Dr. Mona with Irish trade unionists in Derry

I had the honor to participate in the “Building our Power – Organising for Global Solidarity” in July. I was the keynote speaker and updated the conference participants about the current situation in Gaza and what we in MECA do on the ground to help people to remain steadfast and to survive in the face of the unjust Israeli occupation.

I attended the event to strengthen the links with Irish trade unions and to emphasize the role of the global solidarity movement to make the change in the world one day.

I will take the message of the conference back with me to Gaza and let people know “You are not alone, you are part of a larger world movement for freedom and justice.”

Over 80 trade union delegates from right across the island, gathered to discuss the movement’s global solidarity work and to hear from a range of national and international speakers.

Eamon McCann welcomed people to Derry on behalf of the Derry Trades Council.

Kevin Callinan, Congress Vice President, welcomed people to Derry and gave the Opening Address.

Emily Paulin of the ITUC Global Organising Academy, discussed how Unions have come a long way in “Building our Power” since the last ITUC Congress in 2014.

Following the recent Irish Government report to the UN High Level Political Forum in New York, delegates heard from Coalition 2030 rep, Valerie Duffy on Ireland’s Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. We then had a session considering how best to integrate the goals into our trade union work, not least Goal 8 on decent work.

There was a focus on Asylum seekers and the recent decision by the Irish Government to grant access to the labour market for people awaiting a decision after 9 months. Delegates heard from the Lucky Khambule, Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, and Michael O’Neill, head of legal at IHREC and also from John O’Neill and Philani Dube about the work of Belfast City of Sanctuary.

Finally, we heard about the humanitarian situation in Gaza from Dr. Mona El-Farra, Director of Gaza Projects of the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA). This was followed by a discussion on our ongoing Palestine solidarity work.

There was also a Rohingya Photographic Display at the Summer School and we heard from Haikal, a representative of the Rohingya Community in Ireland.