World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Harmeet Sooden Was Working With ISM

Harmeet Sooden Was Working With Int. Solidarity Movement

Two of the four Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) hostages in Iraq of whom a video was released today have been in Palestine working as Palestinian Solidarity activists. Tom Fox (54) worked with CPT Hebron and participated in demonstrations against the apartheid Wall in Jayyous. Harmeet Sooden (32) a Canadian citizen who had been living in New Zealand, came to Palestine to join the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in December 2004 and stayed until January 2005.

He worked in solidarity with local Palestinian people, mostly in Nablus and Jenin. While in Jenin, he worked with a group of ISM activists who planted Olive trees on the "Swithart" farm outside Jenin, He was committed to come to Palestine for three months to join the ISM again at the beginning of December 2005 as a long term activist for the liberation of Palestine from Israeli occupation, but first decided to join a two week CPT delegation to Iraq.

Palestinians in Ramallah will hold a demonstration tomorrow in solidarity with all four kidnapped peace activists and to appeal for their release. The demonstration will be attended by notable Palestinian religious and resistance figures.

Mustafa Jayyousi a local Palestinian activist in Jayyous who knew Harmet said: "When he worked in Jayyous, Harmeet was part of a group who went down to the gates everyday with local farmers to help them access their lands made inaccessible by the wall. He also participated in demonstrations with the people of Jayyous against the apartheid Wall in Jayyous".

Mohammed Ayyesh a local Palestinian activist in Balata camp, Nablus said of Harmeet: "I was touch with Harmeet and was looking forward to him coming here to work next week. We must do everything we can to secure his release".

In an email to his friends Harmeet described the purpose of the four-person team"s work in Iraq as: "providing humanitarian aid in the form of training and documentation of non-violent responses to lethal inter-group conflict. We will also record the current conditions in Iraq, meeting with representatives of NGOs, Christian and Muslim clerics, Iraqi human rights groups and others". He also recounted a story from Iraq: "A little 3-year old girl, Alaa, ran up to me and gave me a big hug me yesterday. She reminds me of my niece. She, however, does not see as my niece sees. She sustained severe shrapnel injuries to her abdomen and micro-fragments peppered her eyes, face and body during a US military attack in May on al Qaim, Iraq. Her mother lost an eye. She lost two brothers and several other relatives".

Some of his friends who worked with Harmeet in the ISM appealed to the kidnappers for his release:

Donna: "Since he was back in New Zealand, Harmeet formed a new Palestinian Solidarity Group on Auckland University campus and organised speakers and forums about Palestine. He is a very shy, quiet guy, but very committed and hoped to return to Palestine next month."

Asa: "Harmeet is a great person - we worked in solidarity with the Palestinian people together. He cares deeply about the plight of all oppressed people and is unequivocally against the occupation of Iraq and Palestine. He has also been involved in work around the conflict over Kashmir and in favour of the right of the people there for self determination. He would never act as a spy for any government. He is a sound peace activist."

Patrick Connors: "I know Harmeet from when he volunteered with ISM in Palestine last winter. Harmeet is a very good, serious, committed person. CPT is a solid organization, with serious training and procedures, that does great things.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>