As we enter the millennium, we, 182 women from 22 countries representing 104 organisations, met in Kuala Lumpur to Resist Globalisation and Assert Our Rights.
In the last two days we have listened to the voices of peasant women, migrant workers, farmers, indigenous peoples and fisherfolk from 22 countries on the impact of economic liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation on our lives.
Women suffer most from globalisation in Asia, where the economic crisis has brought massive unemployment and displacement. This has resulted in increase of impoverishment and poverty. Food security is threatened by the loss of bio-diversity and loss of knowledge due to the new fast expansion of genetic engineering and the dumping of agricultural surplus from Northern countries. The appropriation of land and water resources by large TNCs and the elite has led to the disintegration, displacement and marginalisation of large number of rural and indigenous communities.
Women now enter into exploitative working conditions in industries, as wage workers, domestic workers, migrants, and sex workers. They are deprived of legal protection, health care, safe working conditions, work security and the right to organise.
The Asian crisis has shown us the collapse, the contradiction and the ugly sides of speculative financial management. While the G7 governments have bailed out their Wall Street cronies and Asian leaders are bailing out their local cronies, workers who have contributed to Asia's economic growth are retrenched and migrant workers forcefully deported, often without their rightful wage. Their resistance has been met with repression, as was seen among Indonesian and Bangladesh migrant workers in Malaysia.
Our defense budgets continue to swell and the military is used to repress the dissent of workers, indigenous communities, ethnic minorities, democracy movements, peasants and students. Women have faced extreme forms of violence and rape is used as tools of subjugation.
The privatisation of health care is a violation of women's basic human rights to total well-being, in denying them access to safe, appropriate, affordable, high quality preventive and curative health care. It also commodifies reproductive health needs. The population control policies and methods together with the dumping of harmful and experimental contraceptives have increased the risks to women's lives.
Privatisation and commercialisation of education increases the cost of education resulting in mass drop-outs and add to the mass unemployment.
We say no to globalisation
TNCs, with the support of governments, are the prime movers of globalisation. They benefit from it, they have consolidated their power and control to expand their wealth and profits through:
- 1) monopolies in - the distribution of patented, non-germinating (terminator technology) and high input seeds;
- - the appropriation of land, knowledge, natural resources;
- - patent systems enforced through TRIPS;
- - deregulation of labour (through contractualisation and casualisation) and land ownership; and
- - the creation and existence of regional growth triangles and corridors;
- 2) the mergers of seed, agrochemical, pharmaceuticals and food corporation as well as financial institutions to consolidate their power and create conditions for global corporate control.
- 3) the financial speculation and currency trading which has resulted in the collapse and devaluation various currencies;
- 4) multilateral agencies, such as the WTO, World Bank and IMF and the regional trade blocks, NAFTA, APEC, SAFTA, MERCOSUR, and the European Union, which are the main exponents of globalisation. Our governments, local elite and local business are the collaborators and implementers of this agenda;
- 5) the rise of dangerous anti-globalisation forces based on narrow, chauvinistic nationalism, which has intensified social conflicts and the politics of caste, race and religion. This has led to the revival and strengthening of fundamentalism that encourages division and violence especially for women as in the case of Dalit women in India. Often these conflicts divert us from basic problems;
- 6) the State as the direct perpetrator of violence against women. The state continues to protect both private and public institutions and agencies for example, global capital, TNCs, its own armed forces and fundamentalist forces.
- We resist globalisation and assert our rights
- - We resist and reject APEC;
- - We resist the WTO agreements and call for their dismantling
- - We reject attempts to legitimise the WTO through proposals for social and
- environmental clauses. In particular we will work towards the removal of the agricultural agreements from GATT/WTO and patents on life forms through TRIPS;
- - We resist World Bank and IMF conditionalities and condemn the bailouts of private companies and financial institutions;
- - We resist patenting of all life forms and privatisation water and natural resources, land, and knowledge;
- - We assert the rights enshrined in UN Instruments particularly: - the right to freedom of association, expression, and assembly. - the right to equality - freedom from all forms of discrimination - We assert the right to take control over our bodies and our sexuality;
- - We assert freedom from violence and the principles defined in the UN Declaration on VAW;
- - We assert the right to food security, sustainable livelihoods and the right to land;
- - We assert the rights of indigenous people and ethnic groups to self-determination.