GUE/NGL in Bali for #EndWTO
Download the detailed #EndWTO Bali Week of Action Self-Organised activities schedule here.
Download the programme for the GUE/NGL co-organised workshop 'Challenging the WTO and the corporate trade and investment regime: Shifting the debate towards constructing alternatives' here.
Read a short report on the GUE/NGL's participation in Bali week of action here – The “Bali package” approved by the WTO on 7 December: More profits for big corporations and powerful countries.
Left MEPs in Bali for economic justice alternative to WTO
GUE/NGL MEPs have been taking part in the #End WTO Action Week in Bali this week, a coming together of alternative voices from political forces, social movements and NGOs to counter neoliberalism and destructive global trade policies.
Today the GUE/NGL delegation, with the support of several NGOs*, organised a roundtable that focused on the need to intensify efforts on tackling the impunity of TNCs worldwide, those same TNCs whose power has been boosted by the WTO and its global agreements.
There was an exchange of experiences between legislators from Europe and several Asian countries, and representatives of social movements such as Via Campesina, a group with strong roots in Indonesia. The discussion focused on corporations' impact on the rights of people and the damaging consequences TNCs' actions can have on food security, the environment and social rights, and how impunity benefits them.
GUE/NGL MEP Alda Sousa summed up the roundtable event by emphasising the need for continued coordinated action:
“It is important that we continue and intensify the joint work being carried out to tackle the impunity of corporations and work together towards an International Peoples Treaty to defend peoples’ rights over corporations.”
GUE/NGL MEPs Søren Bo Søndergaard and Alda Sousa at the #EndWTO demonstration in Bali.
Alda Sousa em Bali para participar na Semana de Acção contra a Organização Mundial de Comércio (OMC)
A eurodeputada do Bloco de Esquerda, Alda Sousa, está no Bali para participar na Semana de Acção contra a Organização Mundial de Comércio, cuja cimeira oficial terá início amanhã também em Bali.
Sob o mote: “É tempo de derrotar o neoliberalismo”, a delegação do GUE/NGL (grupo parlamentar europeu do BE), integra além da deputada Alda Sousa, os deputados Helmut Scholz (Alemanha) e Søren Bo Søndergaard (Dinamarca), e visa debater alternativas ao comércio livre e à OMC.
À partida para Bali, Alda Sousa afirmou: “O recente tufão nas Filipinas e a horrível devastação que causou, foi tragicamente contrastante com a já habitual indiferença dos líderes mundiais na COP19 perante os efeitos das alterações climáticas sobre as populações que, infelizmente, os conhecem bem demais. Precisamos de uma alternativa radical a esta forma de comércio, que respeite o ambiente e reforce a economia e justiça sociais.”
Além dos debates agendados, os deputados irão também reunir com vários deputados progressistas da Malásia, Correia, Indonésia e Filipinas, e continuarão a chamar a atenção para a situação de Sombath Somphone, uma activista que desapareceu no ano passado no Vietname.
Akbayan Rep calls on Government to Reject Bad Deal in Bali
In a conversation with Secretary today with Department of Trade and Industry Gregory Domingo today, Akbayan Representative Walden Bello warned the government not to agree to what he saw as inequitable agriculture and trade deals brewing at the on-going World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial in Bali, Indonesia.
The two deals that are being pushed in the WTO ministerial are an Agreement for a four-year extension of the “Peace Clause” to the Agreement on Agriculture and a Trade Facilitation Agreement. The former would require developing countries to give up their already minimal support for agriculture without getting the developed countries to give up their massive subsidies for their producers. The latter would essentially provide developed countries greater access to developing country markets without providing developing countries equal benefits as those derived by developed country exporters.
In his conversation with Bello, Domingo admitted that the Peace Clause agreement on the table was unbalanced in favor of developed countries and that the trade facilitation deal benefited mainly big corporations and not small and medium enterprises.
India, one of the developing country leaders, is adamantly against the Peace Clause Agreement, and is supported by Argentina and a number of Latin American countries. In response to Domingo’s opinion that the Philippines will not suffer as much from India under a new agreement, Bello said that it is essential for the Group of 33 to stand behind India because what is at stake is the basic inequity of the proposed deal for all developing countries. He also said that this is not the time for the developing countries to break ranks.
