas and other militias, these actions do not legitimise nor legalize the actions of Israel which continue to impose a collective punishment on the people of Gaza.

 

According to the UN Special Raporteur for the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967, the unlawful blockade of Gaza, which has inflicted ‘a massive form of collective punishment”,  and the disproportionate use of force by the occupying forces  constitute violations of International Humanitarian Law, International Human Rights Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

 

The Israeli bombing of UN schools, hospitals and a university is particularly condemned.

 

Afghanistan

 

The AEU reaffirms its position that Australia’s involvement in the military conflict in Afghanistan is a direct result of our subservient role in the US alliance.  The AEU believes our national interests are better served by forming closer ties with our neighbouring countries.  The AEU finds the actions and ideology of the Taliban repulsive.  However, the AEU has a long-standing belief that major problems are not solved by violent or military means.

 

The AEU believes that all wars, are wars against children, women and innocent civilians.  Federal Conference calls on the Rudd Government not to escalate or increase its military involvement in this conflict, and should withdraw Australia’s current troop commitments.  The AEU will write to the Government, other unions, the ACTU and anti-war organisations to express its view.

 

AEU Action

a)      Federal Conference calls on Prime Minister Rudd and all world leaders to take strong action to end the bloodshed of innocent people and assist in achieving a just and lasting solution and AEU members are encouraged to support the Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA) appeal for Gaza. 

 

b)      The AEU will support the development and implementation of EI’s Action Plan for Education and the Economy - a plan to protect education from the economic crisis and to mobilize political support for investment in education as a critical element in economic recovery.

c)      The AEU and its Branches and Associated Bodies will promote and encourage participation at national, state and school/college level in :

 

1.      Education for All (EFA) Global Action Week taking place from 20-26 April 2009 with the theme. "Youth and Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning"

 

2.      World AIDS Day, 1 December 2009 and associated activities during AIDS awareness week in the week leading up to World AIDS day,

 

3.      UNICEF Day for Change on 28 October 2009, Universal Children's Day.

 

4.      Activities supporting women and the Girl Child on International Women’s Day,  8 March 2009

5.      World Teachers Day celebrated in Australia on Friday 30 October 2009.

 

6.      International Anti-Poverty Day and the associated Australian Anti-Poverty Week.

 

7.      International Day Against Homophobia on 17 May 2009.

 

d)       That the Fiji military regime be condemned for their ongoing denial of democracy and human rights to the people of Fiji, in particular, we express concern that the President of the FTA and COPE, Mr Tevita Koroi has been disciplined and suspended from his position of principal on allegations of speaking out against the Fiji regime.

 

The AEU calls on the Fiji Public Service Commission to immediately reinstate Mr Koroi to his position.

 

e)        That the AEU fund a delegate to the Human Rights GLBT Conference in Copenhagen being held in conjunction with the OutGames. Branches and Associated Bodies are encouraged to also consider sending delegates.


 

 

 

f)         While the AEU commends the recent United Nations statement condemning violence, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatisation and prejudice directed against GLBTI people in all countries, the statement still falls short of AEU policy.

Accordingly, the AEU will continue to raise with Education International the issue of those countries which continue to impose criminal penalties against people because of their sexuality or gender identity and work toward achieving relevant policies in the teacher unions of those countries.