Memorandum Peoples' SAARC (Maldives 10-11 November 2011)

The Peoples’ SAARC delegates assembled in Maldives have submitted the “Memorandum” to the 17th official SAARC Summit being held in Addu City through the office of the President of the Maldives.

The memorandum is a common aspiration primed by the representatives of various civil society organizations in the region who have created a parallel process called “Peoples’ SAARC”. The memorandum reflects the harsh reality in connection with the status of security, peace, justice, human rights, development, environment, refugees, migration, gender among others in South Asia region from peoples’ perspective. The memorandum calls upon the SAARC as a regional grouping and the members
states to seize the opportunity towards engaging themselves in serious dialogues for envisioning a region fit for over one fifth of the world’s population, a majority of which is consistently denied of rights and deprived of basic standard of living.


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Press Release PEOPLES’ SAARC-2011

Eradicate Poverty and Injustices by Building Bridges and Connecting People
PEOPLES’ SAARC-2011
Press Release
November 10, 2011, Addu City, Maldives

The 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit that is being held in Addu City, Maldives on 10-11 November, 2011 is expected to ink several deals covering the areas of food security, collective response in natural disasters as well as trade, customs and good governance. This year’s summit appropriately titled “Building Bridges” by the host nation, strives to improve communication and collaboration among the eight members of the South Asian grouping.
We, at the Peoples’ SAARC, a parallel process to the official SAARC aimed at presenting the South Asian civil societies’ collective voices on pressing regional issues, have convened a series of country processes to evolve consensus on the future direction of the SAARC, and consolidated the outcomes of these country initiatives into this regional Civil Society Memorandum which is submitted today to the official 17th SAARC Summit for its urgent consideration.
The Summit is taking place at a time when South Asian states are beginning to look inwards to realize the region’s immense political, economic and diplomatic potentials. This is reflected in a number of initiatives undertaken by the SAARC countries to forge closer alliances to harness these potentials. While the agenda of economic and social development might have moved up as a priority item for the SAARC countries, South Asian states, at the same time, continue to veer towards their aspirations for superior military might which prompts them to scale up their military budget, diverting resources away from developmental goals, thereby compromising the basic living standards of a large section of the region’s population.
As the representative of the civil society of the South Asian states, we believe the SAARC process should be more pro-people and committed to eradication of poverty and injustices through regional developmental processes. In this outset, we do underline the need for the SAARC to expand its ambit to cover all areas of political, environmental, economic, and social and human rights, peace and justice spheres of the South Asian region. The SAARC must also strengthen its structures to deliver on the aspirations for growth and progress of the people of South Asia through the creation of an enabling environment for enhancing connectivity of the common people and by building mutual trust and easing visa regime that ensures (barrier) free mobility of people across the region.
The potentials of the region should be harnessed through equitable share of natural resources between nations and within nations to eradicate poverty and reduce income gap by drastically dropping wasteful expenditure on militarization and relocating resources for human and social development. We understand that the guarantee of informed and effective participation of indigenous people, minorities and marginalized section of the society in all spheres of life is cardinal to development, peace, justice and regional harmony.
We demand that the rights of migrant workers and their families as well as refugees should be protected by immediately ratifying relevant international instruments and creating appropriate regional mechanisms. Similarly, the long-cherished regional human rights mechanism should be established without further delay in conformity with the principles of universally accepted standards, norms and values in order to safeguard and promote human rights of people in the region. We also urge the SAARC member states to consider creating an independent climate commission with a view to promote more effective mitigation and adaptation  programs to curtail adversarial impacts of climate change. We would also like to see the establishment of a regional monitoring body with a mandate to assess the compliance of the member states in installing, safeguarding and institutionalizing democratic
governance based on the provisions of the proposed SAARC “Democracy Charter”.
Since women bear the brunt of all forms of inequality and rights violation, the SAARC must adopt every possible measure to ensure zero tolerance on violence against women and exhaust enabling environment to promote women’s economic security and leadership in decision-making, peace-building, security and conflict transformation endeavors. Finally, SAARC should encourage the member states to adopt competent and credible constitutional‚ legal and administrative framework to end all forms of discrimination, displacement, deprivation and the deeply rooted culture of impunity to secure a better future for the billions of  inhabitants of the region.

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Declaration People’s SAARC Assembly (Thiruvanathapuram, 9 November 2011)

People’s SAARC Assembly: Thiruvanathapuram Declaration

People’s Movements Uniting South Asia

9 November 2011

We, the participants of the People’s SAARC India Assembly 2011 met in Thiruvanathapuram on 8-9 November 2011 to affirm our commitment to justice, peace and democracy in the region. We also affirm and commit ourselves to the vision of an alternative political, social, economic and cultural system that enables social and sustainable development in the region that will do away with discriminations based on gender, caste, religion, language and ethnicity; lead to a situation free from exploitation and oppression; create a climate in which each individual will have the opportunity to realize full development of her or his human potential; restore the balance and harmony with nature; eliminate the artificial and human barriers that divide lands, peoples and mind; and transcend all boundaries.

The India assembly was privileged to host vibrant social movements, trade unions and activists from across India and abroad. Over 250 activists participated in three plenary sessions and 7 workshops on issues such as trade and livelihoods, natural resources, women’s role in people’s movements, de-militarization, labour and exclusion and discrimination. The assembly culminated in a colourful march to the Kerala Secretariat.

People’s Movements Uniting South Asia

A genuine South Asian consciousness, which has been present in a historical sense, is growing today among the peoples of this region. In recent years the urge for regional cooperation and interaction has manifested itself at different levels. Writers, poets, artists, scientists, social activists, human rights and women’s rights activists of South Asian countries have initiated concrete moves towards establishing mutual contacts and developing cooperation among themselves.

This declaration captures this paradigm shift of people’s movements uniting South Asia.

State Repression and Militarism undermining democracy:

The people of South Asia are witnessing the militarisation of state and society. The dominance of militarist thinking in the governments, the doctrine of preventive intervention and terrorism as a State policy has prevented the strengthening of the fraternity of the people, consolidation of the political constituency for peaceful resolution of conflict and build a common identity for South Asian people.

The context of rising terrorism is being used by the ruling elite to shift public opinion towards an internal security doctrine that is undemocratic, chauvinistic and anti-people.

We condemn the increasing budgetary allocation on militarization by diverting resource from social welfare by the governments in South Asian. The reduction of tensions between South Asian countries means the reduction of defence budgets in both countries. This will have a major and meaningful impact on the well being of each country’s citizens.

We are also alarmed by the accelerated militarization in the region in the name of countering terrorism, eroding democratic space, undermining basic human rights and humanitarian law principles, has resulted into further terrorization and radicalization the affected civilian populations.  We are deeply concerned at the expanding role of the military and para-military forces in the development processes including mega development projects and extractive mining, plundering the natural resources, marginalizing and displacing the indigenous peoples inhabiting the region. We must ensure that our governments stop militarising society by developing the doctrine of internal security, as extensions of war concepts into society, and creating armed forces for internal war.

We call for the inclusion of a policy on human rights in the SAARC platform. In Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan a vision of national security and guise of counter terrorism is being used as a tool for suppressing democratic peoples movements. Whether it is the struggles of communities over control of natural resources, or struggles against state repression or against corporate power or against communal profiling of populations, the dominant policy in all these states are against the will of the people. Hence there is a need for a clearly articulated human rights policy to be included in the SAARC.

We salute the extraordinary resilience of Irom Sharmila Chanu as she enters the twelfth year of a hunger strike in solidarity confinement demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, which has chronically militarized and displaced democratic governance in North East India. We must ensure the reduction of influence and control of the military and make it accountable and subordinate to the will of the people.

We call upon the governments of South Asia to immediately halt the futile process of militarization generating a spiral of insecurity and to redirect its resources and energy to build genuine democratic institutions to ensure the human security including education, health, housing and other welfare of the people.

Women in Peoples Movements:

Women have played a crucial role and spearheaded several movements. However in many movements’ women and those from marginalised groups including dalits, adivasis, the disabled, minority communities and those from LGBT groups are seldom heard or their separate needs acknowledged. To create a larger Peoples movement of South Asia this understanding needs to be integrated so that these identities are not submerged in larger forums and spaces but that they are included and made visible.

We need to create ways of working across differences and identities without making them invisible. This has to be based on principles of human rights, commitment to equality and non discrimination focussed on the advancement of human security and human dignity. The intersectionalities between different movements and identities needs to be recognised and integrated so that we can look at ways of coming together. This presents us with many challenges and complexities because in practice it is difficult for different movements to come together.

The Women’s Movement has been connecting across borders since the 1970’s; this has helped in strengthening our work, learning from each other as well as creating stronger bonds between us. As women we have always been suspicious of narrow nationalism and patriotism because of how it affects women. It has also presented many complexities and challenges in our vision of a Peoples Union of South Asia. There is a need to have dialogues across movements and borders on similar issues, we have a lot to learn and contribute to each other’s work. However the question is how to integrate a feminist framework of analysis and understanding in these various movements. This is so we can create better integrated movements, where the voices of the marginalised are given space as well as awareness about the intersectionalities between different issues and themes.

Re-building Labour movement:

Contractualisation, migration and the non-implementation of labour laws are common issues in the region.

We demand that labour be included as an area of cooperation in the South Asian cooperation framework.

Large scale privatization, both direct and indirect, closures and retrenchments have lead to job losses and created conditions for capital to deny labour rights and introduce new labour practices that affect the labour adversely. In the process, rights to organization and collective bargaining became a casualty. We call for the ratification of ILO core standards by South Asian countries and constitute a SAARC mechanism to ensure reporting on compliance on ILO core standards and redressal of complaints. Further, we call upon SAARC to adopt the ILO guidelines on TNC as a enforceable mechanism to regulate TNCs in the region.

The right to mobility with dignity is a human right. Migrants should be assured of dignity and the right to work as well as adequate wages and human working conditions. Safeguards for the basic rights of the local people must be instituted. We demand a SAARC mechanism to facilitate and promote labour migration with dignity and the institution of a SAARC work permit as a first step to institutionalise this process.

Labour movements in the region have to establish closer cooperation and take an organizational structure at a South Asian level. In priority, we need to work towards integrating different sections of workers currently marginalized and working people not even recognized as workers, into the ambit of labour movements, social security regimes and within the collective bargaining framework.

Trade and livelihoods:

Current trade policy is undemocratic, pro corporate, anti environment and adversely impacts livelihoods of South Asian peoples. Free trade agreements implemented in South Asia such as the India Sri Lanka FTA have adversely impacted livelihoods of farmers, especially in the state of Kerala. Free trade policies under the WTO have resulted in a loss of food sovereignty due to the loss of control over tariffs and quantitative restrictions. We call for trade and economic cooperation in the region and oppose the current trend of advancing the FTA agenda in South Asia and beyond.

We recognize that to bring the people in the region closer, there should be more people to people contact and cooperation. On trade, this would imply a paradigm shift with due process of consultation with legislative bodies and affected groups such as farmers, fishworkers and labour. Further any trade should be based on complementarity, environmental sustainability, food sovereignty and should enhance livelihoods. There should be due mechanisms to monitor the impacts of trade on livelihoods with policies to protect and compensate any communities that could be adversely impacted. We stand for progressive people led regional cooperation in South Asia and call for the normalisation of economic relations between Pakistan and India.

Exclusion, discrimination and oppression:

We express concern about the increasing incidence of state repression against peoples who are fighting for their democratic rights. Dalits, adivasis, sexual and gender minorities, religious minorities, human rights defenders are under constant threat of a militarised state and corporate greed. The struggle of the marginalised for a better democracy needs to be strengthened by rendering solidarity at the South Asian level.

Community control over Natural resources

We note that the current model of development is devastating South Asia’s natural resources. Investment zones such as SEZs that displace people, undermine democracy and national laws and destroy the environment must be stopped. The principle of prior informed consent of the local communities should be followed for all projects. We note with concern the revival of the nuclear industry despite the lessons from the Fukushima Daichi disaster. We support the valiant peoples struggle in Koodamkulam and Jaitapur and call for a halt to these nuclear projects. We call upon Governments to promote people centred non conventional and sustainable energy sources.

We call for a ban on genetically modified seeds in SAARC countries. Governments in South Asia should stop production, distribution, consumption and export of all Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) including endosulfan.

We call upon the people to be cautious that there is an imperialist agenda to use so called environmental concerns to undermine sustainable development and livelihood needs of the people of developing countries.

South Asian coastal and forest communities are facing the brunt of so called development and corporate greed. We call for the implementation progressive legislations for protection of the environment and livelihoods in the coastal and forest regions.

Workshop: Envisioning New South Asia: Peoples’ Perspective (18-19 January 2011 – Dhaka)

A compilation of articles on the Left Debate on the euro-crisis


Articles by

Asbjørn Wahl

Mark Weisbrot

Yanis Varoufakis

Michel Husson

Costas Lapavitsas

Özlem Onaran


Download compilation

As stated by ATTAC “the present form of the European Union is a serious obstacle to democratic achievements, fundamental rights, cheap social security, pharmacy gender justice, and environmental sustainability. It suffers from a lack of democracy, legitimacy, and transparency, and is governed by a set of treaties which force neoliberal policies on member states and the whole world”.

For many years, several European networks of social organisations and movements have worked on alternatives to the neoliberal corporate Europe. The discussion on the other Europe we want is still very much under debate. However, the construction of Another Europe is combined with the daily struggles of European progressive movements, which oppose privatisation and disassembly of public services, Fortress Europe against migrants, weakening of democratic and civil rights and growing repression, trade and investment liberalisation policies, food and agricultural policies that undermine the possibilities for food sovereignty, corporate lobbies, military intervention in external conflicts and military bases, among others.

Some of the networks that contribute towards building an alternative European economic and social model are:

European ATTACs

Network for the Charter for another Europe
Euromemorandum-Group

European Alternatives

The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTEREU)

Seattle To Brussels Network (S2B)

transform!

Women In Development Europe (WIDE)

European Coordination Via Campesina


EVENT WEBSITE http://www.acscapf2012.org


The Civil Society Committee for Organizing ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) 2012, here a committee originated from the Cambodian Civil Society Working Group, wishes to announce that it will organize ACSC/APF Event in full cooperation with the civil society groups in the Association of South East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) region. This Event will be
held in Cambodia, try while Cambodia is ASEAN chairs ASEAN in 2012. The date of the First phase of ACSC/APF Event in Cambodia will be held from 29th to 31 March 2012. The place will be announced later.

The theme of this year Event is “Making a Peoples?Center ASEAN a Reality”.

As tradition, ACSC/APF events were held in rotating countries in ASEAN: Malaysia (2005), Philippines (2006), Singapore (2007), Thailand (2009), Vietnam (2010), and Indonesia (2011). The ACSC is a main forum where civil society groups in the ASEAN region join in the discussion on commonality and similarity of concerns and then propose key recommendations to the ASEAN governments. This forum has been expanded in accordance with the flexibility of civil society of the host country. This fora is named “ASEAN People Forum, APF”. The main objectives of the event is to ensure space for civil society’s engagement
with ASEAN leaders and as a forum for civil society organizations and the peoples in ASEAN to discuss their issues of concerns and bring them to the attention of the ASEAN leaders.

The ACSC/APF 2012 has the following key objectives:
a) to secure and strengthen critical engagement between peoples and civil society with ASEAN;
b) to urge ASEAN leaders and governments to promote a genuinely peoples?center ASEAN;
c) to present demands of peoples and civil society in the region to ASEAN leaders;
d) to enhance mutual understanding and build solidarity, unity, and cooperation among the peoples of South East Asia in the process of community building;
e) to consult among selected ASEAN CSOs and CSOs in Cambodia on key challenges within the framework of ASEAN geo politics and charter;
f) to consolidate and share CSO relevant recommendations to ASEAN leaders through direct interface;
g) to foster CSOs enabling environment within ASEAN;

With these events organized, Civil society groups in the ASEAN region are committed to contribute to achieving one of the main goals of ASEAN: “Peoples? center ASEAN” through regional cooperation and development. Second phase of ACSC/APF Event will also be scheduled for a large number of participants from the Region ahead of the November ASEAN Summit.


Secretariat, Mr. Suon Sareth or Mr. Jeudy Oeung acscapf.camsec@gmail.com or Mobile Phone at (855) 12 714147 or at tel# 023301415.

Phnom Penh, 20 February 2012


For Civil Society Committee
National Steering Committee

CHHITH Sam Ath                                                              Thida C. KHUS


FOR INFORMATION ON PROGRAMME, WORKSHOPS and LOGISTICS, see http://www.acscapf2012.org

EVENT WEBSITE http://www.acscapf2012.org


The Civil Society Committee for Organizing ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) 2012, a committee originated from the Cambodian Civil Society Working Group,
wishes to announce that it will organize ACSC/APF Event in full cooperation with the civil society groups in the Association of South East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) region. This Event will be
held in Cambodia, order while Cambodia is ASEAN chairs ASEAN in 2012. The date of the First phase of ACSC/APF Event in Cambodia will be held from 29th to 31 March 2012. The place will be announced later.

The theme of this year Event is “Making a Peoples?Center ASEAN a Reality”.

As tradition, ACSC/APF events were held in rotating countries in ASEAN: Malaysia (2005), Philippines (2006), Singapore (2007), Thailand (2009), Vietnam (2010), and Indonesia (2011). The ACSC is a main forum where civil society groups in the ASEAN region join in the discussion on commonality and similarity of concerns and then propose key recommendations to the ASEAN governments. This forum has been expanded in accordance with the flexibility of civil society of the host country. This fora is named “ASEAN People Forum, APF”. The main objectives of the event is to ensure space for civil society’s engagement
with ASEAN leaders and as a forum for civil society organizations and the peoples in ASEAN to discuss their issues of concerns and bring them to the attention of the ASEAN leaders.

The ACSC/APF 2012 has the following key objectives:
a) to secure and strengthen critical engagement between peoples and civil society with ASEAN;
b) to urge ASEAN leaders and governments to promote a genuinely peoples?center ASEAN;
c) to present demands of peoples and civil society in the region to ASEAN leaders;
d) to enhance mutual understanding and build solidarity, unity, and cooperation among the peoples of South East Asia in the process of community building;
e) to consult among selected ASEAN CSOs and CSOs in Cambodia on key challenges within the framework of ASEAN geo politics and charter;
f) to consolidate and share CSO relevant recommendations to ASEAN leaders through direct interface;
g) to foster CSOs enabling environment within ASEAN;

With these events organized, Civil society groups in the ASEAN region are committed to contribute to achieving one of the main goals of ASEAN: “Peoples? center ASEAN” through regional cooperation and development. Second phase of ACSC/APF Event will also be scheduled for a large number of participants from the Region ahead of the November ASEAN Summit.


For more information, please visit our website at www.acscapfcam.org or contact the ACSC/APF


Secretariat, Mr. Suon Sareth or Mr. Jeudy Oeung acscapf.camsec@gmail.com

or Mobile Phone at (855) 12 714147 or at tel# 023301415.
Phnom Penh, 20 February 2012
For Civil Society Committee
National Steering Committee
CHHITH Sam Ath Thida C. KHUS



EVENT WEBSITE http://www.acscapf2012.org


The Civil Society Committee for Organizing ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) 2012, drugstore a committee originated from the Cambodian Civil Society Working Group, wishes to announce that it will organize ACSC/APF Event in full cooperation with the civil society groups in the Association of South East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) region. This Event will be
held in Cambodia, while Cambodia is ASEAN chairs ASEAN in 2012. The date of the First phase of ACSC/APF Event in Cambodia will be held from 29th to 31 March 2012. The place will be announced later.

The theme of this year Event is “Making a Peoples?Center ASEAN a Reality”.

As tradition, ACSC/APF events were held in rotating countries in ASEAN: Malaysia (2005), Philippines (2006), Singapore (2007), Thailand (2009), Vietnam (2010), and Indonesia (2011). The ACSC is a main forum where civil society groups in the ASEAN region join in the discussion on commonality and similarity of concerns and then propose key recommendations to the ASEAN governments. This forum has been expanded in accordance with the flexibility of civil society of the host country. This fora is named “ASEAN People Forum, APF”. The main objectives of the event is to ensure space for civil society’s engagement
with ASEAN leaders and as a forum for civil society organizations and the peoples in ASEAN to discuss their issues of concerns and bring them to the attention of the ASEAN leaders.

The ACSC/APF 2012 has the following key objectives:
a) to secure and strengthen critical engagement between peoples and civil society with ASEAN;
b) to urge ASEAN leaders and governments to promote a genuinely peoples?center ASEAN;
c) to present demands of peoples and civil society in the region to ASEAN leaders;
d) to enhance mutual understanding and build solidarity, unity, and cooperation among the peoples of South East Asia in the process of community building;
e) to consult among selected ASEAN CSOs and CSOs in Cambodia on key challenges within the framework of ASEAN geo politics and charter;
f) to consolidate and share CSO relevant recommendations to ASEAN leaders through direct interface;
g) to foster CSOs enabling environment within ASEAN;

With these events organized, Civil society groups in the ASEAN region are committed to contribute to achieving one of the main goals of ASEAN: “Peoples? center ASEAN” through regional cooperation and development. Second phase of ACSC/APF Event will also be scheduled for a large number of participants from the Region ahead of the November ASEAN Summit.


Secretariat, Mr. Suon Sareth or Mr. Jeudy Oeung acscapf.camsec@gmail.com

or Mobile Phone at (855) 12 714147 or at tel# 023301415.
Phnom Penh, 20 February 2012
For Civil Society Committee
National Steering Committee
CHHITH Sam Ath Thida C. KHUS


FOR INFORMATION ON PROGRAMME, WORKSHOPS and LOGISTICS, see http://www.acscapf2012.org

EVENT WEBSITE http://www.acscapf2012.org


The Civil Society Committee for Organizing ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) 2012, a committee originated from the Cambodian Civil Society Working Group, seek wishes to announce that it will organize ACSC/APF Event in full cooperation with the civil society groups in the Association of South East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) region. This Event will be
held in Cambodia, while Cambodia is ASEAN chairs ASEAN in 2012. The date of the First phase of ACSC/APF Event in Cambodia will be held from 29th to 31 March 2012. The place will be announced later.

The theme of this year Event is “Making a Peoples?Center ASEAN a Reality”.

As tradition, ACSC/APF events were held in rotating countries in ASEAN: Malaysia (2005), Philippines (2006), Singapore (2007), Thailand (2009), Vietnam (2010), and Indonesia (2011). The ACSC is a main forum where civil society groups in the ASEAN region join in the discussion on commonality and similarity of concerns and then propose key recommendations to the ASEAN governments. This forum has been expanded in accordance with the flexibility of civil society of the host country. This fora is named “ASEAN People Forum, APF”. The main objectives of the event is to ensure space for civil society’s engagement
with ASEAN leaders and as a forum for civil society organizations and the peoples in ASEAN to discuss their issues of concerns and bring them to the attention of the ASEAN leaders.

The ACSC/APF 2012 has the following key objectives:
a) to secure and strengthen critical engagement between peoples and civil society with ASEAN;
b) to urge ASEAN leaders and governments to promote a genuinely peoples?center ASEAN;
c) to present demands of peoples and civil society in the region to ASEAN leaders;
d) to enhance mutual understanding and build solidarity, unity, and cooperation among the peoples of South East Asia in the process of community building;
e) to consult among selected ASEAN CSOs and CSOs in Cambodia on key challenges within the framework of ASEAN geo politics and charter;
f) to consolidate and share CSO relevant recommendations to ASEAN leaders through direct interface;
g) to foster CSOs enabling environment within ASEAN;

With these events organized, Civil society groups in the ASEAN region are committed to contribute to achieving one of the main goals of ASEAN: “Peoples? center ASEAN” through regional cooperation and development. Second phase of ACSC/APF Event will also be scheduled for a large number of participants from the Region ahead of the November ASEAN Summit.


For more information, please visit our website at www.acscapfcam.org or contact the ACSC/APF


Secretariat, Mr. Suon Sareth or Mr. Jeudy Oeung acscapf.camsec@gmail.com

or Mobile Phone at (855) 12 714147 or at tel# 023301415.
Phnom Penh, 20 February 2012
For Civil Society Committee
National Steering Committee
CHHITH Sam Ath Thida C. KHUS


FOR INFORMATION ON PROGRAMME, WORKSHOPS and LOGISTICS, see http://www.acscapf2012.org

EVENT WEBSITE http://www.acscapf2012.org


The Civil Society Committee for Organizing ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) 2012, healing a committee originated from the Cambodian Civil Society Working Group, shop wishes to announce that it will organize ACSC/APF Event in full cooperation with the civil society groups in the Association of South East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) region. This Event will be
held in Cambodia, seek while Cambodia is ASEAN chairs ASEAN in 2012. The date of the First phase of ACSC/APF Event in Cambodia will be held from 29th to 31 March 2012. The place will be announced later.

The theme of this year Event is “Making a Peoples?Center ASEAN a Reality”.

As tradition, ACSC/APF events were held in rotating countries in ASEAN: Malaysia (2005), Philippines (2006), Singapore (2007), Thailand (2009), Vietnam (2010), and Indonesia (2011). The ACSC is a main forum where civil society groups in the ASEAN region join in the discussion on commonality and similarity of concerns and then propose key recommendations to the ASEAN governments. This forum has been expanded in accordance with the flexibility of civil society of the host country. This fora is named “ASEAN People Forum, APF”. The main objectives of the event is to ensure space for civil society’s engagement
with ASEAN leaders and as a forum for civil society organizations and the peoples in ASEAN to discuss their issues of concerns and bring them to the attention of the ASEAN leaders.

The ACSC/APF 2012 has the following key objectives:
a) to secure and strengthen critical engagement between peoples and civil society with ASEAN;
b) to urge ASEAN leaders and governments to promote a genuinely peoples?center ASEAN;
c) to present demands of peoples and civil society in the region to ASEAN leaders;
d) to enhance mutual understanding and build solidarity, unity, and cooperation among the peoples of South East Asia in the process of community building;
e) to consult among selected ASEAN CSOs and CSOs in Cambodia on key challenges within the framework of ASEAN geo politics and charter;
f) to consolidate and share CSO relevant recommendations to ASEAN leaders through direct interface;
g) to foster CSOs enabling environment within ASEAN;

With these events organized, Civil society groups in the ASEAN region are committed to contribute to achieving one of the main goals of ASEAN: “Peoples? center ASEAN” through regional cooperation and development. Second phase of ACSC/APF Event will also be scheduled for a large number of participants from the Region ahead of the November ASEAN Summit.


For more information, please visit our website at www.acscapfcam.org or contact the ACSC/APF


Secretariat, Mr. Suon Sareth or Mr. Jeudy Oeung acscapf.camsec@gmail.com

or Mobile Phone at (855) 12 714147 or at tel# 023301415.
Phnom Penh, 20 February 2012
For Civil Society Committee
National Steering Committee
CHHITH Sam Ath Thida C. KHUS


FOR INFORMATION ON PROGRAMME, WORKSHOPS and LOGISTICS, see http://www.acscapf2012.org

EVENT WEBSITE http://www.acscapf2012.org


The Civil Society Committee for Organizing ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) 2012, cheap a committee originated from the Cambodian Civil Society Working Group, wishes to announce that it will organize ACSC/APF Event in full cooperation with the civil society groups in the Association of South East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) region. This Event will be
held in Cambodia, while Cambodia is ASEAN chairs ASEAN in 2012. The date of the First phase of ACSC/APF Event in Cambodia will be held from 29th to 31 March 2012. The place will be announced later.

The theme of this year Event is “Making a Peoples?Center ASEAN a Reality”.

As tradition, ACSC/APF events were held in rotating countries in ASEAN: Malaysia (2005), Philippines (2006), Singapore (2007), Thailand (2009), Vietnam (2010), and Indonesia (2011). The ACSC is a main forum where civil society groups in the ASEAN region join in the discussion on commonality and similarity of concerns and then propose key recommendations to the ASEAN governments. This forum has been expanded in accordance with the flexibility of civil society of the host country. This fora is named “ASEAN People Forum, APF”. The main objectives of the event is to ensure space for civil society’s engagement
with ASEAN leaders and as a forum for civil society organizations and the peoples in ASEAN to discuss their issues of concerns and bring them to the attention of the ASEAN leaders.

The ACSC/APF 2012 has the following key objectives:
a) to secure and strengthen critical engagement between peoples and civil society with ASEAN;
b) to urge ASEAN leaders and governments to promote a genuinely peoples?center ASEAN;
c) to present demands of peoples and civil society in the region to ASEAN leaders;
d) to enhance mutual understanding and build solidarity, unity, and cooperation among the peoples of South East Asia in the process of community building;
e) to consult among selected ASEAN CSOs and CSOs in Cambodia on key challenges within the framework of ASEAN geo politics and charter;
f) to consolidate and share CSO relevant recommendations to ASEAN leaders through direct interface;
g) to foster CSOs enabling environment within ASEAN;

With these events organized, Civil society groups in the ASEAN region are committed to contribute to achieving one of the main goals of ASEAN: “Peoples? center ASEAN” through regional cooperation and development. Second phase of ACSC/APF Event will also be scheduled for a large number of participants from the Region ahead of the November ASEAN Summit.


Secretariat, Mr. Suon Sareth or Mr. Jeudy Oeung acscapf.camsec@gmail.com

or Mobile Phone at (855) 12 714147 or at tel# 023301415.
Phnom Penh, 20 February 2012
For Civil Society Committee
National Steering Committee
CHHITH Sam Ath Thida C. KHUS


FOR INFORMATION ON PROGRAMME, WORKSHOPS and LOGISTICS, see http://www.acscapf2012.org

EVENT WEBSITE http://www.acscapf2012.org


The Civil Society Committee for Organizing ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) 2012, a committee originated from the Cambodian Civil Society Working Group, treat wishes to announce that it will organize ACSC/APF Event in full cooperation with the civil society groups in the Association of South East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) region. This Event will be
held in Cambodia, while Cambodia is ASEAN chairs ASEAN in 2012. The date of the First phase of ACSC/APF Event in Cambodia will be held from 29th to 31 March 2012. The place will be announced later.

The theme of this year Event is “Making a Peoples?Center ASEAN a Reality”.

As tradition, ACSC/APF events were held in rotating countries in ASEAN: Malaysia (2005), Philippines (2006), Singapore (2007), Thailand (2009), Vietnam (2010), and Indonesia (2011). The ACSC is a main forum where civil society groups in the ASEAN region join in the discussion on commonality and similarity of concerns and then propose key recommendations to the ASEAN governments. This forum has been expanded in accordance with the flexibility of civil society of the host country. This fora is named “ASEAN People Forum, APF”. The main objectives of the event is to ensure space for civil society’s engagement
with ASEAN leaders and as a forum for civil society organizations and the peoples in ASEAN to discuss their issues of concerns and bring them to the attention of the ASEAN leaders.

The ACSC/APF 2012 has the following key objectives:
a) to secure and strengthen critical engagement between peoples and civil society with ASEAN;
b) to urge ASEAN leaders and governments to promote a genuinely peoples?center ASEAN;
c) to present demands of peoples and civil society in the region to ASEAN leaders;
d) to enhance mutual understanding and build solidarity, unity, and cooperation among the peoples of South East Asia in the process of community building;
e) to consult among selected ASEAN CSOs and CSOs in Cambodia on key challenges within the framework of ASEAN geo politics and charter;
f) to consolidate and share CSO relevant recommendations to ASEAN leaders through direct interface;
g) to foster CSOs enabling environment within ASEAN;

With these events organized, Civil society groups in the ASEAN region are committed to contribute to achieving one of the main goals of ASEAN: “Peoples? center ASEAN” through regional cooperation and development. Second phase of ACSC/APF Event will also be scheduled for a large number of participants from the Region ahead of the November ASEAN Summit.


For more information, please visit our website at www.acscapfcam.org or contact the ACSC/APF


Secretariat, Mr. Suon Sareth or Mr. Jeudy Oeung acscapf.camsec@gmail.com

or Mobile Phone at (855) 12 714147 or at tel# 023301415.
Phnom Penh, 20 February 2012
For Civil Society Committee
National Steering Committee
CHHITH Sam Ath Thida C. KHUS


FOR INFORMATION ON PROGRAMME, WORKSHOPS and LOGISTICS, see http://www.acscapf2012.org

EVENT WEBSITE http://www.acscapf2012.org


The Civil Society Committee for Organizing ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) 2012, adiposity
a committee originated from the Cambodian Civil Society Working Group, wishes to announce that it will organize ACSC/APF Event in full cooperation with the civil society groups in the Association of South East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) region. This Event will be
held in Cambodia, while Cambodia is ASEAN chairs ASEAN in 2012. The date of the First phase of ACSC/APF Event in Cambodia will be held from 29th to 31 March 2012. The place will be announced later.

The theme of this year Event is “Making a Peoples?Center ASEAN a Reality”.

As tradition, ACSC/APF events were held in rotating countries in ASEAN: Malaysia (2005), Philippines (2006), Singapore (2007), Thailand (2009), Vietnam (2010), and Indonesia (2011). The ACSC is a main forum where civil society groups in the ASEAN region join in the discussion on commonality and similarity of concerns and then propose key recommendations to the ASEAN governments. This forum has been expanded in accordance with the flexibility of civil society of the host country. This fora is named “ASEAN People Forum, APF”. The main objectives of the event is to ensure space for civil society’s engagement
with ASEAN leaders and as a forum for civil society organizations and the peoples in ASEAN to discuss their issues of concerns and bring them to the attention of the ASEAN leaders.

The ACSC/APF 2012 has the following key objectives:
a) to secure and strengthen critical engagement between peoples and civil society with ASEAN;
b) to urge ASEAN leaders and governments to promote a genuinely peoples?center ASEAN;
c) to present demands of peoples and civil society in the region to ASEAN leaders;
d) to enhance mutual understanding and build solidarity, unity, and cooperation among the peoples of South East Asia in the process of community building;
e) to consult among selected ASEAN CSOs and CSOs in Cambodia on key challenges within the framework of ASEAN geo politics and charter;
f) to consolidate and share CSO relevant recommendations to ASEAN leaders through direct interface;
g) to foster CSOs enabling environment within ASEAN;

With these events organized, Civil society groups in the ASEAN region are committed to contribute to achieving one of the main goals of ASEAN: “Peoples? center ASEAN” through regional cooperation and development. Second phase of ACSC/APF Event will also be scheduled for a large number of participants from the Region ahead of the November ASEAN Summit.


Secretariat, Mr. Suon Sareth or Mr. Jeudy Oeung acscapf.camsec@gmail.com

or Mobile Phone at (855) 12 714147 or at tel# 023301415.
Phnom Penh, 20 February 2012


For Civil Society Committee
National Steering Committee

CHHITH Sam Ath                                                              Thida C. KHUS


FOR INFORMATION ON PROGRAMME, WORKSHOPS and LOGISTICS, see http://www.acscapf2012.org

EVENT WEBSITE http://www.acscapf2012.org


The Civil Society Committee for Organizing ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) 2012, healing a committee originated from the Cambodian Civil Society Working Group, buy wishes to announce that it will organize ACSC/APF Event in full cooperation with the civil society groups in the Association of South East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) region. This Event will be
held in Cambodia, while Cambodia is ASEAN chairs ASEAN in 2012. The date of the First phase of ACSC/APF Event in Cambodia will be held from 29th to 31 March 2012. The place will be announced later.

The theme of this year Event is “Making a Peoples?Center ASEAN a Reality”.

As tradition, ACSC/APF events were held in rotating countries in ASEAN: Malaysia (2005), Philippines (2006), Singapore (2007), Thailand (2009), Vietnam (2010), and Indonesia (2011). The ACSC is a main forum where civil society groups in the ASEAN region join in the discussion on commonality and similarity of concerns and then propose key recommendations to the ASEAN governments. This forum has been expanded in accordance with the flexibility of civil society of the host country. This fora is named “ASEAN People Forum, APF”. The main objectives of the event is to ensure space for civil society’s engagement
with ASEAN leaders and as a forum for civil society organizations and the peoples in ASEAN to discuss their issues of concerns and bring them to the attention of the ASEAN leaders.

The ACSC/APF 2012 has the following key objectives:
a) to secure and strengthen critical engagement between peoples and civil society with ASEAN;
b) to urge ASEAN leaders and governments to promote a genuinely peoples?center ASEAN;
c) to present demands of peoples and civil society in the region to ASEAN leaders;
d) to enhance mutual understanding and build solidarity, unity, and cooperation among the peoples of South East Asia in the process of community building;
e) to consult among selected ASEAN CSOs and CSOs in Cambodia on key challenges within the framework of ASEAN geo politics and charter;
f) to consolidate and share CSO relevant recommendations to ASEAN leaders through direct interface;
g) to foster CSOs enabling environment within ASEAN;

With these events organized, Civil society groups in the ASEAN region are committed to contribute to achieving one of the main goals of ASEAN: “Peoples? center ASEAN” through regional cooperation and development. Second phase of ACSC/APF Event will also be scheduled for a large number of participants from the Region ahead of the November ASEAN Summit.


Secretariat, Mr. Suon Sareth or Mr. Jeudy Oeung acscapf.camsec@gmail.com

or Mobile Phone at (855) 12 714147 or at tel# 023301415.
Phnom Penh, 20 February 2012
For Civil Society Committee
National Steering Committee
CHHITH Sam Ath Thida C. KHUS


FOR INFORMATION ON PROGRAMME, WORKSHOPS and LOGISTICS, see http://www.acscapf2012.org

EVENT WEBSITE http://www.acscapf2012.org


The Civil Society Committee for Organizing ASEAN Civil Society Conference (ACSC)/ ASEAN People’s Forum (APF) 2012, a committee originated from the Cambodian Civil Society Working Group, see wishes to announce that it will organize ACSC/APF Event in full cooperation with the civil society groups in the Association of South East Asian Nations (“ASEAN”) region. This Event will be
held in Cambodia, while Cambodia is ASEAN chairs ASEAN in 2012. The date of the First phase of ACSC/APF Event in Cambodia will be held from 29th to 31 March 2012. The place will be announced later.

The theme of this year Event is “Making a Peoples?Center ASEAN a Reality”.

As tradition, ACSC/APF events were held in rotating countries in ASEAN: Malaysia (2005), Philippines (2006), Singapore (2007), Thailand (2009), Vietnam (2010), and Indonesia (2011). The ACSC is a main forum where civil society groups in the ASEAN region join in the discussion on commonality and similarity of concerns and then propose key recommendations to the ASEAN governments. This forum has been expanded in accordance with the flexibility of civil society of the host country. This fora is named “ASEAN People Forum, APF”. The main objectives of the event is to ensure space for civil society’s engagement
with ASEAN leaders and as a forum for civil society organizations and the peoples in ASEAN to discuss their issues of concerns and bring them to the attention of the ASEAN leaders.

The ACSC/APF 2012 has the following key objectives:
a) to secure and strengthen critical engagement between peoples and civil society with ASEAN;
b) to urge ASEAN leaders and governments to promote a genuinely peoples?center ASEAN;
c) to present demands of peoples and civil society in the region to ASEAN leaders;
d) to enhance mutual understanding and build solidarity, unity, and cooperation among the peoples of South East Asia in the process of community building;
e) to consult among selected ASEAN CSOs and CSOs in Cambodia on key challenges within the framework of ASEAN geo politics and charter;
f) to consolidate and share CSO relevant recommendations to ASEAN leaders through direct interface;
g) to foster CSOs enabling environment within ASEAN;

With these events organized, Civil society groups in the ASEAN region are committed to contribute to achieving one of the main goals of ASEAN: “Peoples? center ASEAN” through regional cooperation and development. Second phase of ACSC/APF Event will also be scheduled for a large number of participants from the Region ahead of the November ASEAN Summit.


Secretariat, Mr. Suon Sareth or Mr. Jeudy Oeung acscapf.camsec@gmail.com or Mobile Phone at (855) 12 714147 or at tel# 023301415.

Phnom Penh, 20 February 2012


For Civil Society Committee
National Steering Committee

CHHITH Sam Ath                                                              Thida C. KHUS


FOR INFORMATION ON PROGRAMME, WORKSHOPS and LOGISTICS, see http://www.acscapf2012.org

Peoples’ SAARC on ‘Envisioning New South Asia: Peoples’ Perspective’ held on 18-19 January 2011 at Dhaka

PRESS STATEMENT, 20th Jan 2011

Participants in the seminar organized by Peoples SAARC on 18-19 January 2011 in Dhaka on ‘Envisioning New South Asia: Peoples’ Perspective’ discussed the possible contours of an effective SAARC Union and the possibility of a peaceful, democratic, united and just South Asia.. The group observed that South Asia is home to some of the world’s richest; and also of the largest number of poor people in the world. The region is plagued by conflict, poverty, lack of access to basic necessities and services; and ravaged by conflicts of various kinds. Rampant unemployment, feudalism, abysmal living conditions of the large majority, is further complicated by religious sectarian violence and state sponsored violence, both domestic and cross border.

There is an urgent need to find solutions to the deep seated problems in the South Asian region. And clearly, these cannot be found in the failed neo-liberal paradigm, nor in the right wing alternatives based on religious sectarianism and national chauvinism. It is also clear to us that the solutions to what are common problems spanning the entire region are more likely to be effective if they are regional in scope. Regional unity can be a good beginning to finding solutions and alternatives.

Yet many of the governments of the SAARC countries, particularly the more powerful ones, are not upholding the lofty ideals that form part of the SAARC Charter which they are committed to defend.

Although SAFTA has been in place since the 1980s, formal trade within the region is still negligible. Intra-regional trade can be a vehicle for pro-poor, equitable growth, but only when such trade includes safeguards and regulations to allow for equitable growth both within and between countries. The Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that are being negotiated and implemented within the region bilaterally and with other countries follow a neo-liberal model that undermines labor regulations and benefits richer countries disproportionately. The EU-India FTA currently being negotiated is based on the unequal power relation between the north and the south and if signed would seriously affect the economic interest and livelihood of the people of South Asia. Intra-regional trade based on the principles of complementarity and protection of workers, farmers and other marginalized communities is necessary and essential for the economic well-being of countries in the region.

Climate change is a critical issue throughout the region, with coastal and mountainous communities facing the greatest threat. Climate justice is closely linked with the more fundamental questions of poverty, marginalisation, deprivation, and skewed development. We appeal to the governments of SAARC to respond to this threat by addressing the question of climate justice, and also by working out unified positions on the climate negotiations and climate justice, and measures taken in energy policy and the development of clean technology.

While conflicts are tearing apart the region and the countries of South Asia, in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India the “war on terror” is claiming thousands of lives as collateral damage. This conflict cannot be resolved without accountability for those who have committed crimes on all sides, including governments. Solutions must be driven by the affected communities whenever possible through transparent processes designed to build trust between communities.

We in PSAARC are deeply concerned about the rise in sectarian violence, militancy based on nationalism and religion, and the support they are getting from the various quarters including the state, Army, Intelligence agencies, etc. Terrorist violence in the name of religion, which was historically sponsored by imperialism has extended its pernicious tentacles all over the region. Wars are being fought over natural resources, for geo-political gains, and also for the hearts and minds of the citizens.

Religious extremism has been spawned by imperialist interests and their drive for global hegemony. It should be fought collectively by the people of South Asia. An increased commitment to democracy and justice and the intensification is the only way to combat this trend.

Fundamental to the creation of a united, peaceful and prosperous South Asia is a liberalised visa regime. The tightening of visa restrictions does not affect those who carry arms and carry out armed attacks on innocents. These are criminals and they do not apply for visas. Those who are affected are those with families in neighbouring countries, those who work on cooperative projects between South Asian countries, those who are peace activists….and also those who are traveling in search of a livelihood.

It is natural that people from the less prosperous regions migrate to places where they can make a living for themselves and their survival. This issue is therefore closely linked with development. The governments of SAARC Countries have an obligation to protect the rights of all South Asian people to earn a decent livelihood. Criminalising them in the name of ‘illegal migration’ is not an option.

The new South Asian region can be created only when we and our political leadership have the courage to develop and implement solutions to these issues. This meeting is an important first step towards this.

We, members of academia, trade unions, NGOs, social movements, womens organizations, who are part of the loose network called PSAARC, believe that SAARC must play a pro-active role to fulfill the aspirations of the people of South Asia along with civil society organizations. Towards this we appeal to the Bangladeshi government, which has been striving to build and extend democracy for its peoples, and from whom we have very high expectations, to support these aspirations of the people of the region.

Precipitating organization and persons:

From AFGANISTAN: RAZ MOHD DALILI- SDE. From INDIA: MEENA RUKMINI MENON- FOCUS, JATIN BABU DESAI-Fucus, LALITA RAMDAS-Greenpeace, KAMLA BHASIN-Sangat, KAMAL ARON MITRA CHENOY -JNU, , Samir Dossai -Action Aid, NEERA CHANDHOKE, BABULAL SHARMA- SAPA, ASHOK GHOSH CHOWDHURY – NFFPFW/NITU,ROMA MALIK -NFFPFW/UP, GAUTAM MODY NTUI, DR.AMRITA CHHACHHI ,ANIL KUMAR CHAUDHURY, Dipali Sharma – Action Aid. From MALDIVES: LATHEEF MOHAMED. From MANILA: JENINA JOY CHAVEZ-Focus. From NEPAL: SARBA RAJ KHADKA-SAAPE/RRW, NETRA PRASAD-TIMSINA Nepal, RACHITA SHARMA DHUNGEL-SAAPE, KAPIL SHRESTHA- NEOC, GOPAL KRISHNA SIWAKOTI – ANFREL, LILADHAR UPADHYAYA-The rising Nepal, BISHNU PUKAR SHRESTHA-CAHURAST, DINASH TRIPATHI- Civil Ribs Association Nepal. From PAKISTAN: KARAMAT ALI, FARRUKH SOHAIL GOINDI – Jumhoori Publications, ZULFIQAR ALI HALEPOTO-PPC, MOHAMED ILYAS- PLP,HASIL KHAN BIZENJO, MOHAMMED ASLAM MERAJ,NAJMA SADEQUE-SHIRKAT GDH, ZAHIDA PARVEEN DETHO- SRPO, SHARAFAT ALI PILER, NADEEM ASHRAF , Anjuman Magarccn Panjab, SHAIKH ASAD REHMAN-Suugi Development Fuondation. From SRILANKA : MOHAMMAD MARUF-Peoples SPACE, SUNILA ABEY SEKARA –SANGAT. From BANGLAESH : Md. Halal uddin – Ongikar, Shahida Khan-Rupanter, Lutfar rahman-BTUC, Mangal Kumar Chakma- PCJSS, Fawzia – SANGAT & UNDP, ADITTYA – IED, Mohiuddin Mohi- SAAPE, Nasir Uddin-GUP/SAPA, Uma Chudhury- SUPRO, Shamima Akter-ASWO foundation,KG Moazzam-CPD, NAVSHARAN SINGH -IDRC, Wajedul Islam-BTUC, Mohammad Latif, Badrul Alam -BKF, Asgor Ali Sabri – Action Aid, Monjur Rari Paramanik- Supro, Muzib-BNPS,M. Aslam- LOM, Titumir-UO, Himadri Ahsan-BNPS,Shahin anam – MJF, AHM Bazlur Rahman-BNNRC, Khushi Kabir- Nijerakori, Numan Ahmed- IED, Hareeda Hassan- ASK/SAHR, Anwar Hossain – WAVE Foundation, A.Haseeb Khan- RIC,

For more clarification, please contact;
Reza, Chief Moderator, EquityBD, Mobile +8801711529792, reza@coastbd.org
———————————————————————————————
C/O SAAPE, PO 8130, 288 Gairidhara Marg, Gairidhara, Kathmandu, Nepal. (T) (977) 14004976, saape@saape.org

People’s SAARC Conference held in New Delhi on 21-23 April 2010

We the members of social movements, prostate civil society organizations, labour unions, peasant movements, other working people’s organizations and women’s groups have gathered here in Delhi from 20th April to 23rd April, 2010 as part of the process of Peoples SAARC to forge a vision for a People’s Union of South Asia. This year’s Peoples’ SAARC is a culmination of a process of more than a decade. It reaffirms the South Asian Peoples commitment to creating a better South Asia free from all forms of discrimination, exclusion and domination. It also calls for the peoples of all SAARC countries to struggle against militarism and jingoism, and for secularism. In our diverse societies of minorities of all kinds, a secular society is crucial for national and societal harmony, human rights and national unity. It calls for equal respect among all countries irrespective of size, and power.

All our countries are suffer and tribals have suffered more including violence against women. It is time that we develop new paradigms of peaceful equitable, and sustainable paths of development that truly reflect the economic potential of our countries and meet the need of our peoples. SAARC countries must ensure the rights of all workers, especially women, tribal and Dalit workers in accordance with international standards including ILO conventions, international covenants and national constitutions .Fisher peoples’ rights to fish in territorial waters be recognized and legally protected through proper mechanisms. Innocent fisherfolk incarcerated for wandering into neighbouring, sometimes disputed, territorial waters be immediately released and the presence of deep sea trawlers and foreign vessels should be banned as these are depleting fish stock and pursuing an unsustainable path apart from severely diminishing the catch of the ordinary fisherfolk.

Climate change and ecological degradation have become a species threat and a threat to the very survival of all life on the planet. Unfortunately the South Asian governments including those like India which were part of the BASIC alliance failed to get an equitable treaty signed at Copenhagen because of resolute resistance by the North led by the USA. Even after the Copenhagen document was arrived at no urgent steps have been taken towards reversing ecological degradation, the reduction of green house gases, all necessitating more sustainable forms of transport, construction, workers and peasants conditions and mining among others. It is imperative for a Peoples union of South Asia that vast areas of Bangladesh, parts of India and island states in the Indian Ocean are not submerged because of a lack of commitment particularly by the North.

In all our countries Human Rights has become a critical problem. Generally international Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is not implemented, even if already ratified. This leads to the flagrant suppression of movements that challenge the state, only some of which are violent. This is true of the entire sub continent.

People’s movements to protect the forests, the rivers, and other natural resources are often brutally repressed.

Peoples land is acquired for a relatively paltry sum in the name of development, and their rehabilitation is well below international standards. This of course is part of neo- liberalism. However the elites have become exceedingly selfish, intolerant and oblivious of the suffering of the people.

A major positive response would be facilitated at the South Asia level if people to people contact throughout the region was facilitated. This would enable experts and activists to interact across countries and regions to explore possibilities of a more just, peaceful, sustainable and equitable path of development which is also gender just. On the contrary, far from instituting a visa free South Asia our governments are increasing restrictions on people to people dialogue and some of these moves have been highly retrograde. This is not only a great barrier too our goal of a Peoples Union of South Asia, but is also a severe restriction on our efforts to move towards that goal.

We recognize the universality of opportunity, equal rights and dignity of all people including excluded groups and minorities; including ethnic, sexual and the differently abled. We recognize the prevalence of patriarchy, masculinity, religious extremism and caste based discrimination that deny human dignity, socio-economic and political equality and justice to the millions of backward classes and deny women sexual and reproductive health rights in the SAARC countries.

There is need for alternate regional trade and economic framework that meet the needs and aspirations of small and medium producers and labour. This will ensure the defeat of neo-liberal instruments such as the WTO and free trade agreements in the region. We need to work out fair trade relations within South Asia as a precondition for fair trade relations with the rest of the world. This would also provide a democratic alternative to neo-liberal free trade agreements. It would also facilitate a fair wage for those in the import-export and connected sectors.

The SAARC countries must beware of imperialist machinations, designed to overthrow pro-people regimes or to play countries off against another to weaken SAARC unity. SAARC countries must radically cut down expenditures on conventional arms, and move towards a South Asian nuclear weapons free zone. This would save billions of dollars for the social sector. These countries must avoid strategic alliances with the US and allied powers. We urge that there be a no war pact between all SAARC countries.

Inter-state relations must be based on respect and equality and all unequal treaties should be annulled. Above all, states must respect each other’s sovereignty. Military intervention and espionage operations on each others territories is the most glaring violation of this sovereignty. Terrorism has been a serious problem in Pakistan, India and recently in Sri Lanka. Where these movements involve alienation or deprivation of natural resources, there must be dialogue. Most terrorist movements are political. Military means should not be the main method of countering them. Fundamentalist movements who refuse dialogue should be countered. Militarism as a State ideology is a threat to democracy and peaceful dissent.

There should be recognition of health, education, housing, employment and adequate food as basic rights.
More investment in the social sector is essential for a more equitable and sustainable society. The billions of dollars spent on defense not only foster aggressive militarism but also take away scarce resources otherwise available for the social sector and basic human rights. We uphold knowledge commons rather than patents which exploit our market and people. New attempts in WTO to bring generic drugs into TRIPS must be resisted so that vital medicines for HIV, new strains of Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Malaria etc. do not become unaffordable. Unconditional cancellation of loans from international financial institutions and bilateral debt with the North, are a must for funds for socio-economic development.

Food banks should be set up of surplus food particularly food grains. Remunerative prices must be given to farmers for their produce. The poor must be provided food at subsidized prices. GM seeds should be banned.

Seeds, fertilizers and pesticides must be provided at subsidized prices, along with diesel and electricity. Urgent steps should be taken for the forest dwellers who should have a right to the forest produce, and food and other subsidies in times of drought. Forest dwellers should have a right to the forest, and the economic exploitation of the forest. Through mining and the timber trade by corporate and contractors should be immediately stopped.

The right to mobility with dignity is a human right. Migrants should be assured of dignity and the right to work as well as physical protection, basic amenities and adequate wages. Safeguards for the basic rights of the local people must be instituted. Victims of trafficking, especially women and children must be protected. Similarly the rights of individuals and communities subject to forced displacement, disasters and forced eviction should be protected. Peaceful and just resolution of all conflicts in the region through political negotiations is imperative. This will include negotiations with the people of disputed territories.

We call upon the SAARC governments to seriously address these concerns and demands of the people of the region. Governments must be accountable to the citizens of the countries in this region.
We laud the democratic struggles and the resistance to neo-liberalism in the region. Our Peoples Union of South Asia is a rainbow coalition of democratic forces. We pledge to continue to learn, inspire, struggle and empower each other to realize this vision.a

We the members of social movements, civil society organizations, discount labour unions, peasant movements, other
working people’s organizations and women’s groups have gathered here in Delhi from 20th April to 23rd  April,
2010 as part of the process of Peoples SAARC to forge a vision for a People’s Union of South Asia. This
year’s Peoples’ SAARC is a culmination of a process of more than a decade. It reaffirms the South Asian
Peoples commitment to creating a better South Asia free from all forms of discrimination, exclusion and
domination. It also calls for the peoples of all SAARC countries to struggle against militarism and jingoism,
and for secularism. In our diverse societies of minorities of all kinds, a secular society is crucial for national
and societal harmony, human rights and national unity.  It calls for equal respect among all  countries
irrespective of size, and power. 
All our countries are suffer and tribals  have suffered more including violence against women. It is time that
we develop new paradigms of peaceful equitable, and sustainable paths of development that truly reflect the
economic potential  of our countries and meet the need of our peoples. SAARC countries must ensure the
rights of all workers, especially women, tribal and Dalit workers in accordance with international standards
including ILO conventions, international covenants and national constitutions .Fisher peoples’ rights to fish in
territorial waters be recognized and legally protected through proper mechanisms. Innocent fisherfolk
incarcerated for wandering into neighbouring, sometimes disputed, territorial waters be immediately released
and the presence of deep sea trawlers and foreign vessels should be banned as these are depleting fish stock
and pursuing an unsustainable path apart from severely diminishing the catch of the ordinary fisherfolk.
Climate change and ecological degradation have become a species threat and a threat to the very survival of all
life on the planet. Unfortunately the South Asian governments including those like India which were part of
the BASIC alliance failed to get an equitable treaty signed at Copenhagen because of resolute resistance by the
North led by the USA. Even after the Copenhagen document was arrived at no urgent steps have been taken
towards reversing ecological degradation, the reduction of green house gases, all necessitating more
sustainable forms of transport, construction, workers and peasants conditions and mining among others. It is
imperative for a Peoples union of South Asia that vast areas of Bangladesh, parts of India and island states in
the Indian Ocean are not submerged because of a lack of commitment particularly by the North.
In all our countries Human Rights has become a critical problem. Generally international Human Rights and
Humanitarian Law is not implemented, even if already ratified. This leads to the flagrant suppression of
movements that challenge the state, only some of which are violent. This is true of the entire sub continent.

People’s movements to protect the forests, the rivers, and other natural resources are often brutally repressed.
Peoples land is acquired for a relatively paltry sum in the name of development, and their rehabilitation is well
below international standards. This of course is part of neo- liberalism. However the elites have become
exceedingly selfish, intolerant and oblivious of the suffering of the people.
A major positive response would be facilitated at the South Asia level if people to people contact throughout
the region was facilitated. This would enable experts and activists to interact across countries and regions to
explore possibilities of a more just, peaceful, sustainable and equitable path of development which is also
gender just. On the contrary, far from instituting a visa free South Asia our governments are increasing
restrictions on people to people dialogue and some of these moves have been highly retrograde. This is not
only a great barrier too our goal of a Peoples Union of South Asia, but is also a severe restriction on our efforts
to move towards that goal. 
We recognize the universality of opportunity, equal rights and dignity of all people including excluded groups
and minorities; including ethnic, sexual and the differently abled. We recognize the prevalence of patriarchy,
masculinity, religious extremism and caste  based discrimination that deny human dignity, socio-economic and
political equality and justice to the millions of backward classes and deny women sexual and reproductive
health rights in the SAARC countries.
There is need for alternate regional trade and economic framework that meet the needs and aspirations of small
and medium producers and labour. This will ensure the defeat of neo-liberal instruments such as the WTO and
free trade agreements in the region. We need to work out fair trade relations within South Asia as a
precondition for fair trade relations with the rest of the world. This would also provide a democratic alternative
to neo-liberal free trade agreements. It would also facilitate a fair wage for those in the import-export and
connected sectors.
The SAARC countries must beware of imperialist machinations, designed to overthrow pro-people regimes or
to play  countries off against another to weaken SAARC unity. SAARC countries must radically cut down
expenditures on conventional arms, and move towards a South Asian nuclear weapons free zone. This would
save billions of dollars for the social sector. These countries must avoid strategic alliances with the US and
allied powers.  We urge that there be a no war pact between all SAARC countries.
Inter-state relations must be based on respect and equality and all unequal treaties should be annulled. Above
all, states must respect each other’s sovereignty. Military intervention and espionage operations on each others
territories is the most glaring violation of this sovereignty. Terrorism has been a serious problem in Pakistan,
India and recently in Sri Lanka. Where these movements involve alienation or deprivation of natural resources,

there must be dialogue. Most terrorist movements are political. Military means should not be the main method
of countering them. Fundamentalist movements who refuse dialogue should be countered. Militarism as a
State ideology is a threat to democracy and peaceful dissent. 
There should be recognition of health, education, housing, employment and adequate food as basic rights.
More investment in the social sector is essential for a more equitable and sustainable society. The billions of
dollars spent on defense not only foster aggressive militarism but also take away scarce resources otherwise
available for the social sector and basic human rights. We uphold knowledge commons rather than patents
which exploit our market and people. New attempts in WTO to bring generic drugs into TRIPS must be
resisted so that vital medicines for HIV, new strains of Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Malaria etc. do not become
unaffordable. Unconditional cancellation of loans from international financial institutions and bilateral debt
with the North, are a must for funds for socio-economic development.
Food banks should be set up of surplus food particularly food grains. Remunerative prices must be given to
farmers for their produce. The poor must be provided food at subsidized prices. GM seeds should be banned.
Seeds, fertilizers and pesticides must be provided at subsidized prices, along with diesel and electricity. Urgent
steps should be taken for the forest dwellers who should have a right to the forest produce, and food and other
subsidies in times of drought. Forest dwellers should have a right to the forest, and the economic exploitation
of the forest. Through mining and the timber trade by corporate and contractors should be immediately
stopped.
The right to mobility with dignity is a human right. Migrants should be assured of dignity and the right to work
as well as physical protection, basic amenities and adequate wages. Safegaurds for the basic rights of the local
people must be instituted. Victims of trafficking, especially women and children must be protected. Similarly
the rights of individuals and communities subject to forced displacement, disasters and forced eviction should
be protected. Peaceful and just resolution of all conflicts in the region through political negotiations is
imperative. This will include negotiations with the people of disputed territories.
We call upon the SAARC governments to seriously address these  concerns and demands of the people of the
region. Governments must be accountable to the citizens of the countries in this region.
We laud the democratic struggles and the resistance to neo-liberalism in the region. Our Peoples Union of
South Asia is a rainbow coalition of democratic forces. We pledge to continue to learn, inspire, struggle and
empower each other to realize this vision.

We the members of social movements, look civil society organizations, check labour unions, peasant movements, other working people’s organizations and women’s groups have gathered here in Delhi from 20th April to 23rd April, 2010 as part of the process of Peoples SAARC to forge a vision for a People’s Union of South Asia. This year’s Peoples’ SAARC is a culmination of a process of more than a decade. It reaffirms the South Asian Peoples commitment to creating a better South Asia free from all forms of discrimination, exclusion and domination. It also calls for the peoples of all SAARC countries to struggle against militarism and jingoism, and for secularism. In our diverse societies of minorities of all kinds, a secular society is crucial for national and societal harmony, human rights and national unity. It calls for equal respect among all countries irrespective of size, and power.
All our countries are suffer and tribals have suffered more including violence against women. It is time that we develop new paradigms of peaceful equitable, and sustainable paths of development that truly reflect the economic potential of our countries and meet the need of our peoples. SAARC countries must ensure the rights of all workers, especially women, tribal and Dalit workers in accordance with international standards including ILO conventions, international covenants and national constitutions .Fisher peoples’ rights to fish in territorial waters be recognized and legally protected through proper mechanisms. Innocent fisherfolk incarcerated for wandering into neighbouring, sometimes disputed, territorial waters be immediately released and the presence of deep sea trawlers and foreign vessels should be banned as these are depleting fish stock and pursuing an unsustainable path apart from severely diminishing the catch of the ordinary fisherfolk.
Climate change and ecological degradation have become a species threat and a threat to the very survival of all life on the planet. Unfortunately the South Asian governments including those like India which were part of the BASIC alliance failed to get an equitable treaty signed at Copenhagen because of resolute resistance by the North led by the USA. Even after the Copenhagen document was arrived at no urgent steps have been taken towards reversing ecological degradation, the reduction of green house gases, all necessitating more sustainable forms of transport, construction, workers and peasants conditions and mining among others. It is imperative for a Peoples union of South Asia that vast areas of Bangladesh, parts of India and island states in the Indian Ocean are not submerged because of a lack of commitment particularly by the North.
In all our countries Human Rights has become a critical problem. Generally international Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is not implemented, even if already ratified. This leads to the flagrant suppression of movements that challenge the state, only some of which are violent. This is true of the entire sub continent.
People’s movements to protect the forests, the rivers, and other natural resources are often brutally repressed.
Peoples land is acquired for a relatively paltry sum in the name of development, and their rehabilitation is well below international standards. This of course is part of neo- liberalism. However the elites have become exceedingly selfish, intolerant and oblivious of the suffering of the people.
A major positive response would be facilitated at the South Asia level if people to people contact throughout the region was facilitated. This would enable experts and activists to interact across countries and regions to explore possibilities of a more just, peaceful, sustainable and equitable path of development which is also gender just. On the contrary, far from instituting a visa free South Asia our governments are increasing restrictions on people to people dialogue and some of these moves have been highly retrograde. This is not only a great barrier too our goal of a Peoples Union of South Asia, but is also a severe restriction on our efforts to move towards that goal.
We recognize the universality of opportunity, equal rights and dignity of all people including excluded groups and minorities; including ethnic, sexual and the differently abled. We recognize the prevalence of patriarchy, masculinity, religious extremism and caste based discrimination that deny human dignity, socio-economic and political equality and justice to the millions of backward classes and deny women sexual and reproductive health rights in the SAARC countries.
There is need for alternate regional trade and economic framework that meet the needs and aspirations of small and medium producers and labour. This will ensure the defeat of neo-liberal instruments such as the WTO and free trade agreements in the region. We need to work out fair trade relations within South Asia as a precondition for fair trade relations with the rest of the world. This would also provide a democratic alternative to neo-liberal free trade agreements. It would also facilitate a fair wage for those in the import-export and connected sectors.
The SAARC countries must beware of imperialist machinations, designed to overthrow pro-people regimes or to play countries off against another to weaken SAARC unity. SAARC countries must radically cut down expenditures on conventional arms, and move towards a South Asian nuclear weapons free zone. This would save billions of dollars for the social sector. These countries must avoid strategic alliances with the US and allied powers. We urge that there be a no war pact between all SAARC countries.
Inter-state relations must be based on respect and equality and all unequal treaties should be annulled. Above all, states must respect each other’s sovereignty. Military intervention and espionage operations on each others territories is the most glaring violation of this sovereignty. Terrorism has been a serious problem in Pakistan, India and recently in Sri Lanka. Where these movements involve alienation or deprivation of natural resources, there must be dialogue. Most terrorist movements are political. Military means should not be the main method of countering them. Fundamentalist movements who refuse dialogue should be countered. Militarism as a State ideology is a threat to democracy and peaceful dissent.
There should be recognition of health, education, housing, employment and adequate food as basic rights.
More investment in the social sector is essential for a more equitable and sustainable society. The billions of dollars spent on defense not only foster aggressive militarism but also take away scarce resources otherwise available for the social sector and basic human rights. We uphold knowledge commons rather than patents which exploit our market and people. New attempts in WTO to bring generic drugs into TRIPS must be resisted so that vital medicines for HIV, new strains of Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Malaria etc. do not become unaffordable. Unconditional cancellation of loans from international financial institutions and bilateral debt with the North, are a must for funds for socio-economic development.
Food banks should be set up of surplus food particularly food grains. Remunerative prices must be given to farmers for their produce. The poor must be provided food at subsidized prices. GM seeds should be banned.
Seeds, fertilizers and pesticides must be provided at subsidized prices, along with diesel and electricity. Urgent steps should be taken for the forest dwellers who should have a right to the forest produce, and food and other subsidies in times of drought. Forest dwellers should have a right to the forest, and the economic exploitation of the forest. Through mining and the timber trade by corporate and contractors should be immediately stopped.
The right to mobility with dignity is a human right. Migrants should be assured of dignity and the right to work as well as physical protection, basic amenities and adequate wages. Safeguards for the basic rights of the local people must be instituted. Victims of trafficking, especially women and children must be protected. Similarly the rights of individuals and communities subject to forced displacement, disasters and forced eviction should be protected. Peaceful and just resolution of all conflicts in the region through political negotiations is imperative. This will include negotiations with the people of disputed territories.
We call upon the SAARC governments to seriously address these concerns and demands of the people of the region. Governments must be accountable to the citizens of the countries in this region.
We laud the democratic struggles and the resistance to neo-liberalism in the region. Our Peoples Union of South Asia is a rainbow coalition of democratic forces. We pledge to continue to learn, inspire, struggle and empower each other to realize this vision.a

We the members of social movements, discount civil society organizations, pills labour unions, working people’s organizations and women’s groups have gathered here in Delhi from 20th April to 23rd  April,
2010 as part of the process of Peoples SAARC to forge a vision for a People’s Union of South Asia. This
year’s Peoples’ SAARC is a culmination of a process of more than a decade. It reaffirms the South Asian
Peoples commitment to creating a better South Asia free from all forms of discrimination, exclusion and
domination. It also calls for the peoples of all SAARC countries to struggle against militarism and jingoism,
and for secularism. In our diverse societies of minorities of all kinds, a secular society is crucial for national
and societal harmony, human rights and national unity.  It calls for equal respect among all  countries
irrespective of size, and power. 
All our countries are suffer and tribals  have suffered more including violence against women. It is time that
we develop new paradigms of peaceful equitable, and sustainable paths of development that truly reflect the
economic potential  of our countries and meet the need of our peoples. SAARC countries must ensure the
rights of all workers, especially women, tribal and Dalit workers in accordance with international standards
including ILO conventions, international covenants and national constitutions .Fisher peoples’ rights to fish in
territorial waters be recognized and legally protected through proper mechanisms. Innocent fisherfolk
incarcerated for wandering into neighbouring, sometimes disputed, territorial waters be immediately released
and the presence of deep sea trawlers and foreign vessels should be banned as these are depleting fish stock
and pursuing an unsustainable path apart from severely diminishing the catch of the ordinary fisherfolk.
Climate change and ecological degradation have become a species threat and a threat to the very survival of all
life on the planet. Unfortunately the South Asian governments including those like India which were part of
the BASIC alliance failed to get an equitable treaty signed at Copenhagen because of resolute resistance by the
North led by the USA. Even after the Copenhagen document was arrived at no urgent steps have been taken
towards reversing ecological degradation, the reduction of green house gases, all necessitating more
sustainable forms of transport, construction, workers and peasants conditions and mining among others. It is
imperative for a Peoples union of South Asia that vast areas of Bangladesh, parts of India and island states in
the Indian Ocean are not submerged because of a lack of commitment particularly by the North.
In all our countries Human Rights has become a critical problem. Generally international Human Rights and
Humanitarian Law is not implemented, even if already ratified. This leads to the flagrant suppression of
movements that challenge the state, only some of which are violent. This is true of the entire sub continent.

