Saturday, October 15, 2016

BRICS civil society declaration refers to human rights violations in Brazil, India, South Africa, ignores China

By Our Representative
The People's Forum on BRICS, which took place in Goa on October 13-14 in Goa, ahead of the high profile summit meeting Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, has urged in a declaration that the BRICS nations should “look at issues of social, economic and environmental justice”, something they have been consistently ignoring.
The summit meeting, says the declaration, is taking place at “an unprecedented crisis facing humanity and nature”, pointing towards “the threat that several democracies across the world”, as seen in the “coup in Brazil that has overthrown a people's government.” The summit began on Saturday, and will end on Sunday.
Expressing “great concern the state repression of people's movements and student’s protests in countries including India and South Africa”, the declaration, however, ignores coming up with any strong words regarding human rights violations in China and Russia.
The list of participants, submitted by the People’s Forum on BRICS, intriguingly, does not have any dissident or human rights activists from the mainland China and Russia, or their representatives. In all, representatives from 10 countries participated. China has been under watch for attack on civil rights, while Russia is showing signs of authoritarianism under Vladimir Putin.
The declaration talks “massive levels of ecological destruction that is taking place around the world, led by corporations and in collusion with the state”, even as pointing towards “the teetering world economy that is on the verge of another financial meltdown resulting in stocks and currency market crisis in many of the BRICS countries.”
“The longer-term crisis of capitalism is evident in the marked slowdown in international trade, in declining global profit rates, and in business disinvestment, especially evident in the three BRICS which have negative or negligible GDP growth”, the declaration says.
“The world’s workers are losing rights, farmers are suffering to the point of suicide, and labour casualisation is rampant in all our countries, with the result that BRICS workers are engaged in regular protest and wildcat strikes, of which the strike by 180 million Indian workers inspired the world on September 2”, it adds.
“On the social front”, states the declaration, “The threat to our already-inadequate welfare policies is serious, especially in Brazil’s coup regime but more generally across the BRICS where inadequate social policies are not providing adequate safety nets.”
“The commodification of public services is causing misery, such as in South Africa where university students are fighting hard for a fee-free, decolonised tertiary education”, it says, adding, “Everywhere that people’s movements have made countervailing demands – such as democracy, peace, poverty eradication, sustainable development, equality, fair trade.”
Sharply criticizing the BRICS-sponsored New Development Bank, the declaration says, it is “working hand-in-glove with the World Bank; the Contingent Reserve Arrangement empowers the International Monetary Fund; and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank serves mainly corporate interests – and all these financial institutions lack opportunities for adequate civil society monitoring and participation.”
Coming to Syria, the declaration says, there is a need for a “just solution” the Syrian crisis “in accordance with the principles of international law”, even as condemning “the US-backed aggression and the Pentagon/NATO doctrine of regime change.”
Standing in “solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against colonialism and occupation”, the declaration says, “We endorse boycotts, divestment and Sanctions against apartheid Israel, including opposition to Israel’s attempted export of its unsustainable water and agricultural technologies to BRICS countries.”

No comments: