Questions to the Prime Minister

LFIQ Joint President Dave Anderson is asking the PM what support the UK Government is giving to develop democratic, independent trade unions in Iraq. The question will be raised in Question Time on 25th October
Dave Anderson has also tabled a written question asking the Prime Minister, what assessment he has commissioned into the findings of the recent Lancet report on deaths in Iraq.
Both answers will be posted as soon as they are available.
Gary Kent

Grim news on education

Peter Beaumont in Baghdad for the Guardian reports that Iraqs school and university system is in danger of collapse in large areas of the country as pupils and teachers take flight in the face of threats of violence. Professors and parents have told the Guardian they no longer feel safe to attend their educational institutions. In some schools and colleges, up to half the staff have fled abroad, resigned or applied to go on prolonged vacation, and class sizes have also dropped by up to half in the areas that are the worst affected. Professionals in higher education, particularly those teaching the sciences and in health, have been targeted for assassination. Universities from Basra in the south to Kirkuk and Mosul in the north have been infiltrated by militia organisations, while the same militias from Islamic organisations regularly intimidate female students at the school and university gates for failing to wear the hijab. Women teachers have been ordered by their ministry to adopt Islamic codes of clothing and behaviour.

Speech by President Talibani to UN General Assembly

Here is the text of the Iraqi Presidents speech to the recent UN General Assembly in which he called on national leaders to support the International Compact for development in his country: We are hopeful that the international community fulfils its obligations by providing the required resources to deal with the key priorities and achieve a common vision in the framework of an economic transformation process for the sustainable development programme.

New peace plan

The Times reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has announced a four-point plan based on neighbourhood committees to report on sectarian militias and government security forces amid scepticism that this effort will succeed. More proof, I say, that the international labour movement should redouble its solidarity with the non-sectarian trade unions and other parts of civil society. Their chances of success will be increased with such external support. Gary Kent