People’s movements to protect the forests, the rivers, and other natural resources are often brutally repressed.
Peoples land is acquired for a relatively paltry sum in the name of development, and their rehabilitation is well
below international standards. This of course is part of neo- liberalism. However the elites have become
exceedingly selfish, intolerant and oblivious of the suffering of the people.
A major positive response would be facilitated at the South Asia level if people to people contact throughout
the region was facilitated. This would enable experts and activists to interact across countries and regions to
explore possibilities of a more just, peaceful, sustainable and equitable path of development which is also
gender just. On the contrary, far from instituting a visa free South Asia our governments are increasing
restrictions on people to people dialogue and some of these moves have been highly retrograde. This is not
only a great barrier too our goal of a Peoples Union of South Asia, but is also a severe restriction on our efforts
to move towards that goal. 
We recognize the universality of opportunity, equal rights and dignity of all people including excluded groups
and minorities; including ethnic, sexual and the differently abled. We recognize the prevalence of patriarchy,
masculinity, religious extremism and caste  based discrimination that deny human dignity, socio-economic and
political equality and justice to the millions of backward classes and deny women sexual and reproductive
health rights in the SAARC countries.
There is need for alternate regional trade and economic framework that meet the needs and aspirations of small
and medium producers and labour. This will ensure the defeat of neo-liberal instruments such as the WTO and
free trade agreements in the region. We need to work out fair trade relations within South Asia as a
precondition for fair trade relations with the rest of the world. This would also provide a democratic alternative
to neo-liberal free trade agreements. It would also facilitate a fair wage for those in the import-export and
connected sectors.
The SAARC countries must beware of imperialist machinations, designed to overthrow pro-people regimes or
to play  countries off against another to weaken SAARC unity. SAARC countries must radically cut down
expenditures on conventional arms, and move towards a South Asian nuclear weapons free zone. This would
save billions of dollars for the social sector. These countries must avoid strategic alliances with the US and
allied powers.  We urge that there be a no war pact between all SAARC countries.
Inter-state relations must be based on respect and equality and all unequal treaties should be annulled. Above
all, states must respect each other’s sovereignty. Military intervention and espionage operations on each others
territories is the most glaring violation of this sovereignty. Terrorism has been a serious problem in Pakistan,
India and recently in Sri Lanka. Where these movements involve alienation or deprivation of natural resources,

there must be dialogue. Most terrorist movements are political. Military means should not be the main method
of countering them. Fundamentalist movements who refuse dialogue should be countered. Militarism as a
State ideology is a threat to democracy and peaceful dissent. 
There should be recognition of health, education, housing, employment and adequate food as basic rights.
More investment in the social sector is essential for a more equitable and sustainable society. The billions of
dollars spent on defense not only foster aggressive militarism but also take away scarce resources otherwise
available for the social sector and basic human rights. We uphold knowledge commons rather than patents
which exploit our market and people. New attempts in WTO to bring generic drugs into TRIPS must be
resisted so that vital medicines for HIV, new strains of Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Malaria etc. do not become
unaffordable. Unconditional cancellation of loans from international financial institutions and bilateral debt
with the North, are a must for funds for socio-economic development.
Food banks should be set up of surplus food particularly food grains. Remunerative prices must be given to
farmers for their produce. The poor must be provided food at subsidized prices. GM seeds should be banned.
Seeds, fertilizers and pesticides must be provided at subsidized prices, along with diesel and electricity. Urgent
steps should be taken for the forest dwellers who should have a right to the forest produce, and food and other
subsidies in times of drought. Forest dwellers should have a right to the forest, and the economic exploitation
of the forest. Through mining and the timber trade by corporate and contractors should be immediately
stopped.
The right to mobility with dignity is a human right. Migrants should be assured of dignity and the right to work
as well as physical protection, basic amenities and adequate wages. Safegaurds for the basic rights of the local
people must be instituted. Victims of trafficking, especially women and children must be protected. Similarly
the rights of individuals and communities subject to forced displacement, disasters and forced eviction should
be protected. Peaceful and just resolution of all conflicts in the region through political negotiations is
imperative. This will include negotiations with the people of disputed territories.
We call upon the SAARC governments to seriously address these  concerns and demands of the people of the
region. Governments must be accountable to the citizens of the countries in this region.
We laud the democratic struggles and the resistance to neo-liberalism in the region. Our Peoples Union of
South Asia is a rainbow coalition of democratic forces. We pledge to continue to learn, inspire, struggle and
empower each other to realize this vision.

We the members of social movements, civil society organizations, ask labour unions, peasant movements, other working people’s organizations and women’s groups have gathered here in Delhi from 20th April to 23rd  April,
2010 as part of the process of Peoples SAARC to forge a vision for a People’s Union of South Asia. This
year’s Peoples’ SAARC is a culmination of a process of more than a decade. It reaffirms the South Asian
Peoples commitment to creating a better South Asia free from all forms of discrimination, exclusion and
domination. It also calls for the peoples of all SAARC countries to struggle against militarism and jingoism,
and for secularism. In our diverse societies of minorities of all kinds, a secular society is crucial for national
and societal harmony, human rights and national unity.  It calls for equal respect among all  countries
irrespective of size, and power. 
All our countries are suffer and tribals  have suffered more including violence against women. It is time that
we develop new paradigms of peaceful equitable, and sustainable paths of development that truly reflect the
economic potential  of our countries and meet the need of our peoples. SAARC countries must ensure the
rights of all workers, especially women, tribal and Dalit workers in accordance with international standards
including ILO conventions, international covenants and national constitutions .Fisher peoples’ rights to fish in
territorial waters be recognized and legally protected through proper mechanisms. Innocent fisherfolk
incarcerated for wandering into neighbouring, sometimes disputed, territorial waters be immediately released
and the presence of deep sea trawlers and foreign vessels should be banned as these are depleting fish stock
and pursuing an unsustainable path apart from severely diminishing the catch of the ordinary fisherfolk.
Climate change and ecological degradation have become a species threat and a threat to the very survival of all
life on the planet. Unfortunately the South Asian governments including those like India which were part of
the BASIC alliance failed to get an equitable treaty signed at Copenhagen because of resolute resistance by the
North led by the USA. Even after the Copenhagen document was arrived at no urgent steps have been taken
towards reversing ecological degradation, the reduction of green house gases, all necessitating more
sustainable forms of transport, construction, workers and peasants conditions and mining among others. It is
imperative for a Peoples union of South Asia that vast areas of Bangladesh, parts of India and island states in
the Indian Ocean are not submerged because of a lack of commitment particularly by the North.
In all our countries Human Rights has become a critical problem. Generally international Human Rights and
Humanitarian Law is not implemented, even if already ratified. This leads to the flagrant suppression of
movements that challenge the state, only some of which are violent. This is true of the entire sub continent.

People’s movements to protect the forests, the rivers, and other natural resources are often brutally repressed.
Peoples land is acquired for a relatively paltry sum in the name of development, and their rehabilitation is well
below international standards. This of course is part of neo- liberalism. However the elites have become
exceedingly selfish, intolerant and oblivious of the suffering of the people.
A major positive response would be facilitated at the South Asia level if people to people contact throughout
the region was facilitated. This would enable experts and activists to interact across countries and regions to
explore possibilities of a more just, peaceful, sustainable and equitable path of development which is also
gender just. On the contrary, far from instituting a visa free South Asia our governments are increasing
restrictions on people to people dialogue and some of these moves have been highly retrograde. This is not
only a great barrier too our goal of a Peoples Union of South Asia, but is also a severe restriction on our efforts
to move towards that goal. 
We recognize the universality of opportunity, equal rights and dignity of all people including excluded groups
and minorities; including ethnic, sexual and the differently abled. We recognize the prevalence of patriarchy,
masculinity, religious extremism and caste  based discrimination that deny human dignity, socio-economic and
political equality and justice to the millions of backward classes and deny women sexual and reproductive
health rights in the SAARC countries.
There is need for alternate regional trade and economic framework that meet the needs and aspirations of small
and medium producers and labour. This will ensure the defeat of neo-liberal instruments such as the WTO and
free trade agreements in the region. We need to work out fair trade relations within South Asia as a
precondition for fair trade relations with the rest of the world. This would also provide a democratic alternative
to neo-liberal free trade agreements. It would also facilitate a fair wage for those in the import-export and
connected sectors.
The SAARC countries must beware of imperialist machinations, designed to overthrow pro-people regimes or
to play  countries off against another to weaken SAARC unity. SAARC countries must radically cut down
expenditures on conventional arms, and move towards a South Asian nuclear weapons free zone. This would
save billions of dollars for the social sector. These countries must avoid strategic alliances with the US and
allied powers.  We urge that there be a no war pact between all SAARC countries.
Inter-state relations must be based on respect and equality and all unequal treaties should be annulled. Above
all, states must respect each other’s sovereignty. Military intervention and espionage operations on each others
territories is the most glaring violation of this sovereignty. Terrorism has been a serious problem in Pakistan,
India and recently in Sri Lanka. Where these movements involve alienation or deprivation of natural resources,

there must be dialogue. Most terrorist movements are political. Military means should not be the main method
of countering them. Fundamentalist movements who refuse dialogue should be countered. Militarism as a
State ideology is a threat to democracy and peaceful dissent. 
There should be recognition of health, education, housing, employment and adequate food as basic rights.
More investment in the social sector is essential for a more equitable and sustainable society. The billions of
dollars spent on defense not only foster aggressive militarism but also take away scarce resources otherwise
available for the social sector and basic human rights. We uphold knowledge commons rather than patents
which exploit our market and people. New attempts in WTO to bring generic drugs into TRIPS must be
resisted so that vital medicines for HIV, new strains of Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Malaria etc. do not become
unaffordable. Unconditional cancellation of loans from international financial institutions and bilateral debt
with the North, are a must for funds for socio-economic development.
Food banks should be set up of surplus food particularly food grains. Remunerative prices must be given to
farmers for their produce. The poor must be provided food at subsidized prices. GM seeds should be banned.
Seeds, fertilizers and pesticides must be provided at subsidized prices, along with diesel and electricity. Urgent
steps should be taken for the forest dwellers who should have a right to the forest produce, and food and other
subsidies in times of drought. Forest dwellers should have a right to the forest, and the economic exploitation
of the forest. Through mining and the timber trade by corporate and contractors should be immediately
stopped.
The right to mobility with dignity is a human right. Migrants should be assured of dignity and the right to work
as well as physical protection, basic amenities and adequate wages. Safegaurds for the basic rights of the local
people must be instituted. Victims of trafficking, especially women and children must be protected. Similarly
the rights of individuals and communities subject to forced displacement, disasters and forced eviction should
be protected. Peaceful and just resolution of all conflicts in the region through political negotiations is
imperative. This will include negotiations with the people of disputed territories.
We call upon the SAARC governments to seriously address these  concerns and demands of the people of the
region. Governments must be accountable to the citizens of the countries in this region.
We laud the democratic struggles and the resistance to neo-liberalism in the region. Our Peoples Union of
South Asia is a rainbow coalition of democratic forces. We pledge to continue to learn, inspire, struggle and
empower each other to realize this vision.

We the members of social movements, treat civil society organizations, seek labour unions, peasant movements, other
working people’s organizations and women’s groups have gathered here in Delhi from 20th April to 23rd  April,
2010 as part of the process of Peoples SAARC to forge a vision for a People’s Union of South Asia. This
year’s Peoples’ SAARC is a culmination of a process of more than a decade. It reaffirms the South Asian
Peoples commitment to creating a better South Asia free from all forms of discrimination, exclusion and
domination. It also calls for the peoples of all SAARC countries to struggle against militarism and jingoism,
and for secularism. In our diverse societies of minorities of all kinds, a secular society is crucial for national
and societal harmony, human rights and national unity.  It calls for equal respect among all  countries
irrespective of size, and power. 
All our countries are suffer and tribals  have suffered more including violence against women. It is time that
we develop new paradigms of peaceful equitable, and sustainable paths of development that truly reflect the
economic potential  of our countries and meet the need of our peoples. SAARC countries must ensure the
rights of all workers, especially women, tribal and Dalit workers in accordance with international standards
including ILO conventions, international covenants and national constitutions .Fisher peoples’ rights to fish in
territorial waters be recognized and legally protected through proper mechanisms. Innocent fisherfolk
incarcerated for wandering into neighbouring, sometimes disputed, territorial waters be immediately released
and the presence of deep sea trawlers and foreign vessels should be banned as these are depleting fish stock
and pursuing an unsustainable path apart from severely diminishing the catch of the ordinary fisherfolk.
Climate change and ecological degradation have become a species threat and a threat to the very survival of all
life on the planet. Unfortunately the South Asian governments including those like India which were part of
the BASIC alliance failed to get an equitable treaty signed at Copenhagen because of resolute resistance by the
North led by the USA. Even after the Copenhagen document was arrived at no urgent steps have been taken
towards reversing ecological degradation, the reduction of green house gases, all necessitating more
sustainable forms of transport, construction, workers and peasants conditions and mining among others. It is
imperative for a Peoples union of South Asia that vast areas of Bangladesh, parts of India and island states in
the Indian Ocean are not submerged because of a lack of commitment particularly by the North.
In all our countries Human Rights has become a critical problem. Generally international Human Rights and
Humanitarian Law is not implemented, even if already ratified. This leads to the flagrant suppression of
movements that challenge the state, only some of which are violent. This is true of the entire sub continent.

People’s movements to protect the forests, the rivers, and other natural resources are often brutally repressed.
Peoples land is acquired for a relatively paltry sum in the name of development, and their rehabilitation is well
below international standards. This of course is part of neo- liberalism. However the elites have become
exceedingly selfish, intolerant and oblivious of the suffering of the people.
A major positive response would be facilitated at the South Asia level if people to people contact throughout
the region was facilitated. This would enable experts and activists to interact across countries and regions to
explore possibilities of a more just, peaceful, sustainable and equitable path of development which is also
gender just. On the contrary, far from instituting a visa free South Asia our governments are increasing
restrictions on people to people dialogue and some of these moves have been highly retrograde. This is not
only a great barrier too our goal of a Peoples Union of South Asia, but is also a severe restriction on our efforts
to move towards that goal. 
We recognize the universality of opportunity, equal rights and dignity of all people including excluded groups
and minorities; including ethnic, sexual and the differently abled. We recognize the prevalence of patriarchy,
masculinity, religious extremism and caste  based discrimination that deny human dignity, socio-economic and
political equality and justice to the millions of backward classes and deny women sexual and reproductive
health rights in the SAARC countries.
There is need for alternate regional trade and economic framework that meet the needs and aspirations of small
and medium producers and labour. This will ensure the defeat of neo-liberal instruments such as the WTO and
free trade agreements in the region. We need to work out fair trade relations within South Asia as a
precondition for fair trade relations with the rest of the world. This would also provide a democratic alternative
to neo-liberal free trade agreements. It would also facilitate a fair wage for those in the import-export and
connected sectors.
The SAARC countries must beware of imperialist machinations, designed to overthrow pro-people regimes or
to play  countries off against another to weaken SAARC unity. SAARC countries must radically cut down
expenditures on conventional arms, and move towards a South Asian nuclear weapons free zone. This would
save billions of dollars for the social sector. These countries must avoid strategic alliances with the US and
allied powers.  We urge that there be a no war pact between all SAARC countries.
Inter-state relations must be based on respect and equality and all unequal treaties should be annulled. Above
all, states must respect each other’s sovereignty. Military intervention and espionage operations on each others
territories is the most glaring violation of this sovereignty. Terrorism has been a serious problem in Pakistan,
India and recently in Sri Lanka. Where these movements involve alienation or deprivation of natural resources,

there must be dialogue. Most terrorist movements are political. Military means should not be the main method
of countering them. Fundamentalist movements who refuse dialogue should be countered. Militarism as a
State ideology is a threat to democracy and peaceful dissent. 
There should be recognition of health, education, housing, employment and adequate food as basic rights.
More investment in the social sector is essential for a more equitable and sustainable society. The billions of
dollars spent on defense not only foster aggressive militarism but also take away scarce resources otherwise
available for the social sector and basic human rights. We uphold knowledge commons rather than patents
which exploit our market and people. New attempts in WTO to bring generic drugs into TRIPS must be
resisted so that vital medicines for HIV, new strains of Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Malaria etc. do not become
unaffordable. Unconditional cancellation of loans from international financial institutions and bilateral debt
with the North, are a must for funds for socio-economic development.
Food banks should be set up of surplus food particularly food grains. Remunerative prices must be given to
farmers for their produce. The poor must be provided food at subsidized prices. GM seeds should be banned.
Seeds, fertilizers and pesticides must be provided at subsidized prices, along with diesel and electricity. Urgent
steps should be taken for the forest dwellers who should have a right to the forest produce, and food and other
subsidies in times of drought. Forest dwellers should have a right to the forest, and the economic exploitation
of the forest. Through mining and the timber trade by corporate and contractors should be immediately
stopped.
The right to mobility with dignity is a human right. Migrants should be assured of dignity and the right to work
as well as physical protection, basic amenities and adequate wages. Safegaurds for the basic rights of the local
people must be instituted. Victims of trafficking, especially women and children must be protected. Similarly
the rights of individuals and communities subject to forced displacement, disasters and forced eviction should
be protected. Peaceful and just resolution of all conflicts in the region through political negotiations is
imperative. This will include negotiations with the people of disputed territories.
We call upon the SAARC governments to seriously address these  concerns and demands of the people of the
region. Governments must be accountable to the citizens of the countries in this region.
We laud the democratic struggles and the resistance to neo-liberalism in the region. Our Peoples Union of
South Asia is a rainbow coalition of democratic forces. We pledge to continue to learn, inspire, struggle and
empower each other to realize this vision.

