(Dec 2, Bali) The Gerak Lawan- an alliance of Indonesian Peoples Movements against Neocolonialism and Imperialism, along with the Social Movements for an Alternative Asia (SMAA), a newly formed coordination of Asian social movements and the worlds largest peasants movement La Via Campesina, held a press conference at the GOR Yuwana Mandala, JL Trengguli, Tembau Penaith in Denpasar, Bali on the 2 December to put forward their position regarding the upcoming inauguration of the WTO’s 9th ministerial meeting in Bali.
The Bali package aims to re-ignite the WTO and give it new life by making a deal on decisive issues like agriculture and trade facilitation, issues that impact the lives of millions of farmers, workers, and the poor in the developing world.
“18 years of the WTO has done nothing for us farmers. Infact the rate of the global hungry has just gone up since the free trade regime began and farmers are being pushed out of agriculture. The WTO is literally killing our farmers because of cheap imports and cutting out of support for local farmers.” said Henry Saragih of Indonesia’s Serikat Petani Indonesia, one of the largest farmers movements in the country.
The SMAA Gerak Lawan Alliance has totally rejected the WTO and the so called Peace Clause of the Bali package which aims to placate developing countries by temporarily allowing them to continue subsidies to their farmers and the hungry until they are gradually permanently phased out. “Nothing in the Bali Package will guarantee food security. In fact through the legally biding trade facilitation deal, it will only promote more imports to developing countries, pulling down prices, and pushing small farmers out of the market,” said Pablo Solon, director of the research and policy institute- Focus on the Global South.
India, which is in the spotlight for its massive food subsidy program that feeds more than a third of the nation is under pressure to concede to accept the temporary peace clause. “Indian farmers will never permit our Minimum Support Price subsidies to be removed. People will not let the government roll back the food security act. This support is essential for the livelihoods and food security of millions of people in our country, we will not let our government trade this away under any circumstance, there will be serious consequences if this happened,” said Yudhvir Singh of the BKU, the largest farmers union in India.
The alliance of people’s movements instead calls for putting in place peoples alternatives like food sovereignty – support for local farmers to feed the local populations. “Such policy alternatives are needed to end global hunger and poverty. The WTO will instead enrich global corporations and impoverish us, especially women,” said Cindy Pushpadevi of the Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights of Indonesia.
The Gerak Lawan and SMAA with many other movements have planned a week of action from Dec 1 to Dec 6- such as a mega march at Renon park on Dec 3, a Peoples tribunal on Dec 4, an economic justice assembly on the Dec 2 and various self organized activities.
For more information on the Bali week of Action :
1.Information on the schedule of activities inside the WTO Ministerial NGO Centre in Nusa Dua, Bali:
December 3: 6pm-7:30pm: Press Conference: The end of growth and the future of the WTO. Evaluation and proposals
December 4: 3:30pm-6:30pm: The failure of the WTO and alternatives from the People for Economic Justice, Room
December 5: 3:30pm-5pm: The geopolitics of free trade: links between TPP FTA and WTO
December 6: 11:30am-1pm: Press Conference: The post-Bali Roadmap of the People
2. Information on the schedule of activities at the EndWTO Week of Action in GOR Yowana Mandala Stadium, Jl. Trengguli I, Tembau,South Denpasar, Bali: www.smaa.asia/endwto
3. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/viacampesinaOFFICIAL
4. Twitter: https://twitter.com/via_campesina | https://twitter.com/via_campesinaSP |https://twitter.com/via_campesinaFR
Watch short videos on TV Via Campesina: http://tv.viacampesina.org/
Media contacts in Bali:
Ashlesha Khadse: email@example.com, +62 87862889108
Muhammed Ikhwan: firstname.lastname@example.org, +62 819 32099596