Act Now National BoycottTagged as: anti-militarism repression social_struggles
Fear for M&S shareholder's investments as Act Now Human Rights group goes National with their Boycott campaign
Act Now launches its National boycott against stores selling garments that are made in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has one of the world's worst human rights records and continues to illegally detain hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in detention centers.
As the Sri Lankan Government fails to implement it's promise made on 23rd May to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in May to resettle Tamil refugees from internment camps within six months, Human Rights GroupAct Now has been actively targeting M&S stores as part of it's campaign to encourage British consumers to boycott "Blood Trade' Garments. On the 21st and 22nd of November, activists will be leafleting across London and beyond, including M&S stores in London, Oxford, Bristol, Coventry, Gloucester, Manchester and Exeter etc. Retailers currently involved include M&S, Tesco and Next, whose cheap clothing imports are subsidised by the GSP+ agreement. M&S is one of the largest, having a substantial investment in garment factories in Sri Lanka. Tamil rights campaigner Thangathurai Karikalan (son of Mr. Nadarajah Thangathurai who was murdered in Welikada Prison in the infamous 'Black July' of riots in Sri Lanka in 1983) welcomed the campaign saying; ‘Many people may be responding to M&S's celebrity studded Christmas advertising campaign. They may not realise that they are unwittingly participating in trade which supports the Sri Lanka Government who are still holding up to 250,000 Tamil refugees (an estimated 50,000 of whom are children) in concentration camps where Human Rights and basic needs such as food and shelter are being denied.’ Starting from a single M&S store, Act Now's "Blood Garment Trade' boycott has grown to a national event to be held on 21st and the 22nd November, day's before the deadline of the Sri Lankan Government’s promise to the UN to have resettled the camp detainees. Ten thousand leaflets will have been distributed thus far and the group are proud of the response of the British Public who were shocked that such camps could still exist in the 21st century; One consumer reacted;"Why does the World allow such a Government (Sri Lanka) to get away with it?" and another shopper promised; "I will look at the labels of garments from now on. If it says Sri Lanka, I won't touch it!" A recent EU report highlighted Sri Lanka's failure to meet international Conventions on human rights. This may result in the loss of the EU's GSP+ agreement and it’s economic benefits ($100 million+) to Sri Lanka.Act Now also wishes to persuade private industry to withdraw from trade with Sri Lanka until the latter respects human rights. Act Now will be contacting companies importing Sri Lankan goods and services, asking them to cease. Act Now Director Tim Martin made international headlines earlier this year when he undertook a hunger strike in support of the Tamil people which ended after 21 days only when offered support by celebrities such as Sian Evans of Kosheen and politicians like Tony Benn. In announcing the campaign he said "M&S promotes itself as an eco-friendly company but is clearly not human-rights friendly as they clearly have no regard for the approximately 300,000 Tamil civilians locked up in camps whilst their factories churn out profits (the tax on which props up a genocidal Sri Lankan Government’)... ‘A recent statement from an M&S representative said 'It is important to note that we support all Sri Lankan people, across the whole community.' We fail to see how the Tamil community benefit from their activities since only a Government hell-bent on mistreating its Tamil citizens does so" Act Now is raising awareness about the suffering of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and is seeking urgent action from the International Community monitor and improve conditions in the camps and ultimately to close them down. Act Now was set up by a group of British former humanitarian aid workers lobbying MPs and to raise public awareness of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka and currently has the support of at least 55 MPs. For further information see http://www.act-now.info
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