We the members of social movements, stuff civil society organizations, labour unions, peasant movements, other working people’s organizations and women’s groups have gathered here in Delhi from 20th April to 23rd April, 2010 as part of the process of Peoples SAARC to forge a vision for a People’s Union of South Asia. This year’s Peoples’ SAARC is a culmination of a process of more than a decade. It reaffirms the South Asian Peoples commitment to creating a better South Asia free from all forms of discrimination, exclusion and domination. It also calls for the peoples of all SAARC countries to struggle against militarism and jingoism, and for secularism. In our diverse societies of minorities of all kinds, a secular society is crucial for national and societal harmony, human rights and national unity. It calls for equal respect among all countries irrespective of size, and power.
All our countries are suffer and tribals have suffered more including violence against women. It is time that we develop new paradigms of peaceful equitable, and sustainable paths of development that truly reflect the economic potential of our countries and meet the need of our peoples. SAARC countries must ensure the rights of all workers, especially women, tribal and Dalit workers in accordance with international standards including ILO conventions, international covenants and national constitutions .Fisher peoples’ rights to fish in territorial waters be recognized and legally protected through proper mechanisms. Innocent fisherfolk incarcerated for wandering into neighbouring, sometimes disputed, territorial waters be immediately released and the presence of deep sea trawlers and foreign vessels should be banned as these are depleting fish stock and pursuing an unsustainable path apart from severely diminishing the catch of the ordinary fisherfolk.
Climate change and ecological degradation have become a species threat and a threat to the very survival of all life on the planet. Unfortunately the South Asian governments including those like India which were part of the BASIC alliance failed to get an equitable treaty signed at Copenhagen because of resolute resistance by the North led by the USA. Even after the Copenhagen document was arrived at no urgent steps have been taken towards reversing ecological degradation, the reduction of green house gases, all necessitating more sustainable forms of transport, construction, workers and peasants conditions and mining among others. It is imperative for a Peoples union of South Asia that vast areas of Bangladesh, parts of India and island states in the Indian Ocean are not submerged because of a lack of commitment particularly by the North.
In all our countries Human Rights has become a critical problem. Generally international Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is not implemented, even if already ratified. This leads to the flagrant suppression of movements that challenge the state, only some of which are violent. This is true of the entire sub continent.
People’s movements to protect the forests, the rivers, and other natural resources are often brutally repressed.
Peoples land is acquired for a relatively paltry sum in the name of development, and their rehabilitation is well below international standards. This of course is part of neo- liberalism. However the elites have become exceedingly selfish, intolerant and oblivious of the suffering of the people.
A major positive response would be facilitated at the South Asia level if people to people contact throughout the region was facilitated. This would enable experts and activists to interact across countries and regions to explore possibilities of a more just, peaceful, sustainable and equitable path of development which is also gender just. On the contrary, far from instituting a visa free South Asia our governments are increasing restrictions on people to people dialogue and some of these moves have been highly retrograde. This is not only a great barrier too our goal of a Peoples Union of South Asia, but is also a severe restriction on our efforts to move towards that goal.
We recognize the universality of opportunity, equal rights and dignity of all people including excluded groups and minorities; including ethnic, sexual and the differently abled. We recognize the prevalence of patriarchy, masculinity, religious extremism and caste based discrimination that deny human dignity, socio-economic and political equality and justice to the millions of backward classes and deny women sexual and reproductive health rights in the SAARC countries.
There is need for alternate regional trade and economic framework that meet the needs and aspirations of small and medium producers and labour. This will ensure the defeat of neo-liberal instruments such as the WTO and free trade agreements in the region. We need to work out fair trade relations within South Asia as a precondition for fair trade relations with the rest of the world. This would also provide a democratic alternative to neo-liberal free trade agreements. It would also facilitate a fair wage for those in the import-export and connected sectors.
The SAARC countries must beware of imperialist machinations, designed to overthrow pro-people regimes or to play countries off against another to weaken SAARC unity. SAARC countries must radically cut down expenditures on conventional arms, and move towards a South Asian nuclear weapons free zone. This would save billions of dollars for the social sector. These countries must avoid strategic alliances with the US and allied powers. We urge that there be a no war pact between all SAARC countries.
Inter-state relations must be based on respect and equality and all unequal treaties should be annulled. Above all, states must respect each other’s sovereignty. Military intervention and espionage operations on each others territories is the most glaring violation of this sovereignty. Terrorism has been a serious problem in Pakistan, India and recently in Sri Lanka. Where these movements involve alienation or deprivation of natural resources, there must be dialogue. Most terrorist movements are political. Military means should not be the main method of countering them. Fundamentalist movements who refuse dialogue should be countered. Militarism as a State ideology is a threat to democracy and peaceful dissent.
There should be recognition of health, education, housing, employment and adequate food as basic rights.
More investment in the social sector is essential for a more equitable and sustainable society. The billions of dollars spent on defense not only foster aggressive militarism but also take away scarce resources otherwise available for the social sector and basic human rights. We uphold knowledge commons rather than patents which exploit our market and people. New attempts in WTO to bring generic drugs into TRIPS must be resisted so that vital medicines for HIV, new strains of Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Malaria etc. do not become unaffordable. Unconditional cancellation of loans from international financial institutions and bilateral debt with the North, are a must for funds for socio-economic development.
Food banks should be set up of surplus food particularly food grains. Remunerative prices must be given to farmers for their produce. The poor must be provided food at subsidized prices. GM seeds should be banned.
Seeds, fertilizers and pesticides must be provided at subsidized prices, along with diesel and electricity. Urgent steps should be taken for the forest dwellers who should have a right to the forest produce, and food and other subsidies in times of drought. Forest dwellers should have a right to the forest, and the economic exploitation of the forest. Through mining and the timber trade by corporate and contractors should be immediately stopped.
The right to mobility with dignity is a human right. Migrants should be assured of dignity and the right to work as well as physical protection, basic amenities and adequate wages. Safeguards for the basic rights of the local people must be instituted. Victims of trafficking, especially women and children must be protected. Similarly the rights of individuals and communities subject to forced displacement, disasters and forced eviction should be protected. Peaceful and just resolution of all conflicts in the region through political negotiations is imperative. This will include negotiations with the people of disputed territories.
We call upon the SAARC governments to seriously address these concerns and demands of the people of the region. Governments must be accountable to the citizens of the countries in this region.
We laud the democratic struggles and the resistance to neo-liberalism in the region. Our Peoples Union of South Asia is a rainbow coalition of democratic forces. We pledge to continue to learn, inspire, struggle and empower each other to realize this vision.a

Press Release

26 April 2010, sovaldi New Delhi

Some 300 people from across South Asia from social movements, civil society organisations, labour unions, peasant organisations, women’s groups, ecologists and human rights activists gathered in New Delhi from 20th April to 23rd April, 2010 as part of the process of a ’Peoples SAARC’ to forge a vision for a union of South Asian peoples’. Among the participants 120 people came from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Among the prominent individual participants of the People’s SAARC Assembly in New Delhi were Mr Kuldip Nayar (veteran journalist from India), Mr Iqbal Haidar (Former Law Minister and co chairperson of the Human Rights commission of Pakistan), Mohamad Mahuruf (Janavakesha, Sri Lanka), Mr Karamat Ali (cofounder of the Pakistan Peace Coalition and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research), Kamla Bhasin (Founder of SANGAT -South Asia Network of Gender Trainers), Samina Khan (Sungi), Arjun Karki (coordinator, South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication), Rezaul Karim (Equity Bangladesh), Jatin Desai (Peace Mumbai), Mazhar Hussain (COVA), Farooq Tariq (Labour Party, Pakistan), Vijay Pratap (SADED); Amongst the prominent participating organisations were: GEFONT (Nepal), National Trade Union Initiative (India), Migrant Forum South Asia, National Forum of Forest Workers (India), All Ceylon United Workers Congress, INSEC, Focus on Global South, Labour Party of Pakistan, National FishWorkers Forum (India), Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, AITUC, Muttahida Labour Federation Pakistan, Bonded Labour Liberation Front (Pakistan), Shirkat Gah, Sungi, PILER, Sindh Democratic Forum, South Asians For Human Rights, Vani, Aman Trust (India), SADED (India), SAP -PK, All Ceylon United Fisherpeople Trade Union, National Trade Union Federation (Pakistan).

Background:

This year’s Peoples’ SAARC is a culmination of a process of more than a decade and a half. The first People’s SAARC meeting had taken place in New Delhi in July of 1995, as a parallel event to the 8th official SAARC summit . And the last public assembly of the People’s SAARC had taken place in Colombo in 2008.

The latest People’s SAARC assembly held in April 2010 in New Delhi reaffirmed the South Asian Peoples commitment to creating a South Asia free from all forms of discrimination, exclusion and domination. It also called for the peoples of all SAARC countries to struggle against militarism and jingoism; and demanded of the governments to reduce defence spending and make available funds for socially useful spending on public welfare and social security for all; for a regional people’ perspective on Climate change and on environmental degradation. It called for the right to mobility with dignity across South Asia. It calls for equal respect among all countries irrespective of size, and power. A broad public declaration was adopted at the conference that lists the thematic issues reflecting the concerns of social movements across South Asia. (see Text of The Delhi Declaration)

One important event of the conference was the South Asian Parliamentarians Forum in which parliamentarians from India, Pakistan, Nepal, participated. There was overwhelming consensus among them about the need for a collective platform of Parliamentarians of the region for strengthening the SAARC process and to work towards South Asian Union. The Indian Parliamentarian Mani Shankar Iyer argued at length about a shared history and a common heritage among South Asians and the need to actively build regional cooperation.

The conference resolved to lobby the SAARC governments on a set of specific demands:

  • The SAARC governments should seriously engage with the issue of Climate Change and apart from adhering to the existing international commitments, should consider a common South Asian Policy on Climate and environmental issues including a regional water sharing framework. The developing countries in the SAARC region should fulfil their responsibilities vis a vis the less developed countries and the most vulnerable in the region via financial and technological means.
  • The proposed SAARC University must become operational this year as envisaged originally. Students and faculty of the SAARC university in New Delhi must be granted a restriction free SAARC Visa by the Indian government.
  • SAARC Governments should start sincerely and genuinely cooperating according to the commitments made in the SAARC charter and its various conventions and protocols. All governments in the region must put a halt to all kinds of covert activities against each other. They should also establish a joint mechanism to combat terrorism as per the requirements of the SAARC regional convention of 1987 on suppression of terrorism.
  • SAARC Development Fund and Food Bank should become operational forthwith, in order to guarantee a right to food for all South Asians. SAARC Agri perspective 2020 should be prepared in participatory way with adequate involvement of civil society organisations.
  • All South Asian governments should enter into a No-War Pact with a commitment to resolve all disputes through peaceful and democratic means only. Military expenditures should be reduced by 10% annually and funds be diverted towards social spending.
  • All governments without further delay should establish a universal and portable Social security system as envisaged in the SAARC social charter.
  • All governments in the SAARC region must ensure freedom of movement, the right to work and to conduct business for SAARC citizens.
  • We take serious note of thousands of Bhutanese Citizens evicted from their homeland by way of political victimisation and intolerance for the voice of democratic dissent. This inhuman treatment and denial of human rights along the Indo-Bhutanese border and in the camps of Nepal violating all norms under international law has been perpetuated for the last 18 years using force, including kidnapping, illegal arrest and indefinite detention. We demand the right of return to their homeland under conditions of dignity and honour and full citizenship rights. We demand that the forth coming official SAARC put this issue on the official agenda and persuade the Bhutanese Government to immediately facilitate the return of the Bhutanese refugees to their homeland. All SAARC states must create a legal and policy regime that protects the rights of refugees.

At the conclusion of the conference the steering committee of the People’s SAARC met and took the following decisions.

1. A secretariat for the People’s SAARC process will be established at Kathmandu

2. Thirteen thematic working groups have been formed to develop South Asians regional campaigns

3. A People’s SAARC processes will be established in each country to mobilise public opinion towards a union of South Asian people’s.

4. A South Asians People’s Regional Assembly will be constituted within the next three months

Released to the media by:

Babulal Sharma
Kamla Bhasin

CoConveners
on behalf of the Steering Committee of the People’s SAARC
by the Indian Organising committee consisting of Aman Trust | AIPSO | AITUC | CEC | CDSA | COVA | Ekta Parishad | Focus on the Global South | Global Gandhi Forum | Intercultural Resources | ICYO | MFA | NACDOR | NAPM | NCDHR | NFFPFW | NFIW | NTUI | PWESCR | SADED | SANGAT | SANSAD | SAPA | VANI | WNTA | South Asians For Human Rights

For futher information, please contact any of the following organisations::
Aman Trust, jamalkidwai@gmail.com, (91-11) 41 32 80 40 /41
Focus on the Global South, a.jafri@focusweb.org, (91-11) 46 15 03 53,
Intercultural Resources, ihpindia@gmail.com, (91-11) 26 56 01 33
New Trade Union Initiative, secretariat@ntui.org.in, (91-11) 26 48 69 31/26 21 45 38

People’s SAARC Declaration (April 2010, New Delhi)

We the members of social movements, prostate civil society organizations,labour unions, peasant movements, other working people’s organizations and women’s groups have gathered here in Delhi from 20th April to 23rd April, 2010 as part of the process of Peoples SAARC to forge a vision for a People’s Union of South Asia. This year’s Peoples’ SAARC is a culmination of a process of more than a decade. It reaffirms the South Asian Peoples commitment to creating a better South Asia free from all forms of discrimination, exclusion and domination. It also calls for the peoples of all SAARC countries to struggle against militarism and jingoism, and for secularism. In our diverse societies of minorities of all kinds, a secular society is crucial for national and societal harmony, human rights and national unity. It calls for equal respect among all countries irrespective of size, and power.

All our countries are suffer and tribals have suffered more including violence against women. It is time that we develop new paradigms of peaceful equitable, and sustainable paths of development that truly reflect the economic potential of our countries and meet the need of our peoples. SAARC countries must ensure the rights of all workers, especially women, tribal and Dalit workers in accordance with international standards including ILO conventions, international covenants and national constitutions .Fisher peoples’ rights to fish in territorial waters be recognized and legally protected through proper mechanisms. Innocent fisherfolk incarcerated for wandering into neighbouring, sometimes disputed, territorial waters be immediately released and the presence of deep sea trawlers and foreign vessels should be banned as these are depleting fish stock and pursuing an unsustainable path apart from severely diminishing the catch of the ordinary fisherfolk.

Climate change and ecological degradation have become a species threat and a threat to the very survival of all life on the planet. Unfortunately the South Asian governments including those like India which were part of the BASIC alliance failed to get an equitable treaty signed at Copenhagen because of resolute resistance by the North led by the USA. Even after the Copenhagen document was arrived at no urgent steps have been taken towards reversing ecological degradation, the reduction of green house gases, all necessitating more sustainable forms of transport, construction, workers and peasants conditions and mining among others. It is imperative for a Peoples union of South Asia that vast areas of Bangladesh, parts of India and island states in the Indian Ocean are not submerged because of a lack of commitment particularly by the North.

In all our countries Human Rights has become a critical problem. Generally international Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is not implemented, even if already ratified. This leads to the flagrant suppression of movements that challenge the state, only some of which are violent. This is true of the entire sub continent.

People’s movements to protect the forests, the rivers, and other natural resources are often brutally repressed.

Peoples land is acquired for a relatively paltry sum in the name of development, and their rehabilitation is well below international standards. This of course is part of neo- liberalism. However the elites have become exceedingly selfish, intolerant and oblivious of the suffering of the people.

A major positive response would be facilitated at the South Asia level if people to people contact throughout the region was facilitated. This would enable experts and activists to interact across countries and regions to explore possibilities of a more just, peaceful, sustainable and equitable path of development which is also gender just. On the contrary, far from instituting a visa free South Asia our governments are increasing restrictions on people to people dialogue and some of these moves have been highly retrograde. This is not only a great barrier too our goal of a Peoples Union of South Asia, but is also a severe restriction on our efforts to move towards that goal.

We recognize the universality of opportunity, equal rights and dignity of all people including excluded groups and minorities; including ethnic, sexual and the differently abled. We recognize the prevalence of patriarchy, masculinity, religious extremism and caste based discrimination that deny human dignity, socio-economic and political equality and justice to the millions of backward classes and deny women sexual and reproductive health rights in the SAARC countries.

There is need for alternate regional trade and economic framework that meet the needs and aspirations of small and medium producers and labour. This will ensure the defeat of neo-liberal instruments such as the WTO and free trade agreements in the region. We need to work out fair trade relations within South Asia as a precondition for fair trade relations with the rest of the world. This would also provide a democratic alternative to neo-liberal free trade agreements. It would also facilitate a fair wage for those in the import-export and connected sectors.

The SAARC countries must beware of imperialist machinations, designed to overthrow pro-people regimes or to play countries off against another to weaken SAARC unity. SAARC countries must radically cut down expenditures on conventional arms, and move towards a South Asian nuclear weapons free zone. This would save billions of dollars for the social sector. These countries must avoid strategic alliances with the US and allied powers. We urge that there be a no war pact between all SAARC countries.

Inter-state relations must be based on respect and equality and all unequal treaties should be annulled. Above all, states must respect each other’s sovereignty. Military intervention and espionage operations on each others territories is the most glaring violation of this sovereignty. Terrorism has been a serious problem in Pakistan, India and recently in Sri Lanka. Where these movements involve alienation or deprivation of natural resources, there must be dialogue. Most terrorist movements are political. Military means should not be the main method of countering them. Fundamentalist movements who refuse dialogue should be countered. Militarism as a State ideology is a threat to democracy and peaceful dissent.