“We have spent so many years building up the unity of the developing countries in such formations as the Group of 33 and Group of 20. It would be a tragedy if we now allowed the developed countries to split us in Bali,” Bello said.
Possibly reflecting pressure from host country Indonesia to get a WTO deal at all costs, Domingo expressed his concern that by not agreeing to the deal, the Philippines, a key player in the Group of 33, might be seen as the country that “brought down the Bali Ministerial.”
Bello countered that saving the Bali Ministerial at the expense of developing country unity would be a a greater setback.
“The US and EU want to pick us off one by one,” Bello said, “and they want to start by isolating oen of the developing countries’ biggest players, India.”
Bello said what the developing countries should fight for should be a “permanent Peace Clause” that would eliminate the developed countries’ agricultural subsidies that “have devastated developing country agriculture,” while allowing developing countries to maintain the relatively smaller subsidies they have that allow their small farmers to survive. He also said the Philippines and other countries must not be seduced by a Trade Facilitation deal that would benefit them less than the developed countries.
Secretary Domingo is slated to meet with Philippine civil society organizations later today in Bali and to brief President Benigno Aquino afterwards on what position the official Philippine delegation will take.
“I have already told the President the Philippines will lose from a Bali deal. I hope Secretary Domingo will support me in this,” Bello concluded. ###
Cities across U.S. Join Global Day of Action to Protest
Dangerous Trade Agreements; Say “Don’t Trade Lives For Profits”
NEW YORK – Today, more than 29 cities across the U.S. are joining a Global Day of Action against toxic trade agreements. The protests were called for by groups in Indonesia as the World Trade Organization begins meetings in Bali, with numerous campaigns in the US organizing events locally. The protests also precede negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) set to begin in Singapore on Dec. 7th.
In Washington, DC, at noon, advocates will deliver a petition signed by more than 2,000 people to the US Trade Representative, demanding that negotiator Stan McCoy stop pressuring countries to accept pharmaceutical policies that protect profits at the expense of people’s lives. They will also deliver a second petition, signed by 42,000, demanding transparency by releasing the text of the agreement.
The protests are occurring shortly after Wikileaks released the TPP’s chapter on intellectual property, which revealed far-reaching and damaging effects on everything from civil liberties and internet privacy to biological patents and copyrights. Criticism around the TPP negotiations’ unprecedented secrecy has since grown, with experts across the United States and the world demanding increased transparency for policymakers, the media and the public.
Protesters in the US have particular concerns around President Obama’s request that Congress grant the administration Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Also known as Fast Track, TPA seeks to expedite the passage of a free trade agreement by undermining constitutional checks and balances, limiting the number of days Congress is allowed to consider the text, and preventing members from making amendments.
Though supporters of Fast Track hoped to see related legislation introduced by the end of the year, recent letters to President Obama signed by 180 members of Congress reflect growing bi-partisan opposition to Fast Track. Representatives have cited the damaging impacts of other trade agreements – such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which resulted in the loss of 600,000 U.S. jobs – as an indication of the need for sufficient congressional oversight and assurance that past mistakes will not be repeated. Members also point out that under the Commerce Clause, Congress has responsibility to regulate trade between nations.
Today’s protests demonstrate U.S. residents’ equal frustration with the dangerous free trade policies of both the past and present. From Honolulu, HI to New York, NY, participants including health practitioners, students, communication workers, and more will gather in public spaces to highlight the loss of jobs, threats to national sovereignty, and economic and health consequences likely to result from trade agreements including the TPP.
Dr. Margaret Flowers requested a meeting with US Assistant Trade Representative Stan McCoy to deliver the petitions and convey her concerns about the direction that the TPP is going. She states, “It is extremely disappointing that the Office of the US Trade Rep is forcing through patent protections that violate international norms in order to protect the profits of large corporations. They are essentially trading away people’s lives at home and abroad for profits. This is unacceptable. We are calling for a respectful, democratic and transparent process.”
Shift Wealth: Economic Democracy
Its Our Economy (www.ItsOurEconomy.US)
Build power and resistance
Popular Resistance (www.PopularResistance.org)
Democratize the Media
Clearing the FOG (Forces of Greed)
Demands increase for international mechanisms to punish transnational corporations’ crimes
International Peoples Treaty: “Defending peoples’ rights against corporate power”
Geneva (Switzerland), Bali (Indonesia) – Social movements, networks and organizations from the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity – who protested today in Bali and in Geneva against the corporate capture of the World Trade Organization (WTO) trade negotiations and the United Nations (UN) Human Rights system – are demanding binding regulations to punish corporate crimes.
