3.12.2005 Gleneagles -- WTO

- Police promise more arrests as pursuit of G8 rioters goes on

- Proteste von FischerInnen und WeberInnen zur WTO Konferenz.

- Urgent! Call for Action - WTO-GATS and Adivasis (indigenous peoples) in India

Police promise more arrests as pursuit of G8 rioters goes on

SCOTTISH police are still gathering evidence against dozens of demonstrators who brought chaos and destruction to Edinburgh during the G8 summit.

Detectives are studying hours of video footage of the violence which led to large areas of central Edinburgh being closed off last July in order to identify around 30 offenders and bring them to justice.

Senior insiders say that they will travel overseas if necessary to catch those who attacked police and damaged property around Princes Street as part of anti-capitalist demonstrations.

A Lothian and Borders Police source said: "We are going through the videos so we can pick them all out. We are not letting up on this at all. They are going to get some very nasty shocks. Supposing they are abroad and think that we have forgotten about them, we are going to get them.

"The view round here is that coming to Edinburgh and causing riots and smashing things up is simply not on. You can have your riots in Barcelona or wherever, but not here. This is Edinburgh and we won't stand for it at all."

The charges are understood to include breach of the peace, assault and vandalism.

So far a total of 29 people have been charged in connection with offences in Edinburgh at the time of the G8 summit. A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police confirmed that officers were still studying video footage with a view to having about 30 demonstrators charged.

Scottish and Russian police representatives have already held talks about policing the next G8 summit which will be held in Moscow next year.

[Scotland on Sunday Sun 30 Oct 2005]

Proteste von FischerInnen und WeberInnen zur WTO Konferenz.

World Fisheries Day (WFD) on November 21, 2005.
Fish workers protest against inclusion of fisheries in NAMA.
Fish workers protests all around India.
19 November 2005

National Fishworkers Forum, a federation of the state level trade unions in costal states of India is mobilizing strong protests in the coastal states on 21st November 2005 - World Fisheries Day, against the trade policy negotiations in the World Trade Organisation, concerning the fisheries related issues of import of fish and import of foreign fishing vessels. Thousands of fishworkers will organize protests at the fish landing centres and fish harbours in Mumbai (Maharashtra), Contai (West Bengal), Trivandrum (Kerala), Bhubaneshwar (Orissa), Vishakapatanam and Ongole (Andhra Pradesh) and other places in coastal areas demanding that India should take a firm stand at WTO Ministerial in Hong Kong, that the fisheries should be kept out of the purview of Non Agricultural Market Access (NAMA) negotiations and the WTO.

N.D. Koli (General Secretary)

Jan Carvan against WTO in eastern UP:

On 14.10.2005 a Dharna was organized by Bunkar Dastkar Adhikar Manch before District Magistrate Varanasi to protest the policies of WTO, IMF and World Bank. In this Dharna hundreds of weavers gathered from different parts of the district. Weavers submitted a memorandum to ACM (first) Varanasi, who appeared at Dharna on behalf of DM Varanasi.In their memorandum weavers demanded to halt NAMA, which is supposed to be introduced in ministerial meeting of WTO in HongKong. Weaver and Artisans signed the 4 meters banner with message of anti-NAMA demand. They shouted slogans of down -down. WTO. In this dharana hunger victims Vishambhar was also present. On the same day a press conference was organized by Jan Karvan against WTO, eastern UP in which Dr Lenin and Raj Kumari Gandhi made demand to halt the NAMA and asked the Indian Government to clarify his position on NAMA before the Indian people. He warned that if NAMA was accepted it will have disastrous effect on Indian weavers and on other marginalized communities. People's Caravan will start its campaign in eastern UP from Balia on 24 Nov., 05, because Balia has historical importance to initiate movement against colonialism in British era. It is a land of Chittu Pandey, who led a movement against British imperialism and established independent administration in Balia for 24 hours.
On 17.11.2005 once again a press conference was organized by Hong Kong based human rights organization AHRC and Varanasi based people's human rights organization PVCHR on KARMA FESTIVAL for land, employment and food and against World Bank-IMF-WTO, which is scheduled on 25.11.2005 - International Day Against Violence on Women would be celebrated with special focus on food security and the women in Varanasi. Famous Sarod Maestro Vikash Maharaj told that KARMA is a folk dance of Ghasia tribe of Sonbhadra. He told to media persons that 18 children in 2002-03 had been died of hunger in Raup village belonging to Ghasia Tribe and parents of the same children who died of hunger is going to perform Karma Dance in protest of WTO and in support of plural culture of Country. He told that through the policies of WTO, IMF and World Bank Indian Government was being forced to go away from the policies of welfare state and that was creating havoc among marginalized farmers, weavers and other communities and it has thrown the people on the verge of malnutrition and starvation. He said that it was duty of every Indian to come on to protest the policies of WTO-WB-IMF. Especially he called for to organized nationwide protest against NAMA, which is going to be discussed in Hong Kong next month in ministerial meeting of WTO. Ashok Sinha of Action aid International, India told that the festival would also be a symbolic protest against the decision taken by the government to withdraw subsidy on the raw materials and implements used in weaving.
Further women Human Rights activist Shruti Nagvanshi told that 152 Gram Panchayats in district Balia, UP have signed a memorandum in the protest of NAMA which would be taken to Hong Kong to give force to the protest of NAMA. In this a 30-meter long banner is being signed by so many dignitaries, which will be displayed in Hong Kong to protest NAMA on behalf of Indian people. Karma is a tribal's resistance against monoculture of Brahmanism as well as imperialism.
From Kachnar of Varanasi in the leadership of Nandlal associated with Asha a Sampoorn kranti Yatra has been started from 23 Nov. 2005 under the banner of NAPM and Lok Samiti against the policies of WTO and Coca and Pepsi. The demand of this yatra is that India should come out of the WTO. It will end its journey at Coca Cola Plant in Mehdi ganj of Varanasi on 30 Nov. 2005.

