History of Oceania|
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
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From: "Jagdish Parikh" <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 1996 17:34:48 +0800 (HKT)
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:
Henceforth, we call upon NGOs and people's movements to:
We call on all governments, peoples' organizations, non-government organizations to unite in resisting and rejecting APEC.