“Today in Bali, as governments gather for the WTO Ministerial negotiations, hundreds of activists from around the world are taking to the streets to denounce the free trade system that has facilitated corporate profit while undermining laws that protect environmental and human rights from corporate abuse,” said Lyda Fernanda from the Transnational Institute. She continued saying that “people have shown that there are real alternatives, and have expressed the need for binding regulations instead of more destructive trade deals and corporate collusion with governments and institutions.”
As well as dominating trade negotiations, corporations have also succeeded in capturing the UN Business and Human Rights Forum which takes place from 2 to 4 December in Geneva. Several Transnational Corporations (TNCs) such as Vale, Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold Corporation and others are not only actively participating, but are working with the UN to maintain voluntary guidelines based on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), that are not designed to stop or punish human rights violations by TNCs. “These are non-binding norms, that have no enforcement mechanisms and are based on TNCs own reporting of their supposedly responsible performance, while corporate crimes and human rights abuses are systematic, as shown in the Rana Plaza (Bangladesh) and Marikana (South Africa) tragedies” said Juan Hernandez from Hegoa Institute, Basque Country, as he joined the demonstration in front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. “CSR and non-binding codes have allowed corporations to operate with impunity. For decades, TNCs lobby on the institutions of the Human Rights system continuously dismantled several initiatives to set a binding Treaty and International Court to judge corporate crimes. The abuses that victims are suffering across the globe reaffirm the urgency of such a Treaty and Court” added Professor Hernandez.
To respond to the growing corporate capture of international institutions, social movements, networks and organizations from the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity, are building an International Peoples’ Treaty that “will affirm an alternative vision from the people on law and justice” and in which “the people are the protagonists, political actors and originators of the laws and norms of a political, economic and legal system that will end the current framework of extraordinary privileges and impunity enjoyed by transnational corporations.”
The process for building this Peoples Treaty includes dialogues with several governments who are petitioning to the UN Human Rights Council to institute binding regulations on TNCs. Richard Girard from the Polaris Institute in Canada affirmed that “we will continue mobilizing until these binding norms are in place and until communities and people who have endured corporate crimes are compensated”.
For more information, please contact:
Lyda Fernanda (Spanish and English) – [email protected] / +62 082236635857
Brid Brennan (English) – [email protected]
Richard Girard (English and French) – [email protected] Geneva (Switzerland)
Diana Aguiar (English, Spanish and Portuguese) – [email protected] / +41 787985059
Gonzalo Berron (Spanish) – [email protected]
– International Peoples Treaty – “Defending Peoples’ Rights From Corporate Power”: http://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/?p=4638
– Impunity INC: Reflections on the “Super-Rights” and “Super-Powers” of Corporate Capital: http://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/?p=3322
– Statement to the Human Rights Council in Support of the Initiative of a Group of States for a Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations: http://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/?p=3830
Perdón por los duplicados
PARA DISTRIBUCIÓN INMEDIATA – 3 de Diciembre 2013
Aumentan las demandas de mecanismos internacionales que sancionen los crímenes de las corporaciones transnacionales
Tratado Internacional de los Pueblos: “La defensa de los derechos de los pueblos ante el poder corporativo”
Ginebra (Suiza), Bali (Indonesia) – Organizaciones, redes y movimientos sociales miembros de la Campaña “Desmantelemos el Poder Corporativo y Pongamos fin a la Impunidad” – que protestaron hoy en Bali y Ginebra contra la captura corporativa de las negociaciones de la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC) y del sistema de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas – demandan códigos vinculantes para punir los crímenes de las corporaciones transnacionales.
“Hoy en Bali, mientras los gobiernos se reúnen en la Ministerial de la OMC, cientos de activistas de todo el mundo han salido a las calles para denunciar el sistema del libre comercio que facilita las ganancias de las transnacionales mientras erosiona las leyes que protejan los derechos humanos y el medio ambiente de los abusos corporativos” dijo Lyda Fernanda del Transnational Institute. Agregó además que “los pueblos han mostrado que hay alternativas reales, y expresado la necesidad de reglas vinculantes en lugar de más tratados de comercio y la complicidad de los gobiernos e instituciones con las transnacionales.”
