In a major effort to influence international opinion ahead of the eighth BRICS summit, to be held in Goa on October 15-16, well-known Indian and foreign civil rights organizations have come together for an international convention in the state on October 13-14, accusing BRICS of working for merely promoting its own transnational corporations (TNCs), exploiting the poor.
Acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, BRICS summit is taking place following the Hangzhou G20 and the Venezuela Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summits, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi giving the latter a miss.
While the issues likely to be discussed at the summit include sluggish global economic growth, the breakdown of the Doha trade round at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the emergence of bilateral and regional Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), as for India regional cooperation in South Asia is likely to weigh heavily.
The People's Forum of BRICS, formed to hold the global convention ahead of the BRICS summit, will meet at the Xavier Centre of Historical Research, Alto Porvorim, Goa, with as many as 35 Indian and 12 civil rights bodies endorsing it.
Those from India include National Alliance of People's Movements, All-India People’s Science Network, All India Secular Forum, Centre for Finance Accountability, Citizens for Peace and Justice, Delhi Science Forum, Delhi Solidarity Group, Indian Social Action Forum, National Fishworkers Forum, South Asia Dialogues for Ecological Democracy, and Toxics Watch Alliance.
International endorsements consist of Beyond Copenhagen Collective, Angikar Bangladesh Foundation, Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, Campaign for Climate Justice (Nepal), International Network of Catholic Social Justice Organisations, Globalisation Monitor (China), NGO Forum on ADB, and Brazilian Network for People´s Integration.
In a statement, the People's Forum of BRICS has said, it will attempt to “raise critical voices from below on social, ecological, political and economic concerns that are often ignored at big summits such as BRICS.”
Taking objection to developments following the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), such as the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA),the statement says, the agenda of all of it is no different from “the hegemony of western dominated institutions such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).”
“For example”, the statement says, “During a balance of payment crisis, the CRA forces a borrowing country to go to the IMF for a neoliberal structural adjustment programme after getting just 30% of its quota in CRA loans.”
The statement underlines, “BRICS’ transnational corporations (TNCs) that extract valuable resources from the world’s poorest regions are reported to be just as brutal in accumulating capital as northern TNCs. The BRICS’ record at the WTO, FTAs and at the UN climate negotiations has also been one of strategic accommodation with the global North.”
Pointing out that BRICS' focus is on “adherence to a largely neo-liberal development model and an export-led growth trajectory based on cheap labour, rising inequality, financial speculation and multinational corporate exploitation”, the statement says, it has “little consideration for social and ecological costs” involved in all this.
Accusing BRICS countries of trampling civil rights, the statement says, in India, any protests in India are dubbed “anti-national”, in Brazil, the country's democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff was ousted through a constitutional coup, in South Africa the neo-liberal policies have an unemployment rate of 40%, Russia is pushing an authoritarian capitalist model, China's capitalism is resulting in dispossession and pauperisation of the disempowered.