17 NOVEMBER, MANILA – A day ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders summit in Manila, some 600 local and international activists warned against APEC and its policies that will only worsen poverty and the plunder of natural resources around the globe.
Activists and rights advocates from various parts of the world gathered for the International Festival on People’s Rights and Struggles (IFPRS 2015), which comes at a critical period before the APEC meetings and at the heels of the recently signed trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, feared to bring devastating consequences to developing economies. With the combined strength of 12 member countries, the TPP covers more than 40 percent of the global economy.
“APEC was the birth place of the recently completed transpacific partnership – an agreement that cements corporate power, nullifies human rights and abolishes the remnants of democracy. Governments will be here toasting its finalisation and strategising to broader and deepen it pernicious effects,” said Kate Lappin of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD).
The TPP talks have provoked strong opposition from countries involved in the negotiations as well as from people’s organisations around the world. Much criticism derives from the TPP being negotiated behind closed doors – only corporate advisors and lobbyists were given exclusive access to the text, said Lappin.
“The TPP and the APEC are both US-conceived tools that are part of the US’ rebalance in Asia strategy to regain economic influence in the region and counter the rise of China,” IBON International Executive Director Antonio Tujan, Jr. added.
IFPRS 2015 is part of a series of events and protest actions parallel to the APEC summit happening in Manila from 17-20 November. Following IFPRS 2015 is the Peoples Campaign Against Imperialist Globalisation (PCAIG) that is set to kick off from 18-19 November.###