QUAKERS in Britain joined others to hand in a petition at 10 Downing Street urging prime minister Rishi Sunak to scrap the anti-boycott bill. Almost 18,000 peoplehave signed the petition against the Economic Activity of Public Bodies (Overseas Matters) bill.
On 31 August, Grace Da Costa, public affairs and media manager at Quakers in Britain, joined the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Unite the Union, and War on Want to bring the petition to 10 Downing Street. Quakers in Britain and Quaker Roots have also signed a joint statement with over 70 other civil society organisations against the bill.
The government says the bill is designed to make sure public bodies follow UK foreign policy in their purchasing, procurement, and investment decisions. In reality, it will prevent local authorities and universities from making investment and procurement policies that align with their environmental and human rights obligations.This will halt progress in areas such as divestment from fossil fuels and boycotts of goods from illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.
Attending the petition hand-in, Grace Da Costa said: “Quakers have a long history of nonviolent action against global injustices. Boycotts and divestments are key tools in the campaign for equality, peace and sustainability. The government must withdraw this bill to protect human rights in the UK and around the world.”
The bill is about to start the committee stage in the House of Commons, where a group of MPs examine it line-by-line. Quakers in Britain have submitted evidence to the committee highlighting the bill’s negative impact and calling for it to be scrapped.
* Source: Quakers in Britain