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International solidarity

Through our contacts with the TUC, EI and other education unions UCU is able to join in campaigning work at international level on issues affecting human and trade union rights.

We are involved in campaigns concerned with Burma, Colombia, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and the Middle East.

UCU has adopted policy on international greylisting and boycotts (AUT-LA7753)



UCU opposed to the occupation of Iraq and is one of the many UK unions affiliated to the Stop the War Coalition. UCU also believes that Iraqi trade unions have an important role to play in the establishment of a democratic civil society. In Britain, practical support for the Iraqi trade unions is channelled mainly through the TUC.


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Gaza 2014
UCU statement on Gaza

UCU supports the Friends of Bir Zeit University and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which are working to build civil society in Palestine.

Trade Union Friends of Palestine (TUFP) was formed in 1980 with the purpose of mobilising and co-ordinating support for the cause of the Palestinian people within the trade union movement. Its aims are:

  1. To build support within the trade union and labour movement for the rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination within an independent sovereign state.
  2. To build links between British and Palestinian workers in general, and between British trade unions and the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions.


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  • CSC believes that the people of Cuba, like any other nation, must be free to decide their own internal affairs without outside interference. 
  • CSC defends, therefore, Cuba's right to national sovereignty, independence and self-determination.
  • CSC calls for an end to the US trade blockade against Cuba and for the British government to continue to oppose it.

CSC calls for the normalisation of all diplomatic, economic, cultural and scientific relations with Cuba by the US government.


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Colombia's Dr Miguel Angel Beltran Villegas

Success for international solidarity as former Political Prisoner wins Appeal

General secretary Colombia visit 2009

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt visited Colombia in 2009. A short video, shown as part as the keynote speech to Congress, looks at the threat to trade unionists in the country: www.ucu.org.uk/Colombia2009

Challenge EU trade support to Colombia

Justice for Colombia is running a campaign challenging European Union trade preferences for Colombia. Astonishingly, the EU currently provides Colombia with special trade benefits meant only for countries that respect fundamental worker rights and human rights. Colombia clearly does not fit the bill, and JFC and allies in the trade union movement are calling for the EU to open an investigation into the regular abuses perpetrated in Colombia.

Write to your MEP to ask for an inquiry into Colombia's commitment to respect core labour standards as laid down by the ILO.
- find your MEP here
-  (.rtf) file type icon use this model letter (.rtf) [15kb]
 - find out more at the JFC website

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The Venezuela Solidarity Campaign is a broad-based campaign in solidarity with the people of Venezuela. The aims are to:

  • defend Venezuela's sovereignty and independence;  
  • support the right of the Venezuelan people to determine their own future free from external intervention;
  • defend the achivements of th Bolivarian Revolution;
  • provide accurate and up-to-date information in support of democracy and social progress in Venezuela;
  • support and build activity around these objectives throughout Britain, within parliament, regional and local government, the trade unions, amongst women, lesbian and gay communities, Black, Asian and Latin American communities, students and others.


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Guatemala is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for trade unionists, alongside Colombia. Despite both national and international condemnation of the escalating levels of violence, the Guatemalan government has not yet undertaken any serious investigations nor made any arrests in connection with reported incidents, demonstrating near total impunity towards the perpetrators of these continual violations of fundamental human rights in the country.

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Another priority area has been Southern Africa and particularly the campaign for human and trade union rights in Zimbabwe.  UCU is also affiliated to Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA).

Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) campaigns with the people of Southern Africa as they strive to build a better future. Working for peace, democracy and development across the region, ACTSA is the successor organisation to the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

ACTSA influences decision-makers in Britain and Europe on policies that affect Southern Africa. It keeps the region in the public and political spotlight through lobbying, publication of reports and briefings and media work.


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International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR)

UCU also supports the International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR) is an organising and campaigning body with the fundamental purpose of defending and improving the rights of trade unions and trade unionists throughout the world. It aims are:

  • to defend and extend the rights of trade unions and trade unionists throughout the world
  • to collect information and increase awareness of trade union rights and their violations
  • to carry out its activities in the spirit of the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organisation Conventions and appropriate international treaties.


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