(A federation of state level trade unions in India)
20/4, Sil Lane,Kolkata - 700 015, West Bengal, Email:
Tel /Fax: 03216 221769

Urgent! Call for Action - WTO-GATS and Adivasis (indigenous peoples) in India

Dear All,

This is to bring to your attention a matter of grave concern regarding the Government of India's position on the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) services agreement and its implications on rights of indigenous peoples in the country.

Many of you will be aware that the Government of India (through the Ministry of Commerce) is currently negotiating the country's position on trade agreements administered by the WTO. These agreements cover different areas like agriculture, services, industrial goods, textiles, intellectual property and other vital sectors. The upcoming 6th WTO Ministerial Conference, scheduled for December 2005 in Hong Kong will be a crucial milestone to finalise negotiations in all sectors and force governments to undertake legally binding commitments.

The GATS and Scheduled Areas in India

One such agreement is the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) which requires countries to progressively liberalise their domestic service sectors including basic services like water, education, health, energy and telecommunications. The GATS is an agreement pushed by corporate lobbies of the rich North - especially the USA and European Union- and is an instrument for forcing open service sectors in developing countries for "corporate market access".

Recognising the need to protect sensitive areas in the country from onslaught of GATS, the government had exempted Schedule V and VI Areas of the country from applicability of GATS provisions in its position submitted to the WTO in January 2004. This position came after prolonged campaign by many of us and served to protect our rights to basic services at the Cancun Ministerial. However, in its latest commitments (12th of August 2005) to WTO, this exemption of Schedule V and VI Areas has been removed.

Struggles of Indigenous Peoples and tribal communities in India

Most tribal societies in our country (and indeed the world over) have their own customary laws, modes of living, traditions, cultural mores, and strong community organisations. Often, formal state institutions have failed to privilege and even recognize vibrant tribal communities which, guided by tradition, have managed their affairs through the ages and effectively meeting challenges coming their way. Attempts by state institutions to impose their authority overriding tribal communities' needs and preferences have led to several confrontations - often dismissed as law and order problems.

In India, several indigenous groups, forest dwellers and tribal communities living in the Scheduled Areas have been facing impacts of increasing privatisation of their resources and violation of their basic rights. The ongoing struggles of the Kue Kondhs community against forced industrialization in Kashipur (Orissa) and in other states portray the growing tendency of the state towards diluting the rights of these communities.

More recently the attempts to introduce the Forest Rights Act has pitted "people against forests". It has, yet again, exposed the stand of certain sections of society, who hold that forests ecosystems need protection from tribal communities, the very people who have been the guardians of these systems for centuries.

Why Scheduled Areas must be EXCLUDED from the GATS

The exclusion of scheduled areas from India's GATS offers was clearly in order to protect these communities and regions and came after concerted campaign. It was in recognition of the long years of struggle that have led to a set of constitutionally safeguarded provisions (like PESA1 - Provision like Panchayat Extension in Scheduled Areas) protecting tribal communities, their lands livelihoods traditions and way of life.

Therefore, the stealthy removal of the exemption in India's latest offer has once again exposed Scheduled Areas to the jurisdiction of GATS and is cause for alarm and strong condemnation by movements and civil society groups in solidarity with the rights of indigenous people.

This move must be opposed on the following grounds:

* Peoples in Scheduled Areas covering states like Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and the Northeast are already suffering from the adverse impacts of privatisation and engaging in a fierce battle for survival and identity.
* The inclusion of these areas within the framework of an international trade agreement like the GATS without prior consultation or consent from affected peoples is in violation of their democratic and traditional rights and is a travesty of democracy.
* The GATS places profit interests of multinational service corporations over the rights of local people to access and use their natural and traditional resources. GATS will only intensify interests and unfettered access of corporate giants in the resource-rich Scheduled Areas and aggravate issues of livelihood ecological sustainability .

* Negotiations on GATS and other WTO Agreements are fundamentally undemocratic and top-down in process. More importantly, the Government of India has not adequately consulted with its elected representatives (at national, state and local levels) before adopting such a position in the WTO. The Constitution of India has granted indigenous communities and their geographical areas a distinctive status, and inclusion of these areas within the GATS is an attempt to supersede the Constitution itself.

Need for Campaign and Action

We must take immediate action to reclaim our democratic rights and ensure that rights of indigenous peoples are not subverted by the GATS. Our government has primary accountability to its people and not the WTO or foreign corporations. As WTO negotiations increase in pace towards the upcoming Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, it is crucial that our voices of concern and protest are intensified. Following are a few suggestions on actions that can be undertaken by us at different levels all over the country:

* Write directly to the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India stating your concerns on the GATS and demanding that Schedule V and VI Areas continue to be exempted from applicability of GATS. Statements and protest letters should be addressed to Mr. Gopal Pillai (Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce) and Mr. R. Gopalan (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce - also India's main negotiator on services)
* Write directly to the Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Shri Rajeev Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India.
* Initiate signature campaigns at the local level and send the same to the Ministry demanding for consultation * Spread the message and call for action among concerned groups individuals

With solidarity and joint action we can make change happen!

In solidarity