Del mismo modo que dominan las negociaciones del comercio, las corporaciones han tenido éxito en capturar el Foro de Derechos Humanos y Empresas de la ONU que transcurre en Ginebra del 2 al 4 de diciembre. Muchas corporaciones, tales como Vale, Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold Corporation y otras no solo participan activamente en el Foro, sino que trabajan con la ONU para mantener directrices voluntarias basadas en la Responsabilidad Social Corporativa (RSC), que no se destinan a parar y punir las violaciones de los derechos humanos por parte de las transnacionales. “Se trata de códigos no vinculantes, sin mecanismos de aplicación y se basan en los informes de las mismas transnacionales sobre su actuación supuestamente responsable, mientras que los abusos y crímenes corporativos ocurren de manera sistemática como hemos visto en las tragedias de Rana Plaza (Bangladesh) y Marikana (Sudáfrica)”, dijo Juan Hernández del Instituto Hegoa, País Vasco. “La RSC y los códigos voluntarios han permitido a las corporaciones operar con impunidad. Durante décadas, el lobby de las corporaciones sobre las instituciones del sistema de derechos humanos ha bloqueado continuamente las iniciativas para establecer un Tratado con normas vinculantes y una Corte Internacional para juzgar los crímenes de las transnacionales. Los abusos sufridos por las víctimas en todo el planeta reafirman la urgencia de un Tratado y una Corte Internacional” agregó el Profesor Hernández.
Para responder a la creciente captura corporativa, los movimientos, redes y organizaciones sociales de la Campaña Global “Desmantelemos el Poder Corporativo y Pongamos fin a la Impunidad” están construyendo un Tratado Internacional de los Pueblos que “afirma una visión alternativa de Derecho y Justicia¨ según la cual son ¨los pueblos los sujetos políticos protagónicos, de quiénes se origina la ley y las normas para un sistema político, económico y jurídico que acabe con la situación actual de privilegios extraordinarios e impunidad de las corporaciones transnacionales.”
El proceso de construcción del Tratado de los Pueblos incluye diálogos con varios gobiernos que han propuesto al Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU la institución de reglas vinculantes para las TNCs. Richard Girard del Polaris Institute de Canadá afirmó que “continuaremos movilizándonos hasta que estas normas vinculantes sean establecidas y que las comunidades y personas afectadas por crímenes corporativos sean compensadas.”
Para mayor información, por favor contactar:
Lyda Fernanda (español y inglés) – [email protected] / +62 082236635857
Brid Brennan (inglés) – [email protected]
Richard Girard (inglés y francés) – [email protected] Ginebra (Suiza)
Diana Aguiar (inglés, español y portugués) – [email protected] / +41 787985059
Gonzalo Berron (español) – [email protected]
– Tratado Internacional de los Pueblos – “La Defensa de los Pueblos ante el Poder Corporativo”: www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/?p=4627&lang=es
– Impunidad S.A: Herramientas de Reflexión sobre los “Súper Derechos” y los “Súper Poderes” del Capital Corporativo: www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/?p=3319&lang=es
– Declaración ante el Consejo de Derechos Humanos en Apoyo a la Iniciativa de un Grupo de Estados Hacia la Institución de un Instrumento Legal Vinculante sobre Corporaciones Transnacionales: http://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/?p=3832&lang=es
Press statement from Indian Groups:
India’s Defense of the Poor and Hungry Does not Mean Collapsing the Bali WTO Ministerial!
On the occasion of the Ninth Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Bali, Indonesia, several farmers’ organisations, trade unions, mass organisations and peoples’ campaigns resolved to support the Indian Government’s position to not trade away national food security.
The group welcomes the decision of the Indian Cabinet on 28th November to reject any peace clause that does not guarantee a permanent solution. The peace clause has been widely opposed by the Chairs of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce and Agriculture, several political parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left parties, and mass organisations.
