Alert: Argentina bans Civil Society from WTO Conference in Buenos Aires
Dec 1, 2017
Civil society slams Argentina’s repression of peoples’ voice at the WTO conference in Buenos Aires
Global civil society network People Over Profit (POP) condemns the arbitrary last minute decision of the Argentine government to bar more than 60 civil society and peoples’ organizations from next week’s 11th World Trade Organization ministerial conference in Buenos Aires. The decision is unprecedented in recent history of WTO.
Civil society representatives from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America including People Over Profit had their approved WTO accreditation revoked for reasons undisclosed by the Argentine government. Argentinian officials have yet to explain the basis for the revocation.
“That the WTO is being hosted by the neoliberal regime of President Mauricio Macri and that peoples’ movements from around the world are being prevented from the summit indicate for us that pro-big business agenda is set to overrun the WTO negotiations in Buenos Aires”, says Ivan Enrile of People Over Profit.
“WTO is skewed towards rich countries and against poor and underdeveloped countries. Transnational business groups exert heavy influence on policies and negotiations, while peoples’ movements are marginalized and excluded. Our voice is important in countering the WTO’s built-in bias against democratic participation. And yet, even this very minimal space is being taken away from the people”, adds Kurniawan Sabar of Institute for National and Democratic Studies, Indonesia.
People Over Profit warns that the repressive action of the Argentinian government serves the interest of transnational corporations to make the WTO a perfect venue for business and governments to pursue new agendas that would otherwise fail in open democratic forums.
“Current proposals in the WTO such as those on e-commerce, domestic regulation disciplines, and agriculture and fisheries subsidies elimination pose great threats to peoples’ rights and to poor and underdeveloped countries’ sovereignty and development. We stand firmly against moves that will further expand the corporate sellout of the world and our future”, says Leonida Odongo of FAHAMU Africa.
People Over Profit calls on civil society and peoples’ organizations to protest the decision of the Argentinian government and invites them to join protest actions around the world against WTO.
“The government of Argentina may prevent us from coming to Buenos Aires for the WTO summit, but they won’t stop us from organizing and mobilizing our local communities to expose and oppose the WTO for what it truly is: a supreme instrument for imperialist globalization,” says Enrile. ###
About People Over Profit
People Over Profit is a global campaign network that unites peoples movements and NGOs across the globe against free trade agreements and corporate plunder. Its members encompass all global regions.