THE ACTIVIST-SCHOLARLY NETWORK “FEMINIST AND QUEER SOLIDARITIES BEYOND BORDERS” STANDS AGAINST RACIST ATTACKS ON OUR MEMBER DR FAITH MKWESHA
Dr Faith Mkwesha, Chief Executive Director and Founder of SahWira Africa International, an anti-racist organization, and an organizing group member of the activist-scholarly network “Feminist and Queer Solidarities beyond Borders” has been intimidated by the police in Finland.
Faith’s son was violently detained by Finnish security forces at the metro station in Helsinki on 4th July 2020. The unlawful (without parents or legal support) interrogation of her son, a minor, by the police, followed the attack. Having publicized this unjust, racist and unlawful treatment through her social media accounts, documented through photos and videos of the violence sent to her by witnesses, Dr Faith Mkwesha is now confronted by the police with the accusation of slander for her public expression of sorrow and pain caused by her son’s deep trauma after the attack.
Mkwesha: “l see this as intimidation and harassment by the security and police to silence me as a mother and an active activist in Finland. I need support to tell the police to stop that investigation on a victim of racism, racial violence and bullying. We call the Finnish government to stop racism, racial profiling and protect immigrants against anti-black hate, racism to all people of colour and religions like Muslims. Free speech and equality and human rights must be protected for all”.
The Network “Feminist and Queer Solidarities Beyond Borders” stands in solidarity with Dr Faith Mkwesha and denounces the intimidation behavior of the police and security services. We call upon the Finnish authorities to address everyday racism and defend freedom of speech. We will closely follow the proceedings against Dr Mkwesha and will call for mobilization of democratic forces in Finland and internationally against repression of black people and their democratic rights.
Dr Mkwesha is seeking legal support to defend herself against these accusations. Help her with a donation here.
SOLIDARITY STATEMENT 2
TURKEY: REPEAL THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF WITHDRAWAL FROM ISTANBUL CONVENTION
The activist-scholarly network “Feminist and Queer Solidarities beyond Borders” stands in solidarity with the women’s movement and feminists in Turkey in their struggle against Turkish government’s decision to withdraw from the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, shortly - the Istanbul Convention. We also stand in solidarity with women* and LGBTI+ individuals experiencing gender-based and domestic violence on an everyday basis whose legal protection will diminish as the result of withdrawal.
The Turkish government claims that the Istanbul Convention normalizes homosexuality, endangers family values and promotes norms that are alien to the Turkish society. In fact, activists and scholars in Turkey have been actively involved in the drafting the Convention and Turkey became the first country to ratify the Convention in 2012. The Convention does not aim to promote or demote any values – it simply provides the mechanisms for the protection of women* and all individuals who are exposed to gender-based and domestic violence. And violence cannot be a norm in any society!
The Istanbul Convention is an important international tool to prevent and decrease the pervasive level of violence against women* and LGBTI+ individuals. Providing legal mechanisms of protection from different forms of gender-based violence, the Istanbul Convention has been a symbol of the international women’s movement’s achievements in struggling for the recognition of violence against women* and other individuals as an urgent political issue. Turkey’s withdrawal from the Convention will have severe consequences for women’s rights in Turkey. It is also a dangerous sign for women’s movements elsewhere, since the act of withdrawal challenges their recent and hard-fought achievements and sends a straightforward conservative signal to other governments that have also voiced an intent to take the same route or has not yet ratified the Convention.
In support of Turkish women’s movement we
Urge Turkey to repeal Presidential decree 3718, and announce its recommitment to the Istanbul Convention;
Encourage other member states of the Council of Europe to challenge Turkey’s decision;
Encourage the EU to be more vocal against EU members which plan to take a similar path or which avoid ratification of the Convention;
Call for further solidarity actions from global transnational women’s movement.