An Iraqi teachers' union leader who has been the target of assassins got a standing ovation at the NASUWT annual conference on Monday.
Mohsin Ali told hundreds of delegates at the teachers' conference that he and colleagues were constantly at risk - he survived an assassination attempt only months ago.
He has been president of the Iraqi Teachers Union for two years and he said his key problem was his government's interference in his union's decision-making.
Mr Mohsin had initially been refused permission by the Iraqi government to attend the Birmingham conference but NASUWT and the TUC successfully intervened.
Through an interpreter he said: "I want to thank the NASUWT for inviting us and helping overcome the hurdles.
"We want to continue solidarity and put the spotlight on the Iraqi government."
He said he was elected to his job in January 2010 and his government had put pressure on him and the rest of his union's leadership to toe the government line. The minister for education issued a memo to not recognise me as president of the ITU."
An Education International training course run since 2010 now has 293 trade unionists, including 98 female colleagues.
He said: "We shall not give up. The push for democracy will continue."