STATEMENT BY PEOPLE OF SOUTH ASIA
We from, ACTION 2007, a collective of more than 200 organizations and people's struggles representing Adivasis, farmers, forest dwellers, hawkers, unorganised sector workers in rural and urban areas, Dalit and minorities, from different parts of the country have gathered in New Delhi since 19th March 2007. We held the South Asian People's Parliament today on 3rd April 2007, where people's representatives from different South Asian countries participated, where the following statement was issue:
Improve and strengthen relationship and cooperation among the countries of South Asia. To achieve this, these countries should relax the visa regime and India should take lead in this to enable people's freedom to each other, and thus the common socio-cultural and historical heritage of the region is taken forward, and trade is enhanced. It is further resolved that initiatives be taken to give shape to SAARC economic union. Keeping in view the above stated objective, children, senior citizens, members of civil organizations, students, the teachers of schools, colleges and universities be given top priority in the granting of visas.
Democratic and humanistic values be strengthened in these countries, and adequate social and legal protection be afforded to the oppressed and marginalized sections of society, particularly to women, dalits, and ethnic and religious minorities, active steps be taken for repealing laws, and ending social practices, that are discriminatory towards these sections. We demand the repeal of draconian laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in India.
India and Pakistan take the lead in putting an end to their nuclear weapons and begin working towards making the entire South Asian region a Nuclear-Free zone in a time-bound manner. This may be done in a phased manner, beginning with the freezing of nuclear weaponry, followed by disarmament, and culminating in total disarmament. The countries of the region should re-evaluate the very use of nuclear energy even for supposedly peaceful purpose, taking into consideration the serious health and environmental hazards associated with it. Further the SAARC state should expeditiously conclude a South Asian No-War Pact to facilitate South Asian Cooperation. Additionally, immediate steps should be taken to free the region from the dangers of land mines.
To build confidence and solidarity in the region, no country of the region should get into any agreement with any superpower that is likely to create a danger for the autonomy and sovereignty of the region. Of particular concern in this regard is the recent Indo-U.S. nuclear deal; India, in the interest of the region, must withdraw forthwith from this deal and thereby establish a strong and correct precedent.
Democratic values and systems of governance must become the prevailing norm for the entire South Asian region. We support the struggles for democracy in Bhutan and Pakistan and lend our support to the democratic process in Nepal.
Immediate steps be taken by all the governments of the region to halt militarization and to gradually reduce military expenditure in a public stated, transparent and pro-active manner, the resources thus saved be allocated for such common concerns as health and education.
We call upon the leadership of South Asian countries to respect the democratic aspirations of the Kashmiri people. India and Pakistan should stop treating J&K as an internal issue or a bilateral real estate issue. People of India and Pakistan occupied territories should decide their own collective feature.
For quick resolution of the long-standing Kashmir issue, an immediate first step should be total demilitarization of Kashmir. Thereafter bold and accommodating initiatives should be taken in a time-bound manner to resolve the issue in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of Kashmir.
Given the common socio-cultural and historical heritage of the region, active initiatives for peace and harmony should be taken by progressive forces to encounter the sectarian and communal forces destabilizing the region.
Steps betaken for the restoration of rights to natural resources like water, land and forests, to their rightful ownership by the common people of the region; the illegitimate and destructive appropriation of these rights by the forces of globalization, which we believe are anti-people, should be halted. We therefore pledge our continuing support for all pro-people movements in their struggles against the forces of globalization acting under the direction of what we believe to be the illegitimate and self-appropriated power of bodies like the WTO, World Bank, IMF and ADB.
We call upon all the struggling people of South Asia to put up a stiff resistance for the rolling back of the Neo-liberal offensive in South Asia.
Long Live the Unity of the South Asian People!
On Behalf of Action-2007
Delhi Office: Action 2007, 1-A, Goela Lane, Under Hill Road Civil Lines, Delhi � 54 Tel.: 011-23933307
Rajendra Ravi (0-9868200316 ), Vijayan MJ (0-9868165471 ) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mumbai Office: Action 2007, C/0 Chemical Mazdoor Sabha, 28-29, First Floor 'A wing' Haji Habib Building, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (East), Mumbai-400014