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WGGB supports WGA over Muslim ban

WGGB has supported its sister unions in the United States, who have condemned US President Donald Trump’s immigration ban and expressed solidarity with Iranian Oscar nominee Asghar Farhadi in his proposed boycott of the forthcoming Oscar ceremony.

In a statement, WGGB said “In solidarity with our sister unions in the USA, and in support of freedom of speech and freedom of movement for all people regardless of country of origin or religion, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) fully endorses the WGA’s joint statement on the Muslim ban.

The Writers Guild of America, East and West, in its statement on January 29 2017, said: “it is both unconstitutional and deeply wrong to say that you cannot enter our country because of where you were born or what religion you were born into.”

Speaking on behalf of WGGB, Chair Gail Renard said: “We live in a scary age that is getting scarier by the moment. In a time of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’, we support our affiliate union’s quest for truth and justice.”

WGGB Acting General Secretary Ellie Peers added: “As part of the international trade union movement we strive for equality and diversity, so condemn any government policy that vilifies refugees and openly discriminates against people because of their religion or region.”

Other writers guilds around the world have also come out in support of their American counterparts. They include the French, Indian, Israeli and New Zealand writers guilds. The New Zealand Writers Guild issued a statement on 1 February 2017, saying it was “troubled by recent moves by the US government to discriminate on the basis of birthplace and the religious beliefs of the community people were born into.”

“New Zealand has a centuries-long tradition of welcoming those from other lands, of varying beliefs, and New Zealand writers have always recognised and welcomed differing views for the vitality, depth and richness they bring to our own views of the world and to our creative lives.”

An executive order issued by Trump on Friday 27 January 2017 bans citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen from entry into the United States for 90 days.

Asghar Farhadi, writer-director of The Salesman, which is nominated for the best foreign language Oscar, has said that the ban, which would stop him from travelling to the USA for the Oscars ceremony later this month, was “in no way acceptable” and that, even if he received an exemption, he would not be attending.

Read WGGB’s full statement.