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 Post subject: Sri Lanka joins worldwide protests against WTO meeting
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:02 pm 
Date : 2005-12-04

Sri Lanka joins worldwide protests against WTO meeting in Hong Kong

By Q Perera - Reporting from Colombo
@ Asiantribune.com

Colombo, 04 December, (Asiantribune.com): Going by the theories of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund advised not to cultivate paddy in Sri Lanka, as paddy could be purchased at very cheap prices from Vietnam and Thailand and if that advice was followed paddy cultivation would have been disappeared from Sri Lanka said Prof Fransua Huta, a Belgium University professor.

Prof. Fransua Huta has been involved in this type of socialist campaigns against capitalism for the last 50 years, speaking at a press conference in explaining the worldwide protests that would be launched against the WTO Conference scheduled to be held on the 13th December in Hong Kong.

Numerous People’s Organizations represented by Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR), National Farmers Assembly, Janawabodaya Centre, Peoples Planning Commission and Alliance for the Protection of National Recourses and Human Rights (ANRHR) are sphere heading a huge protest campaign that include protests and demonstrations against the WTO rganization Conference. The campaign commenced on 26 November from Colombo. The campaign would educate and involve such sectors as fisheries, agriculture, plantation and trade.

It was said that the basic philosophy of WTO in theory it would look wonderful in full liberalization of commerce in the world. In theory everyone would be happy to buy all the goods in the world but in practice it is complete out but full liberalization of commerce meant only for a fewer powerful ones where the partners are not equal.

In the case of intellectual property law on patents in theory it would seem wonderful to recognize someone having intellectual property, but in fact there are the multi-national enterprises would be able to buy intellectual property and they could monopolize on patents. These agreements would force poor countries to buy medicine from these multinational companies for the next 20 years.

The protest campaigners would travel to various townships covering the whole country in two phases which has started on 26th November from Colombo would reach Colombo on the 10th of December, specially in a bid to educate the impediments to farmers and fishermen.

The same thing would also happen to agriculture. Once they are globalized the members will be imposed with most productivity capitalist agriculture and little by little all the small peasantry in the world would be eliminated. It is with that logic; the World Bank in Sri Lanka insisted that paddy fields to be disappeared because rice is cheaper in Vietnam and Thailand.

The procedures of the WTO is that every nation has one vote which would appear better as in the case of World Bank and the International Monitory Fund (IMF) where the voting is limited to the quantum of money the member nations contribute. The procedure adopted here would be on consensus. But there would be pressure exercised on the weakest nations, using the argument that if you approve such a policy they would allow financial projects.

If the policies are not approved by any nation, their finances would not be provided. Small groups of powerful countries would prepare the official procedures beforehand and during the conference these powerful countries would send delegations of 100 to 200 specialized delegates on various fields, but the poor nations would send only their representative at the UN and before they attend the conference they would have to read and understand around 5,000 pages of materials on the proposed conference.

Prof. Huta said that social movements of the whole world would converge in Hong Kong to protest as it happened during earlier WTO conferences.

Padma Pushpakanthi of Savithree movement said that due to the introduction of open market economy in 1977, the main rural economy that depended on agriculture fisheries and small industries had to face serious difficulties, as they did not have the facilities to get into the international market. Due to these difficulties, the women who were part of the family income by helping the fisheries and agriculture lost their share.

She said that one example would be the milk production in the villages that were helped by the village women has diminished. She said that due to the domination of the big time industrialists and business people, the women’s place in the income generation suffered a set back.

Sarath Fernando, President, Indigenous Seed Protection Movement said that on the 13th of December at Hong Kong WTO conference they would decide that government welfare services like Education, Health Services and the Distribution of water would have to be passed on to the private sector and any entrepreneur from any country could merchandise those services in Sri Lanka, that would have a disastrous impact on the living conditions of the poor masses in this country.

Socialist movements of the world would protest vehemently and they would see that the WTO Conference in Hong Kong would be nullified.

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