There is a far-reaching call to critically view the World Trade Organization as a trade regime benefiting only the major economic and political blocks of the world. There is also a profound need for sustaining such formidable resistance of the world’s people against the unequal treaties under the WTO, which led, for example, to the collapse of the Cancun Ministerial Conference in 2003.
WTO is not just emblematic of the oppressive Globalization but the very mechanism of coercion for the liberalization, privatization and deregulation policies to weaker and poorer countries, to the great detriment of majority poor people of the world. The 6th Ministerial WTO Conference will take place in Hong Kong on December 13-18, 2005.
Last 26-27 February 2005, the WSCF Asia-Pacific attended the International Coordinating Network spearheaded by the Hong Kong People’s Alliance Against WTO (HKPA WTO) held in the City University Hong Kong. WSCF AP particularly signified strong criticisms of the General Agreements on Trade in Services (GATS) and opposed the inclusion of education and other significant basic services to GATS.
GATS, is one of the first WTO agreements set into place in January 1995, and covers the multi-lateral rules on international trade in services, complete with sanctions. Contrary to WTO pronouncements that GATS will bring forth more competition, lower prices, faster innovation and higher employment, service liberalization, truth is it merely aggravates the state abandonment of its responsibility to provide for citizens right to basic services such as water, education, health services. Furthermore, privatization and liberalization of education directly attacks democracy as the sole primary purpose of private education institutions is profit-making. It is in this vein that we appose the unjust WTO and GATS regimes.
The formation of International Network of Students and Youth against WTO (ISYWTO) also last February, is a venue for wide information dissemination and discussion of GATS and Globalization and how it erode the youth, students and people’s rights to access and protection (against unabashed profit-making of TNCs/MNCs) to essential services.
The youth and students groups in the ICN, ISYWTO and other youth groups will hold a Youth Workshop in Hong Kong on December 14-16 as apart of the worldwide people’s resistance simultaneous with the 6th Ministerial Conference Meeting.
We are therefore calling on all SCM National Movements of Asia-Pacific to respond to the challenge to voice out against rapacious WTO-GATS regime, and be a part of the international movement of the youth and students to Defend our Basic Rights.
Hold your government accountable to the degradation and neglect of social services by virtue of its unwise decisions concerning WTO and subservience to foreign business interests.
The WSCF AP encourages all SCM around the globe, school-based, church-based and community-based organization to attend and participate on the different workshops and gathering presented above. The WSCF AP office will be very glad to assist you during your stay in Hong Kong. For more details, please email to justpeace_ap[at]yahoo.com.
From now on, let us make everyday, a day to contribute to the enlightenment of fellow students and youth to take an active part to defend our fundamental rights against any attack or threat hereby posed by government and private capitalists-educators, scrupulous and greedy TNCs/MNCs which make a lucrative business out of our education.
Bayani Alonzo II
Human Rights Coordinator