Filipino Social Movement Leaders condemn WTO “Casino of Death”

The Bali Package jeopardizes our right to Food Sovereignty WTO is gambling with our future

Bali, Indonesia — “The right to food, the right to survival of small farmers cannot be subjected to any kind of negotiation in the WTO or in any place,” according to Joseph Purugganan, campaigner of Focus on the Global South. Purugganan joined the action inside the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center where the 9th Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization is going on. Together with Filipino, Indonesian and Indian social movement leaders, Purugganan dramatized how the European Union and the United States play as the “high-rollers” in the casino that is the WTO.

“The right to food is a universal human right. The Tyranny of the WTO cannot put brackets on these rights. Agriculture should never have been included in the WTO. Food is not just one more commodity. All countries have the responsibility to use all available measures to guarantee the food sovereignty of their people.” Stated Henry Saragih, Chairperson of SPI-Indonesian Peasants Union and Member of International Coordinating Committee of La Via Campesina, the global peasants movement with over 200 million members in 85 countries.

“There is nothing in the WTO for the people. After 18 years, the WTO has never delivered on its promises of development, instead it has concentrated wealth in the hands of the few.” said Josua Mata, Secretary General of SENTRO, a labor alliance in the Philippines. According to the 2013 World Trade Report, 81 percent of exports are concentrated in the top 5 largest exporting firms in developing countries.

As Jean Enriquez of the World March of Women stated, “The WTO has been stalemated for years in the Doha Development Round negotiations and should just accept that it has become a failure and has lost its legitimacy.”

“Today, the WTO tries to revive itself and bring back credibility to its delegitimized institution, by producing a Bali Package that jeopardizes our future.” said Cindy Wiesner of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance from the United States. It takes away our right to food sovereignty by limiting agricultural policies and tying our hands into an expansive Trade Facilitation deal.

Our food, livelihoods and sovereignty are not commodities to be gambled, traded and sold to the highest bidders. The WTO needs to stop gambling with our future. It is time to End the WTO and instead build an Economy for Life.

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