This week, as domestic politics became increasingly chaotic I was reminded that international solidarity is still important as I added my name to the Open Letter to the 14 Kurdish people currently on hunger strike in Strasbourg.

The hunger strikers have one demand: that the Turkish Government complies with their own constitution and international conventions on human rights and ends the isolation of imprisoned Kurdish leader, Abdullah Öcalan. The first hunger striker was Leyla Guven, a Kurdish MP and political prisoner in Turkey, but there are now over 250 people on indefinite hunger strike in Turkish jails, and across the world. A hunger strike is an extreme action of last resort, only taken when the world refuses to listen.

The letter simply states solidarity with the Kurdish hunger strikers in their action to secure the ending of the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan by the Turkish authorities. And affirms that like all democrats signatories believe that change should come about through democratic and peaceful means and governments should abide by their own domestic and international laws. The continuing isolation of Abdullah Öcalan is in contravention of both and as such should be ended. As foreign affairs is reserved I have also written directly to the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary on the matter.

 

Closer to home I was pleased to lend my support to Emma Harpers proposed members bill which aims to tackle the issue of dogs attacking livestock, something commonly referred to in the farming community as ‘livestock worrying’.

 

I visited a farm in Torranyard and heard first-hand the impact the serious issue of dogs attacking livestock has here in Ayrshire, particularly at this time of the year with ewes carrying lambs. You can learn more www.emmaharpermsp.scot/livestock-worrying/

 

The campaign asking dog owners to #TakeALead and keep their animals leashed and under full control whilst in the countryside is underway with the official consultation launch for the bill happening on Thursday 21st February.