However, the group cautioned the Indian negotiating team headed by Commerce Minister Mr. Anand Sharma, to not bow to any pressure to weaken India’s position on defending and upholding national food security as a sovereign right. The group declared that the safeguarding and promotion of the country’s food security, rural employment and livelihoods are non-negotiable, and that food security cannot be ensured without supporting agricultural production by small and marginal farmers
The group reminds the WTO members that no country needs to be defensive about protecting the right to food and fighting hunger in their countries. And that aggressively upholding the rights of its citizens is not tantamount to collapsing the ministerial talks. On the contrary, such pressure tactics must be exposed as a conspiracy to keep people hungry and poor.
It was decided that the group would closely monitor the negotiations during the ministerial meeting to ensure that the interests of the poor and hungry are not compromised in any way.
Bhartiya Kisan Union
Bharatiya Krishak Samaj
Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh
Focus on the Global South India
Great Mission Group Consultancy
Public Services International
Right to Food Campaign
Shram Seva Nyas
South Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Movements
Third World Network India
Time is now for decisive blow to neoliberalism: GUE/NGL in Bali for week of action against WTO
A GUE/NGL Delegation is en route to Bali, Indonesia, today for the 'End WTO Bali Week of Action' where alternatives to free trade and the WTO will be debated.
GUE/NGL MEPS Helmut Scholz, Søren Bo Søndergaard, and Alda Sousa will take part in the week of protests and debates from 1 – 6 December organised by Gerak Lawan (People’s Movement against Neocolonialism and Imperialism), the Bali WTO Network, and Social Movements for an Alternative Asia (SMAA).
Helmut Scholz said: “There is a long history of activism against the protagonists that push for complete trade liberalisation, either within the WTO, or through bilateral free trade agreements like the TTIP or EU Free Trade Agreements with Latin American and ASEAN countries. Now we need to build on this momentum and keep developing alternatives like the People's Treaty for Binding Obligations for TNCs, the Alternative Trade Mandate (ATM) and Proposals for Just Investment.”
The GUE/NGL Delegation has co-organised a roundtable discussion with the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity and Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI). This will take place on 5 December and will see the GUE/NGL MEPs and speakers from social movements discuss ending corporate led trade and investment agreements, stopping the impunity of transnational companies (TNCs) and how to shift the debate towards constructing alternatives.
Søren Bo Søndergaard commented: “The WTO, along with international institutions and governments, promotes increased trade liberalisation as an inevitable response and solution to the current crisis, alongside austerity. But we know that the consequences of these policies are disastrous for peoples’ livelihoods and for the planet.”
Alda Sousa said: “The recent typhoon in the Philippines and the horrific devastation it caused was tragically juxtaposed with the business as usual indifference from world leaders at the COP19 to the effects of climate change that people living in the Global South already know all too well. We need a radical alternative form of trade, one that respects the environment and forges economic and social justice.”
The GUE/NGL MEPs will also meet with progressive parliamentarians from Malaysia, Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines, and they will continue the Group's work on highlighting the plight of Sombath Somphone, an activist who disappeared last year in Vientiane.
Contacts in Bali (numbers active from 30 November):
Paul-Emile Dupret: + 6282118738780
Renato Soeiro: +62821 1873 9556
GUE/NGL Press Contacts in Brussels:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group
The #EndWTO Bali Week of Action is organised by:
Gerak Lawan – a national coalition in Indonesia, formed in 2005, which includes peasants, migrants, fisherfolk, women, youth, human rights lawyers, and many others.
The Bali WTO Network – a coordination of local movements in Bali.
Social Movements for an Alternative Asia (SMAA) – a newly formed coordination of social movements in Asia, including La Via Campesina, World March of Women, Migrant Forum in Asia, Jubilee South-APMDD, Focus on the Global South, Alliance of Progressive Labor, Korean Confederation of Trade Unions, several other trade unions, water warriors, and many others.
#EndWTO Bali Week of Action Programme Summary
1 December: SMAA Assembly and arrival of Youth Caravan signalling the opening of the week
2 December: Economic Justice Assembly
3 December: Global Day of Action march with international speakers
4 December: Peoples Tribunal
5 December: Self-organised activities day 1 (including GUE/NGL co-organised workshop on 'Challenging the WTO and the corporate driven Trade and Investment Regime')
6 December: Self-organised activities day 2 (including Asia Pacific Network on Goof Sovereignty (APNFS) workshop on 'Reclaiming Resources, Reclaiming Rights')