‘A party whose leadership encourages war crimes’ – Cllr Asima Shaikh

Dear Colleagues

Many of you will be aware that I resigned my membership of the Labour Party at the weekend. I felt obliged to resign from the party because of the failure of the Labour leadership and front bench to defend international humanitarian law – thereby condoning the commitment of war crimes against the Palestinian people.

The Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions, the Additional Protocols I and II, and the Hague Regulations prohibit collective punishments. That prohibition is recognised as a fundamental right for all civilians and persons who are not engaged in hostilities. The imposition of collective punishments is considered a war crime under international law.

The state of Israel’s imposition of a complete siege, cutting off water, food, and electricity for a population of more than two million, who are overwhelmingly civilians and half of whom are under 18 – that is ‘collective punishment’ and constitutes a war crime. The Israeli military targeting of civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and schools, is a war crime.

The Labour leadership’s condoning of Israel withholding water and power from the population of Gaza, and its failure to support the call for a ceasefire puts the Labour Party in a position where it is encouraging atrocities that are war crimes.

A party whose leadership encourages such war crimes is not one my conscience would permit me to remain a member of.

Following my resignation from the Labour Party, I intend to complete my term of office on Islington Council as an independent councillor and I will continue to represent, to the best of my ability, the interests of all the residents and all the communities of Finsbury Park ward.

For Peace and Justice

Councillor Asima Shaikh
Independent Councillor for Finsbury Park Ward
London Borough of Islington

October 15, 2023

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