There should be recognition of health, education, housing, employment and adequate food as basic rights.
More investment in the social sector is essential for a more equitable and sustainable society. The billions of dollars spent on defense not only foster aggressive militarism but also take away scarce resources otherwise available for the social sector and basic human rights. We uphold knowledge commons rather than patents which exploit our market and people. New attempts in WTO to bring generic drugs into TRIPS must be resisted so that vital medicines for HIV, new strains of Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Malaria etc. do not become unaffordable. Unconditional cancellation of loans from international financial institutions and bilateral debt with the North, are a must for funds for socio-economic development.

Food banks should be set up of surplus food particularly food grains. Remunerative prices must be given to farmers for their produce. The poor must be provided food at subsidized prices. GM seeds should be banned.

Seeds, fertilizers and pesticides must be provided at subsidized prices, along with diesel and electricity. Urgent steps should be taken for the forest dwellers who should have a right to the forest produce, and food and other subsidies in times of drought. Forest dwellers should have a right to the forest, and the economic exploitation of the forest. Through mining and the timber trade by corporate and contractors should be immediately stopped.

The right to mobility with dignity is a human right. Migrants should be assured of dignity and the right to work as well as physical protection, basic amenities and adequate wages. Safeguards for the basic rights of the local people must be instituted. Victims of trafficking, especially women and children must be protected. Similarly the rights of individuals and communities subject to forced displacement, disasters and forced eviction should be protected. Peaceful and just resolution of all conflicts in the region through political negotiations is imperative. This will include negotiations with the people of disputed territories.

We call upon the SAARC governments to seriously address these concerns and demands of the people of the region. Governments must be accountable to the citizens of the countries in this region.
We laud the democratic struggles and the resistance to neo-liberalism in the region. Our Peoples Union of South Asia is a rainbow coalition of democratic forces. We pledge to continue to learn, inspire, struggle and empower each other to realize this vision.a

Statement on Bhutanese Refugees' Right to Repatriation

25 March 2010, clinic Windhoek
Climate change is one of the biggest catastrophes facing humankind as result of unsustainable economic growth and consumption and production patterns, largely from the GLOBAL NORTH. The dominant economic growth paradigm is turning the earth into a hostile environment with increasing droughts, floods, water-scarcity and many more physical disasters affecting every sector of society.
Despite this challenge our governments have supported the undemocratic and opaque Copenhagen Accord through which the Global North seeks to renege on its responsibility to reduce its unsustainable consumption and provide the necessary finance and technology to address climate change and a just transition to low carbon economies.
We acknowledge that climate change is a symptom of the exploitative, destructive, polluting, profit – driven consumption and production. As such the current orientation to address climate change through market – driven and trade- led approaches to promote competiveness, “green” tariffs, carbon markets and finance encouraging green capitalism is highly problematic.
We demand the polluter pays principle be implemented and reject the right to pollute through carbon trading and markets.
We reject the technology quick fix solutions to address the climate crisis, particularly the imposed false solutions to address the energy and food crises such as GMOs, agro-fuels, synthetic fertilisers, agrochemicals. These deepen will deepen the crises and perpetuate food aid dependency.
We demand sufficient, mandatory, predictable climate financing to developing countries. Climate funds are compensation and not aid. These funds should be over and above the longstanding ODA commitments (0.7% of GNP). In addition, funding should be in the form of grants which is consistent with the idea of reparations
We demand democratic governance and decision making of financing mechanisms under the UN process and the Conference of Parties (COP) and not the World Bank.
We urge governments and civil society to recognize the gendered dimensions of Climate Change, and facilitate meaningful dialogue between women who are directly affected with policy makers at both local and national levels as well as regional and global level.
We call for the removal intellectual property rights and trade restrictions that place severe constraints on people’s access to climate friendly technologies and thus their ability to promote low carbon alternatives.
Finally we call for civil society in Southern Africa to collaborate with other people based movements on Climate Change globally, and immediately activate existing networks and resources within our ranks, need to build each other’s capacities to engage meaningfully on pro-people solutions to the crisis of climate change.

People’s SAARC 2010

Seminar on the Right to Repartition of Bhutanese Refugees: Sharing testimonies by Bhutanese refugees with south Asian representatives

25-26 April 2010, help Birtamod, sale Jhapa, Nepal

Organized by: South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) and the Bhutanese  Refugees Repatriation Committee

We, more than 50 Bhutanese refugees representing all seven refugee camps located in Jhapa and Morang districts of Nepal and the members of SAAPE from Bangladesh, India and Nepal, and peasant organisations, academia, women associations and social movements from different countries of South Asia have gathered here in Birtamod, Jhapa on April 25, 2010 on the occasion of People’s SAARC 2010 to defend the rights of Bhutanese refugees. As an extension of People’s SAARC 2010 Delhi, India, this one day seminar has come up with the following realizations and demands: During our visit to the camps we found the citizens of Bhutan living under total deprivation and in de humanized conditions. This is a situation which must not be allowed to continue and demands immediate all round intervention to ensure that all basic entitlements are made available without any further delay or prevarication,

1. Thousands of Bhutanese citizens have been evicted from their homeland by way of political victimization and intolerance for the voice of democratic dissent and forced to live as political refugees on the borders of India and Bhutan and the refugee camps of Nepal;

2. This illegality and immorality have been perpetuated for more than 18 years against the norms and standards of international law and violation of human rights;

3. It is high time for south Asian countries to bring pressure on the government of Bhutan to allow the rights of the refugees to return to their homelands and to facilitate their repatriation with full dignity, honour and the right to equality and full participation as citizens of Bhutan;

4. We, on behalf of people of the South Asian nations, demand that this issue be taken up on the agenda of official SAARC and an urgent solution found to this aggravated humanitarian emergency prevailing along the borders of south asia, even as the heads of the governments engage in empty tokenism in the capital of Bhutan, thus bestowing legitimacy to an anti-people and anti-democratic government;

5. We also demand an immediate end to the suppression of the democratic rights of these refugees and the gross violation of their civil and political rights;

6. We demand for the formation of South Asia Refugee Commission within the framework of SAARC to engage and take care of the refugee problems in the region;

7. We take note of the inadequacy of third country resettlement of Bhutanese refugees;

8. We urge the South Asian governments, particularly India, Bhutan and Nepal to address the Bhutanese refugee’s demands to return to their homeland. We request international community to facilitate the process of repatriation to their homelands;

9. We urge that all South Asian nations follow the lead of Afghanistan and ratify the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and enact suitable legal framework to address the problems of the refugees; and

10. Finally we commit ourselves to continue activities to make South Asia a refugee free region. We believe in solidarity, fraternity and mutual respect for all.


Statement Adopted by Trade Unions from South Asia, 21 April 2010

Press Release

26 April 2010, New Delhi

Some 300 people from across South Asia from social movements, civil society organisations, labour unions, peasant organisations, women’s groups, ecologists and human rights activists gathered in New Delhi from 20th April to 23rd April, 2010 as part of the process of a ’Peoples SAARC’ to forge a vision for a union of South Asian peoples’. Among the participants 120 people came from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Among the prominent individual participants of the People’s SAARC Assembly in New Delhi were Mr Kuldip Nayar (veteran journalist from India), Mr Iqbal Haidar (Former Law Minister and co chairperson of the Human Rights commission of Pakistan), Mohamad Mahuruf (Janavakesha, Sri Lanka), Mr Karamat Ali (cofounder of the Pakistan Peace Coalition and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research), Kamla Bhasin (Founder of SANGAT -South Asia Network of Gender Trainers), Samina Khan (Sungi), Arjun Karki (coordinator, South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication), Rezaul Karim (Equity Bangladesh), Jatin Desai (Peace Mumbai), Mazhar Hussain (COVA), Farooq Tariq (Labour Party, Pakistan), Vijay Pratap (SADED); Amongst the prominent participating organisations were: GEFONT (Nepal), National Trade Union Initiative (India), Migrant Forum South Asia, National Forum of Forest Workers (India), All Ceylon United Workers Congress, INSEC, Focus on Global South, Labour Party of Pakistan, National FishWorkers Forum (India), Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, AITUC, Muttahida Labour Federation Pakistan, Bonded Labour Liberation Front (Pakistan), Shirkat Gah, Sungi, PILER, Sindh Democratic Forum, South Asians For Human Rights, Vani, Aman Trust (India), SADED (India), SAP -PK, All Ceylon United Fisherpeople Trade Union, National Trade Union Federation (Pakistan).

Background:

This year’s Peoples’ SAARC is a culmination of a process of more than a decade and a half. The first People’s SAARC meeting had taken place in New Delhi in July of 1995, as a parallel event to the 8th official SAARC summit . And the last public assembly of the People’s SAARC had taken place in Colombo in 2008.

The latest People’s SAARC assembly held in April 2010 in New Delhi reaffirmed the South Asian Peoples commitment to creating a South Asia free from all forms of discrimination, exclusion and domination. It also called for the peoples of all SAARC countries to struggle against militarism and jingoism; and demanded of the governments to reduce defence spending and make available funds for socially useful spending on public welfare and social security for all; for a regional people’ perspective on Climate change and on environmental degradation. It called for the right to mobility with dignity across South Asia. It calls for equal respect among all countries irrespective of size, and power. A broad public declaration was adopted at the conference that lists the thematic issues reflecting the concerns of social movements across South Asia. (see below Text of The Delhi Declaration)

One important event of the conference was the South Asian Parliamentarians Forum in which parliamentarians from India, Pakistan, Nepal, participated. There was overwhelming consensus among them about the need for a collective platform of Parliamentarians of the region for strengthening the SAARC process and to work towards South Asian Union. The Indian Parliamentarian Mani Shankar Iyer argued at length about a shared history and a common heritage among South Asians and the need to actively build regional cooperation.

The conference resolved to lobby the SAARC governments on a set of specific demands:

  • The SAARC governments should seriously engage with the issue of Climate Change and apart from adhering to the existing international commitments, should consider a common South Asian Policy on Climate and environmental issues including a regional water sharing framework. The developing countries in the SAARC region should fulfil their responsibilities vis a vis the less developed countries and the most vulnerable in the region via financial and technological means.
  • The proposed SAARC University must become operational this year as envisaged originally. Students and faculty of the SAARC university in New Delhi must be granted a restriction free SAARC Visa by the Indian government.
  • SAARC Governments should start sincerely and genuinely cooperating according to the commitments made in the SAARC charter and its various conventions and protocols. All governments in the region must put a halt to all kinds of covert activities against each other. They should also establish a joint mechanism to combat terrorism as per the requirements of the SAARC regional convention of 1987 on suppression of terrorism.
  • SAARC Development Fund and Food Bank should become operational forthwith, in order to guarantee a right to food for all South Asians. SAARC Agri perspective 2020 should be prepared in participatory way with adequate involvement of civil society organisations.
  • All South Asian governments should enter into a No-War Pact with a commitment to resolve all disputes through peaceful and democratic means only. Military expenditures should be reduced by 10% annually and funds be diverted towards social spending.
  • All governments without further delay should establish a universal and portable Social security system as envisaged in the SAARC social charter.
  • All governments in the SAARC region must ensure freedom of movement, the right to work and to conduct business for SAARC citizens.
  • We take serious note of thousands of Bhutanese Citizens evicted from their homeland by way of political victimisation and intolerance for the voice of democratic dissent. This inhuman treatment and denial of human rights along the Indo-Bhutanese border and in the camps of Nepal violating all norms under international law has been perpetuated for the last 18 years using force, including kidnapping, illegal arrest and indefinite detention. We demand the right of return to their homeland under conditions of dignity and honour and full citizenship rights. We demand that the forth coming official SAARC put this issue on the official agenda and persuade the Bhutanese Government to immediately facilitate the return of the Bhutanese refugees to their homeland. All SAARC states must create a legal and policy regime that protects the rights of refugees.

At the conclusion of the conference the steering committee of the People’s SAARC met and took the following decisions.

1. A secretariat for the People’s SAARC process will be established at Kathmandu

2. Thirteen thematic working groups have been formed to develop South Asians regional campaigns

3. A People’s SAARC processes will be established in each country to mobilise public opinion towards a union of South Asian people’s.

4. A South Asians People’s Regional Assembly will be constituted within the next three months

Released to the media by:

Babulal Sharma
Kamla Bhasin

CoConveners
on behalf of the Steering Committee of the People’s SAARC
by the Indian Organising committee consisting of Aman Trust | AIPSO | AITUC | CEC | CDSA | COVA | Ekta Parishad | Focus on the Global South | Global Gandhi Forum | Intercultural Resources | ICYO | MFA | NACDOR | NAPM | NCDHR | NFFPFW | NFIW | NTUI | PWESCR | SADED | SANGAT | SANSAD | SAPA | VANI | WNTA | South Asians For Human Rights

For futher information, please contact any of the following organisations::
Aman Trust, jamalkidwai@gmail.com, (91-11) 41 32 80 40 /41
Focus on the Global South, a.jafri@focusweb.org, (91-11) 46 15 03 53,
Intercultural Resources, ihpindia@gmail.com, (91-11) 26 56 01 33
New Trade Union Initiative, secretariat@ntui.org.in, (91-11) 26 48 69 31/26 21 45 38

Press Release

26 April 2010, New Delhi

Some 300 people from across South Asia from social movements, pills civil society organisations, troche labour unions, peasant organisations, women’s groups, ecologists and human rights activists gathered in New Delhi from 20th April to 23rd April, 2010 as part of the process of a ’Peoples SAARC’ to forge a vision for a union of South Asian peoples’. Among the participants 120 people came from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Among the prominent individual participants of the People’s SAARC Assembly in New Delhi were Mr Kuldip Nayar (veteran journalist from India), Mr Iqbal Haidar (Former Law Minister and co chairperson of the Human Rights commission of Pakistan), Mohamad Mahuruf (Janavakesha, Sri Lanka), Mr Karamat Ali (cofounder of the Pakistan Peace Coalition and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research), Kamla Bhasin (Founder of SANGAT -South Asia Network of Gender Trainers), Samina Khan (Sungi), Arjun Karki (coordinator, South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication), Rezaul Karim (Equity Bangladesh), Jatin Desai (Peace Mumbai), Mazhar Hussain (COVA), Farooq Tariq (Labour Party, Pakistan), Vijay Pratap (SADED); Amongst the prominent participating organisations were: GEFONT (Nepal), National Trade Union Initiative (India), Migrant Forum South Asia, National Forum of Forest Workers (India), All Ceylon United Workers Congress, INSEC, Focus on Global South, Labour Party of Pakistan, National FishWorkers Forum (India), Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, AITUC, Muttahida Labour Federation Pakistan, Bonded Labour Liberation Front (Pakistan), Shirkat Gah, Sungi, PILER, Sindh Democratic Forum, South Asians For Human Rights, Vani, Aman Trust (India), SADED (India), SAP -PK, All Ceylon United Fisherpeople Trade Union, National Trade Union Federation (Pakistan).

Background:

This year’s Peoples’ SAARC is a culmination of a process of more than a decade and a half. The first People’s SAARC meeting had taken place in New Delhi in July of 1995, as a parallel event to the 8th official SAARC summit . And the last public assembly of the People’s SAARC had taken place in Colombo in 2008.

The latest People’s SAARC assembly held in April 2010 in New Delhi reaffirmed the South Asian Peoples commitment to creating a South Asia free from all forms of discrimination, exclusion and domination. It also called for the peoples of all SAARC countries to struggle against militarism and jingoism; and demanded of the governments to reduce defence spending and make available funds for socially useful spending on public welfare and social security for all; for a regional people’ perspective on Climate change and on environmental degradation. It called for the right to mobility with dignity across South Asia. It calls for equal respect among all countries irrespective of size, and power. A broad public declaration was adopted at the conference that lists the thematic issues reflecting the concerns of social movements across South Asia. (see Text of The Delhi Declaration)

One important event of the conference was the South Asian Parliamentarians Forum in which parliamentarians from India, Pakistan, Nepal, participated. There was overwhelming consensus among them about the need for a collective platform of Parliamentarians of the region for strengthening the SAARC process and to work towards South Asian Union. The Indian Parliamentarian Mani Shankar Iyer argued at length about a shared history and a common heritage among South Asians and the need to actively build regional cooperation.

The conference resolved to lobby the SAARC governments on a set of specific demands:

  • The SAARC governments should seriously engage with the issue of Climate Change and apart from adhering to the existing international commitments, should consider a common South Asian Policy on Climate and environmental issues including a regional water sharing framework. The developing countries in the SAARC region should fulfil their responsibilities vis a vis the less developed countries and the most vulnerable in the region via financial and technological means.
  • The proposed SAARC University must become operational this year as envisaged originally. Students and faculty of the SAARC university in New Delhi must be granted a restriction free SAARC Visa by the Indian government.
  • SAARC Governments should start sincerely and genuinely cooperating according to the commitments made in the SAARC charter and its various conventions and protocols. All governments in the region must put a halt to all kinds of covert activities against each other. They should also establish a joint mechanism to combat terrorism as per the requirements of the SAARC regional convention of 1987 on suppression of terrorism.
  • SAARC Development Fund and Food Bank should become operational forthwith, in order to guarantee a right to food for all South Asians. SAARC Agri perspective 2020 should be prepared in participatory way with adequate involvement of civil society organisations.
  • All South Asian governments should enter into a No-War Pact with a commitment to resolve all disputes through peaceful and democratic means only. Military expenditures should be reduced by 10% annually and funds be diverted towards social spending.
  • All governments without further delay should establish a universal and portable Social security system as envisaged in the SAARC social charter.
  • All governments in the SAARC region must ensure freedom of movement, the right to work and to conduct business for SAARC citizens.
  • We take serious note of thousands of Bhutanese Citizens evicted from their homeland by way of political victimisation and intolerance for the voice of democratic dissent. This inhuman treatment and denial of human rights along the Indo-Bhutanese border and in the camps of Nepal violating all norms under international law has been perpetuated for the last 18 years using force, including kidnapping, illegal arrest and indefinite detention. We demand the right of return to their homeland under conditions of dignity and honour and full citizenship rights. We demand that the forth coming official SAARC put this issue on the official agenda and persuade the Bhutanese Government to immediately facilitate the return of the Bhutanese refugees to their homeland. All SAARC states must create a legal and policy regime that protects the rights of refugees.

