Manifesto 2019:A New Internationalism - Prioritising Conflict Prevention and Building Peace

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Prioritising Conflict Prevention and Building Peace

The Conservatives have failed to play a constructive role in resolving the world’s most pressing humanitarian crises, including in Kashmir, Yemen and Myanmar, and the escalation of tensions with Iran. The treatment of the Kurdish people in Syria, including by Turkey, and of the Uighurs in China has been met with total inaction and apathy by the current UK government. In some cases, they set aside regard for international law, including refusing to criticise Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Labour is committed to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine.

There can be no military solution to this conflict, which must be settled on the basis of justice and international law. All sides must avoid taking action that would make peace harder to achieve.

That means both an end to the blockade, occupation and settlements, and an end to rocket and terror attacks. Labour will continue to press for an immediate return to meaningful negotiations leading to a diplomatic resolution. A Labour government will immediately recognise the state of Palestine.

Labour will take all lawful action necessary to counter and confront all forms of terrorism, and we will advocate a long-term multinational political strategy, led by regional actors, to tackle the spread of extremism.

We believe effective diplomacy can address the drivers of conflict and insecurity.

We will:

  • Build support for UN reform, including assessing and developing democratisation initiatives, and improving the engagement of the General Assembly in decision-making to ensure its institutions are more effective at achieving peace.
  • Prioritise our responsibility to prevent conflict by investing in local capacities for peacebuilding in areas of conflict – advocating for political, multilateral strategies for peace.
  • Act immediately to urge negotiations towards a political resolution to conflict wherever it arises, including in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa.

The primary duty of government is to guarantee the security of people in the UK. Labour’s defence policy will be strategic and evidence-led.

Our security at home is made stronger when the security of others elsewhere is guaranteed too.

An incoming Labour government will undertake a Strategic Defence and Security Review to assess the security challenges facing Britain, including new forms of hybrid, cyber and remote warfare. This review will also take account of the climate emergency, and associated threats of resource competition, involuntary migration and violent conflict.

Under the Conservatives:

  • Boris Johnson refuses to publish the report into possible foreign interference by Russia in UK democracy.
  • Trained army personnel have been cut from 102,000 to just over 74,000.
  • Armed forces and their families have been forced to live in sub-standard accommodation.
  • Failing outsourced contracts have not been terminated.
  • Our Armed Forces personnel received below-inflation pay rises for seven years.

The security challenges we face know no borders. Labour will increase funding for UN peacekeeping operations to £100 million. We will maintain our commitment to NATO and our close relationship with our European partners, and we will use our influence at the United Nations to support peace and security worldwide.

Labour supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent. Labour will also actively lead multilateral efforts under our obligations to the Non-Proliferation Treaty to create a nuclear-free world.

Labour’s commitment to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence will guarantee that our armed forces are versatile and capable of fulfilling the full range of roles and obligations.

We will scrap the public sector pay cap, which resulted in a real-terms pay cut for our armed forces, ensure decent housing for forces members and their families, and guarantee better access for all forces children to good quality local schools.

We will consult on creating a representative body for the armed forces, akin to the Police Federation.

Labour will improve opportunities for veterans through access to lifelong learning and training, housing and mental and physical health services, and will seek greater consistency in the implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant by public authorities.

We will pay a lump sum of £50,000 to each surviving British nuclear-test veteran to support them and their families with the health conditions they have suffered as a result of exposure to radiation. We will also ensure that black and Asian soldiers who fought in Britain’s colonial armies receive a full apology and explore ways to compensate them for the discriminatory demob payments they received compared to their white counterparts serving at the same rank in the same regiments.

The UK defence industry is world-leading and Labour will continue to work with manufacturers, unions and export partners in line with Labour’s foreign policy to support innovation in this sector to ensure it maintains its highly skilled workforce and world-class apprenticeship programme.

We are committed to procurement that supports UK defence manufacturing including our aerospace and shipbuilding, alongside a vibrant supply chain that includes the British steel industry and other component manufacturing companies providing good jobs throughout supply chains.

Labour will publish a Defence Industrial Strategy White Paper, including a National Shipbuilding Strategy, that keeps all Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary shipbuilding contracts in the UK, to secure a long-term future for the industry and its workers.

Reducing our carbon footprint can only happen with ambitious emissions reduction targets at the Ministry of Defence, one of government’s biggest energy users. So as part of our Green Industrial Revolution, we will create a Climate Change Sustainability Committee within the department to review the feasibility of increasing the use of sustainable energy in defence, and publish a strategy to accelerate the safe and sustainable recycling of our old nuclear submarines.