NBA Press Release
  29 January 2002
Save The Narmada, Save Humanity!

NBA & NAPM PARTICIPATES IN 'WORLD SOCIAL FORUM' AGAINST GLOBALIZATION
Medha Patkar Invited as 'Prosecutor' on International People's Tribunal on External Debt

NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN
B-13, Shivam Flats
Ellora Park,
Baroda-390007
Tel: 0265-282232
Email: baroda@narmada.org

62, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh - 451551
Tel: 07290-22464
Email: badwani@narmada.org

Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and National Alliance of People 's Movements will be participating in the World Social Forum (WSF) convention against the neo-liberal globalization and for evolving alternatives to the "model of globalization imposed by the international capital". The unique meeting of hundreds of organizations from all over the world, especially from the Third World countries, will be held at Porto Alegre in Brazil, from January 31 to February 5, 2002.

Medha Patkar is a special invitee to the WSF and will participate as a Prosecutor along with Pakistan's noted human right activists Ms. Asma Jehangir on the International People's Tribunal on the External Debt. The Tribunal will analyse the global implications and consequences of the foreign debt on a global scale. She is also a panellist on the World Water Forum and the Discussions on de-globalization.

The WSF will have its meeting on the same days when the World Economic Forum (WEF), comprising of representatives of the industry, trade, government and international financial agencies, will be having its meeting in New York. Various social organizations and groups in South America and Europe initiated the WSF in January 2001, at Porto Alegre to strengthen "the fight against submission of the human being to the capital interests".

Over 50, 000 representatives are expected to participate in the Porto Alegre convention, including many prominent ideologues like Noam Chomsky and experienced activists. Many Nobel laureates will participate in the wide range of conferences and workshops. The other participants in the convention from India include Thomas Kochery, Vandana Shiva, Minar Pimple and others. The major focus will be on the external debt of the developing countries. The International Tribunal will put forth the ethical, legal, social and political grounds for the demand to cancel the external debt and explore alternative courses of action for the struggle against indebtedness.

Among other programmes, there will be a Peace Conference, to discuss armed conflicts around the globe and prepare proposals for peace plans for the resolution of each situation. A Public Assembly of the Participatory Budget on War Expenditures will discuss the funds allocated worldwide to war and military activity and the alternatives for allocating these funds to urgent human and social issues, like poverty, hunger and literacy. The issues regarding climate change, the production and consumption patterns defended by the central powers, and consequent increase of poverty in the world will also be debated.

Charter of Principles

The WSF held its first convention in 2001 at Porto Alegre parallel to the WEF conclave. In its first Charter of Principles, in January 2001, the WSF declared its opposition to the neoliberal globalization as it destroys the environment, health and people's living environment. Lamenting that the air, water, land and people have become commodities, it demanded that the life and health must be recognized as fundamental rights, which must not be subordinated to economic policies. Accordingly, there should be no privatization of natural resources and public services. "Free trade is anything but free. Global trade rules ensure the accelerated accumulation of wealth and power by multinational corporations and the further marginalisation and impoverishment of small farmers, workers and local enterprises".

The WSF sees the external debt of the developing countries as has been repaid several times over. It is illegitimate, unjust, and fraudulent, and acts as an instrument of domination, depriving people of their fundamental human rights. It demands unconditional cancellation and the reparation of such historical, social, and ecological debts.

It castigates the multinational corporations as they organise global production with massive unemployment, low wages and unqualified labour and by refusing to recognise the fundamental worker's rights. Also it terms the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and regional banks, the WTO, NATO and other military alliances as the multilateral agents of neoliberal globalization and called for an end to their interference in national policy.

The WSF opposed the concentration of land ownership which favoured corporate agricultural systems, based on export oriented growth backed by large-scale infrastructure development, such as dams, displacing people from their land and destroying their livelihoods.

Towards Alternatives

The WSF calls for a trading system which guarantees full employment, food security, fair terms of trade and local prosperity. It demands that governments respect their obligations to the international human rights instruments and multilateral environmental agreements.

It demands the right to organise and negotiate for unions, and new rights for workers to face the globalisation strategy. "While goods and money are free to cross borders, the restrictions on the movement of people exacerbate exploitation and repression. We demand an end to such restrictions".

The alternative lies in a democratic agrarian reform. Land, water and seeds must be in the hands of the peasants. We promote sustainable agricultural processes. Seeds and genetic stocks are the heritage of humanity. We demand that the use of transgenics and the patenting of life be abolished. The organizations also express special recognition and solidarity with indigenous peoples in their historic struggle against genocide and ethnocide and in defense of their rights, natural resources, culture, autonomy, land, and territory.

NBA and NAPM has been a part of the nationwide and global struggle against the globalization. It has also been a part of the People's Global Action (PGA) platform.

Sanjay Sangvai
M.K.Sukumar