At the conclusion of the conference the steering committee of the People’s SAARC met and took the following decisions.

1. A secretariat for the People’s SAARC process will be established at Kathmandu

2. Thirteen thematic working groups have been formed to develop South Asians regional campaigns

3. A People’s SAARC processes will be established in each country to mobilise public opinion towards a union of South Asian people’s.

4. A South Asians People’s Regional Assembly will be constituted within the next three months

Released to the media by:

Babulal Sharma
Kamla Bhasin

CoConveners
on behalf of the Steering Committee of the People’s SAARC
by the Indian Organising committee consisting of Aman Trust | AIPSO | AITUC | CEC | CDSA | COVA | Ekta Parishad | Focus on the Global South | Global Gandhi Forum | Intercultural Resources | ICYO | MFA | NACDOR | NAPM | NCDHR | NFFPFW | NFIW | NTUI | PWESCR | SADED | SANGAT | SANSAD | SAPA | VANI | WNTA | South Asians For Human Rights

For futher information, please contact any of the following organisations::
Aman Trust, jamalkidwai@gmail.com, (91-11) 41 32 80 40 /41
Focus on the Global South, a.jafri@focusweb.org, (91-11) 46 15 03 53,
Intercultural Resources, ihpindia@gmail.com, (91-11) 26 56 01 33
New Trade Union Initiative, secretariat@ntui.org.in, (91-11) 26 48 69 31/26 21 45 38

Press Release

26 April 2010, thumb New Delhi

Some 300 people from across South Asia from social movements, discount civil society organisations, labour unions, peasant organisations, women’s groups, ecologists and human rights activists gathered in New Delhi from 20th April to 23rd April, 2010 as part of the process of a ’Peoples SAARC’ to forge a vision for a union of South Asian peoples’. Among the participants 120 people came from Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

Among the prominent individual participants of the People’s SAARC Assembly in New Delhi were Mr Kuldip Nayar (veteran journalist from India), Mr Iqbal Haidar (Former Law Minister and co chairperson of the Human Rights commission of Pakistan), Mohamad Mahuruf (Janavakesha, Sri Lanka), Mr Karamat Ali (cofounder of the Pakistan Peace Coalition and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research), Kamla Bhasin (Founder of SANGAT -South Asia Network of Gender Trainers), Samina Khan (Sungi), Arjun Karki (coordinator, South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication), Rezaul Karim (Equity Bangladesh), Jatin Desai (Peace Mumbai), Mazhar Hussain (COVA), Farooq Tariq (Labour Party, Pakistan), Vijay Pratap (SADED); Amongst the prominent participating organisations were: GEFONT (Nepal), National Trade Union Initiative (India), Migrant Forum South Asia, National Forum of Forest Workers (India), All Ceylon United Workers Congress, INSEC, Focus on Global South, Labour Party of Pakistan, National FishWorkers Forum (India), Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, AITUC, Muttahida Labour Federation Pakistan, Bonded Labour Liberation Front (Pakistan), Shirkat Gah, Sungi, PILER, Sindh Democratic Forum, South Asians For Human Rights, Vani, Aman Trust (India), SADED (India), SAP -PK, All Ceylon United Fisherpeople Trade Union, National Trade Union Federation (Pakistan).

Background:

This year’s Peoples’ SAARC is a culmination of a process of more than a decade and a half. The first People’s SAARC meeting had taken place in New Delhi in July of 1995, as a parallel event to the 8th official SAARC summit . And the last public assembly of the People’s SAARC had taken place in Colombo in 2008.

The latest People’s SAARC assembly held in April 2010 in New Delhi reaffirmed the South Asian Peoples commitment to creating a South Asia free from all forms of discrimination, exclusion and domination. It also called for the peoples of all SAARC countries to struggle against militarism and jingoism; and demanded of the governments to reduce defence spending and make available funds for socially useful spending on public welfare and social security for all; for a regional people’ perspective on Climate change and on environmental degradation. It called for the right to mobility with dignity across South Asia. It calls for equal respect among all countries irrespective of size, and power. A broad public declaration was adopted at the conference that lists the thematic issues reflecting the concerns of social movements across South Asia. (see Text of The Delhi Declaration)

One important event of the conference was the South Asian Parliamentarians Forum in which parliamentarians from India, Pakistan, Nepal, participated. There was overwhelming consensus among them about the need for a collective platform of Parliamentarians of the region for strengthening the SAARC process and to work towards South Asian Union. The Indian Parliamentarian Mani Shankar Iyer argued at length about a shared history and a common heritage among South Asians and the need to actively build regional cooperation.

The conference resolved to lobby the SAARC governments on a set of specific demands:

  • The SAARC governments should seriously engage with the issue of Climate Change and apart from adhering to the existing international commitments, should consider a common South Asian Policy on Climate and environmental issues including a regional water sharing framework. The developing countries in the SAARC region should fulfil their responsibilities vis a vis the less developed countries and the most vulnerable in the region via financial and technological means.
  • The proposed SAARC University must become operational this year as envisaged originally. Students and faculty of the SAARC university in New Delhi must be granted a restriction free SAARC Visa by the Indian government.
  • SAARC Governments should start sincerely and genuinely cooperating according to the commitments made in the SAARC charter and its various conventions and protocols. All governments in the region must put a halt to all kinds of covert activities against each other. They should also establish a joint mechanism to combat terrorism as per the requirements of the SAARC regional convention of 1987 on suppression of terrorism.
  • SAARC Development Fund and Food Bank should become operational forthwith, in order to guarantee a right to food for all South Asians. SAARC Agri perspective 2020 should be prepared in participatory way with adequate involvement of civil society organisations.
  • All South Asian governments should enter into a No-War Pact with a commitment to resolve all disputes through peaceful and democratic means only. Military expenditures should be reduced by 10% annually and funds be diverted towards social spending.
  • All governments without further delay should establish a universal and portable Social security system as envisaged in the SAARC social charter.
  • All governments in the SAARC region must ensure freedom of movement, the right to work and to conduct business for SAARC citizens.
  • We take serious note of thousands of Bhutanese Citizens evicted from their homeland by way of political victimisation and intolerance for the voice of democratic dissent. This inhuman treatment and denial of human rights along the Indo-Bhutanese border and in the camps of Nepal violating all norms under international law has been perpetuated for the last 18 years using force, including kidnapping, illegal arrest and indefinite detention. We demand the right of return to their homeland under conditions of dignity and honour and full citizenship rights. We demand that the forth coming official SAARC put this issue on the official agenda and persuade the Bhutanese Government to immediately facilitate the return of the Bhutanese refugees to their homeland. All SAARC states must create a legal and policy regime that protects the rights of refugees.

At the conclusion of the conference the steering committee of the People’s SAARC met and took the following decisions.

1. A secretariat for the People’s SAARC process will be established at Kathmandu

2. Thirteen thematic working groups have been formed to develop South Asians regional campaigns

3. A People’s SAARC processes will be established in each country to mobilise public opinion towards a union of South Asian people’s.

4. A South Asians People’s Regional Assembly will be constituted within the next three months

Released to the media by:

Babulal Sharma
Kamla Bhasin

CoConveners
on behalf of the Steering Committee of the People’s SAARC
by the Indian Organising committee consisting of Aman Trust | AIPSO | AITUC | CEC | CDSA | COVA | Ekta Parishad | Focus on the Global South | Global Gandhi Forum | Intercultural Resources | ICYO | MFA | NACDOR | NAPM | NCDHR | NFFPFW | NFIW | NTUI | PWESCR | SADED | SANGAT | SANSAD | SAPA | VANI | WNTA | South Asians For Human Rights

For futher information, please contact any of the following organisations::
Aman Trust, jamalkidwai@gmail.com, (91-11) 41 32 80 40 /41
Focus on the Global South, a.jafri@focusweb.org, (91-11) 46 15 03 53,
Intercultural Resources, ihpindia@gmail.com, (91-11) 26 56 01 33
New Trade Union Initiative, secretariat@ntui.org.in, (91-11) 26 48 69 31/26 21 45 38

A South Asia labour movement interaction workshop was organised on as part of broader People’s SAARC summit held in New Delhi from the 21-23 April 2010. Posted below is the full text of the statement adopted at the meeting of trade unions on the 21st April 2010


Constitution Club, stuff New Delhi

21 April 2010

Since the formation of the SAARC in 1985, there has been very little progress in promoting regional cooperation among nations and peoples in South Asia. There exists legal and illegal trade of goods and mobility of labour between the South Asian countries. With the negotiations on South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) and of South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) along with the other bilateral and multilateral trade agreements including FTAs between the nations in the region, the legal capital mobility within South Asia has not only magnified manifold but the scope for it is ever-widening with investments from large Multi National Corporations. This has further intensified the attack on labour in these nations. In this context, there is a felt need among the working people in the region for a collective response to this attack from imperialist globalisation.

We recall that many varied attempts that have been initiated in the region to build an alliance among trade unions in the region. Affiliates of both the WFTU and the ICFTU in the region have on several occasions in the past have attempted to broaden the alliance in the region. There have been other attempts initiated by a large number of trade unions in the region since 1996.

We draw upon the South Asian Consultation on Labour Rights, in the context of Multilateral Trade Agreements was held in Kathmandu in May 1996 that affirmed the need for a South Asia Labour Rights Charter. It also affirmed the principle of Universal Labour Rights as an expression of human rights of labour in the work place, and resolved to work towards the promulgation of a UN Labour Rights Convention. The meeting of the trade unions of South Asia took place in Karachi in September 2003 at the South Asia Labour Conference for Peace and Regional Co-operation. It drew up the Karachi Declaration that called for a strengthening of the people’s urge for peace and solidarity in the region in general and the working classes of the region in particular. With the worsening of the border disputes and the growing spectre of terror in the region, this effort has also been effectively thwarted. However, there have been efforts, albeit small, to take this process forward. The Kathmandu meeting in March 2007 and the meeting in Colombo in July 2008 were small but significant steps towards this. These attempts reflect a progress towards broad-based coalitions, reducing previous national and regional divisions in the labour movement. It is now time for a convergence of these diverse efforts.

Regional efforts at cooperation and building solidarity across borders can only be sustained through a cohesive pressure from the labour movement in the region. This requires coordination within the labour movement to promote fraternity and peace based on a systematic coordination of ideas, people and of institutional exchanges in order to build a process for dialogue and consultation of all South Asian trade unions within an agreed democratic framework. This effort should specifically promote consultation, cooperation and solidarity of sectoral unions and in the multinational corporations and their supply chains.

This coordination and consolidation can concretely begin with the framework for:

  • Standardisation and Promotion of labour rights and regional institution for protection
  • Promotion of peace and development of a People’s foreign policy
  • Promotion of free movement of people in the region within a legal framework
  • Expansion of the scope of SAARC by inclusion of labour in its areas of cooperation

To widen this process we propose an expanding preparatory committee (through a list serve) of all unions who join this process. Specific Thematic, sectoral and multinational working groups can be developed to actualise the coordination on a regional basis.

To deepen the engagement we call for a wider consultative meeting of all unions of South Asia in 2010 to evolve the future of this process and beyond it for an alliance with peoples’ movement in South Asia.

Signed by

India
Rajiv Dhimri, AICCTU
Satya Narayan Thakur, AITUC
Ashim Roy, NTUI

Nepal Binda Pandey GEFONT

Pakistan
Dr. Malik Baloch, National Party
Adam Malik Pakistan Peace Coalition
Chaudhary Mansoor Ahmed, PLB
Bushra Khaliq, Women Workers Helpline – Pakistan
Yusuf Baloch, National Trade Union Federation, Pakistan
Karamat Ali, PILER

Sri Lanka
S Murugaiaya, All Ceylon United Workers Congress (PSSF)
M Vijandran, Trade Union Confederation/ All Ceylon United Fisherpeople Trade Union
Priyadarshini Aryaratna, Janavakesha
S R Edwards, Janavakesha

Peoples' SAARC 2008 Report

South Asian Peoples Assembly took place in Colombo, this site Sri Lanka, from 18 – 20 July, 2008, as a part of the process of People’s SAARC, to forge a vision for a People’s Union of South Asia. Over 1000 Sri Lankans and 400 delegates from other South Asian countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan participated.

 

The international delegates bore their own expenses to attend the Assembly. Prior to the South Asian People’s Assembly taking place in Colombo, People’s
SAARC had made its mark among many people in the South Asian region, at People’s SAARC 2007 in Kathmandu. Among those who participated at the
South Asian Peoples Assembly (SAPA) 2008 were women, labourers, peasants, urban and rural poor, cultural activists & organic intellectuals, students, youth, marginalised & excluded social groups and communities. All activists groups, social movements, progressive intelligentsia, cultural activists, writers, journalists and all those who subscribe to the ideas of the People’s SAARC were also galvanized for the assembly.

 

The workshops were organized by the participating organizations, on the basis of their interest and involvement. Following were the themes of the
workshops held: Burma: Caste Discrimination and Social Exclusion in South Asia, Climate Change and Ecological Justice, Conflict, Right to Protection and

Transitional Justice, Debt Cancellation, Democracy and governance/People’s Participation, Ensuring the rights of the Disabled, Towards a Disaster-Free Asia, Food Sovereignty, Agrarian Crisis and Pro-people’s alternatives, Labour Rights, Media and Right to Information, Men, Masculinity and Gender-based violence, Migration and Free Movement of Labour, Migration Internal and External, Nation States and Challenges, National Security Ideology Policies and Practices, Refugees/IDP’s, Regional Alternatives: People’s Vision, Religious Extremism and Communalism, SAARC Convention on Basic Health Needs, SAARC Convention on Trafficking; Housing and Urban Development, Women in Politics in South Asia, WTO, South Asian Trade and FTAs. A network of organizations and experts in the region undertook the responsibility of organizing and facilitating the workshops.The issues identified and recommendations made were recorded by Rapporteurs hired for the purpose.


Following the 29 workshops, representatives of People’s SAARC resolved to issue the Colombo Declaration as the People’s SAARC Declaration.   The Declaration, incorporating the major recommendations made by various country consultations and workshops of SAPA 2008, was compiled by the Regional Drafting Committee and presented to the plenary convened to finalize the Declaration in the morning of the third day at the New Town Hall. After the sharing of views and
experience of country representatives, the Draft Colombo Declaration of SAPA 2008 was presented to the delegates and adopted with changes proposed.

Having issued the Colombo Declaration, nearly 4,000 people mobilized for a mass rally in the main streets of Colombo, demonstrating their spirit of commitment and solidarity, reflecting their unity in diveristy. Flags, props, pandols and picket boards addressing the issues of democracy, justice, war, economic issues, etc. were displayed in the parade.  Creative banners and picket boards with anti-war slogans were carried in the procession, e.g., ‘no to violence’, stop the war’, ‘no killings’, ‘stop dissappearances’, ‘end domestic violence’, ‘yes to democracy’, etc. The rally was coordinated by Women and Media Collective



TABLE OF CONTENT
Acknowledgment
Executive Summery                                                                          
1.0 Introduction

1.1      Background
1.2      People’s SAARC 2007                                                            

1.3      Vision and objectives of People’s SAARC
2.0  Inauguration and Thematic Plenary Sessions
2.1      Inauguration                                                                  
2.2      Thematic Plenary Session 18/07/08 South Asia today and the new South Asia we

want

2.3      Thematic Plenary Session 19/07/08 Towards a New South Asia
2.4      Thematic Plenary Session and People’s SAARC Declaration – 20/07/08          
3.0  Outcomes of Thematic Sessions

3.1      National Security Ideology, Policies and Practices

3.2      Democracy and Governance/People’s participation

3.3      Refugees/IDP’s
3.4      SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children
for Prostitution                                                              
3.5      Regional Alternatives: People’s Vision                                        
3.6      Conflicts, Right to Protection and Transitional Justice                       
3.7      WTO, South Asian Trade and FTAs                                               

3.8      Food Sovereignty, Agrarian Crisis and Pro-People Alternatives

3.9      Debt Cancellation

3.10     Climate justice in South Asia

3.11     Caste Discrimination and social exclusion

3.12     Burma: Political and Socio-economic issues

3.13     Migration: Internal and External
3.14     Men, Masculinity and Gender-Based Violence (GBV)                              
3.15     Women and Political Participation                                          

3.16     Differently-abled people and their rights in South Asia

3.17     Migration and Free Movement of Labour

3.18     Religious extremism and communalism
3.19     SAARC Convention on basic health needs                                        
3.20     Urban Development and Housing                                                 
3.21     Labour Rights                                                               
3.22     Media and Right to Information                                               
4.0 Mass Rally and Closing Ceremony                                                          

5.0 People’s SAARC Declaration 2008: TOWARDS A PEOPLE’S UNION OF SOUTH ASIA


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