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Date: Fri, 13 Dec 96 22:04:56 CST
From: rich%pencil@YaleVM.CIS.Yale.Edu (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Int'l Women's Conference Declaration on APEC

/** headlines: 133.0 **/
** Topic: IWCA Declaration [Rejection of APEC] **
** Written 8:44 AM Dec 12, 1996 by newsdesk in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 5:10 AM Dec 10, 1996 by jagdish@igc.apc.org in women.news */
/* ---------- "IWCA declaration" ---------- */

From: "Jagdish Parikh" <jagdish@igc.org>

Date: Tue, 10 Dec 1996 17:34:48 +0800 (HKT)
From: kakammpi <infolink@portalinc.com> (by way of daga <daga@hk.super.net>)

Statement of the International Women's Conference on APEC

Shalom Center, Manila, Philippines, 15-16 November 1996

Asia-Pacific Women Reject APEC and call for a People-to-People Cooperation

We, the women of Asia and the Pacific Rim, reject APEC because the free trade policies it promotes blatantly lead to the violation of people's human rights, loss of democracy and social justice, environmental degradation and increased impoverishment of peoples.

In the name of trade liberalization, our governments have put the interests of transnational corporations (TNCs) and international financial institutions at the expense of the interests of people. Economic growth has created more inequalities within the countries, and between countries, as a result of profit-oriented and investment-led policies. Corporations have pursued cheap labor within the region and the use of unfree migrant labor has increased dramatically. This pattern of economic growth is unsustainable and has left environmental devastation in its wake.

APEC will only exacerbate this situation and cause the further marginalization of peoples, particularly women and children.

The indiscriminate opening up of the economy will heighten unfair competition, benefit only those who monopolize capital and technology, marginalize the poor and accelerate the depletion of natural resources.

As a result of trade liberalization, we see large-scale, capital intensive agroculture, monocropping and changing land use patterns. This has tightened monopoly control of transnational corporations and their practices of double standards which in turn have caused the people's loss of control over basic resources such as land, seed and plant varieties, and fuel.

Through these trade policies, developing countries are obligated to allow the unrestricted importation of subsidized and cheap food products and thereby discouraging domestic food production and continue to be subjected to impositions regarding tariff reduction on the small countries.

This has discouraged massive and rapid conversion of agricultural lands devoted or suitable to food production to non-agricultural or non-food production uses.

As a result, we are faced by food insecurity and deleterious changing patterns of food consumption among our peoples.

Contrary to the general notion that trade liberalization and competition will open more factories, and create more jobs, we are now looking at massive unemployment and underemployment especially among women and the increased exploitation in the informal sector.

Massive displacements because of land conversion and development aggression continue to force our people to migrate to urban centers or to other countries. Massive homelessness and migration have destroyed communities and families, destroying the skills and knowledge base of peoples.

In every country, women are the poorest of the poor. Women are carrying the brunt of free trade policies which have had a devastating impact on women's rights. The loss of livelihoods and decreasing control over resources are increasing women's marginalization.

Unemployment and underemployment of women are forcing many of them into prostitution, even as the horrendous poverty of women and their families has led to an explosion in the trafficking in and sexual slavery of women. As migrant workers, women's exploitation has been further intensified as receiving countries have refused to protect their rights as workers making them vulnerable to sexual harassment and increased exploitation. In the name of so-called free markets, governments have destroyed social programs which protect women.

Not one of the governments that are part of APEC have a mandate from their peoples to negotiate anything.

Free trade is bringing about an erosion of democratic rights and the destruction of democratic institutions as governments are becoming more authoritarian and dictatorial. New forms of human rights violations are emerging, and the women of this region unequivocally condemn this agenda.

We call upon our governments to:

1. Ensure women's full participation in policy formulation and decision-making processes.
2. Regulate and control TNCs and international financial institutions (IFIs).
3. Live up to commitments made in the UN conventions, including the following:
-Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
-International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
-Beijing Platform for Action
-International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrants Workers and Members of Their Families
-International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions on Labor Standards
-International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
-Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
-International Convention on All Forms of Racial Discrimination
-International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
-Convention on the Rights of the Child.
4. Allocate resources for the basic needs of people, such as health care, education, housing and social assistance, especially for women and children and all disadvantaged persons.
5. Promote regional cooperation based on promoting self-sufficiency, capacity building through technology transfer, information flow and special courses.
6. Stop demolitions, ensure proper relocation in cases where it cannot be avoided and generate more jobs for urban poor dwellers.
7. Recognize women's role and contributions in safeguarding the environment, including the conservation of local plant varieties.
8. Provide adequate employment locally with decent living wages to discourage labor outmigration. Governments of receiving countries should provide crisis centers for migrant workers.
9. Make food security a priority, ensuring the food needs of peoples and immediately stop the dumping of cheap food that is detrimental to local food production.
10. Subsidize and suppport efforts for sustainable agriculture, stop land conversion and enact or implement land use laws, and provide suppport services to small farmers, particularly women farmers. Furthermore, ensure fair prices for farmers' produce.

Henceforth, we call upon NGOs and people's movements to:

1. Develop people's alternative structures of fair trade.
2. Undertake campaigns to raise awareness, and to mobilize and organize peoples movements against APEC.
3. Initiate and strengthen links between and among women, indigenous and aboriginal peoples, trade unions and migrant workers organizations.
4. Respond to urgent alert actions for migrant women and women workers and victims of human rights violations.
5. Make the struggle for women's equality a priority agenda.
6. Call upon trade unions to include organizations of workers in the informal sector.
7. Hold the TNCs accountable for the social and environmental impact of their operations.

We call on all governments, peoples' organizations, non-government organizations to unite in resisting and rejecting APEC.

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