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Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 726
November 9, 2012

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Final Declaration:

9th Asia-Europe People's Forum

The 9th Asia-Europe People's Forum (AEPF9) that was held in Vientiane last October was a landmark civil society event. The People's Forum has been held biennially since 1996 as a parallel event to the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit of Asian and European heads of states. Over 1,200 people – representatives of major people's movements, civil society networks, progressive scholars, parliamentarians across Asia and Europe – from about 25 countries in Asia and 15 countries in Europe, and around 400 Laotians (from the mass organizations and autonomous NGOs) attended the AEPF9.

What was notable was the richness of the discussions from the plenaries and the 36 workshops and strategizing meetings that came from the concrete experiences of fighting communities in Asia and social movements in Europe resisting the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund) and austerity measures.

In addition, the AEPF9 declaration had the depth to capture the common analyses of the crises from the people's perspective, and contained transformative alternatives and workable recommendations from the discussions as well as from the subregional conferences in Asia and consultations in the provinces in Laos from May until August prior to the People's Forum.

Significantly, AEPF9 activated new advocacy networks, and strengthened a number of existing campaigns that are important in this time of crisis. For example, the launching of a No Nukes Network by Japanese, German, French, Indian activists and its caucus and planning on joint projects. The Asian and European Networks on the Debt, toward debt audit and cancellation, and strategizing for an International Tribunal on the Debt and other common actions.

Likewise, the following on-going campaign networks were able to evaluate, plan and renew their strategies and campaign agenda: Just Trade and Campaign Against Free Trade Agreement with the EU (Asia and Europe), Campaign for Universal/Transformative Social Protection and Access to Essential Services (regional and global), Campaign on Climate Justice and Food Sovereignty (regional and global), Water Justice Network (global), Campaign for the Dismantling of Corporate Power (global), Migrant Networks in Asia and Europe, and Peace and Security Networks (Asia and Europe).

— Tina Ebro
Coordinator for Asia
Asia-Europe People's Forum (AEPF) www.aepf.info

We, over 1,000 women and men, representing people's organizations and citizens from Asia and Europe joined together from the 16th to 19th October 2012 in Vientiane, Laos at the 9th Asia-Europe People's Forum (AEPF) under the title “People's Solidarity against Poverty and for Sustainable Development: Challenging Unjust and Unequal Development, Building States of Citizens for Citizens.”  The AEPF9 tackled four major themes, or People's Visions, which represent AEPF's hopes for citizens of the ASEM member countries and the communities they live in. These are:

  • Universal Social Protection and Access to Essential Services
  • Food Sovereignty and Sustainable Land and Natural Resource Management
  • Sustainable Energy Production and Use and
  • Just Work and Sustainable Livelihoods

Preceding the 9th Asia-Europe People's Forum we held three preparatory workshops in South and South-East Asia on our four themes. In Laos, 16 provincial level consultations were held which contributed to the development of a draft Lao People's Vision Statement. These brought together the reflections, aspirations and visions of the Lao people from a wide range of mass and civil society organizations across Lao society. They are an important contribution to future dialogues for development and seen as part of the Laos’ commitment to strengthening partnerships for development.

At the Asia-Europe People's Forum 9 we focused on developing strategies and recommendations to our elected representatives in our countries, and to ourselves, as active citizens.

Major Historical Importance

We met at a time of major historical importance that has brought into sharp focus the drastic inequalities, injustices and poverty experienced by people across Asia and Europe. What is often presented as a ‘financial crisis’ is in reality part of a series of interlinked crises – food, energy, climate, human security and environmental degradation – that are already devastating the lives, and compounding the poverty and exclusion faced on a daily basis by millions of women, men and children across Asia and increasingly across Europe. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening, and access to resources, livelihood opportunities and basic services remain grossly unequal. The ASEM9 is an historic opportunity for ASEM governments to take the timely and decisive actions needed to address this.

There is a strong consensus among Asian and European citizens gathered at the AEPF9 that the dominant approach over the last decades – based around deregulation of markets, increasing power of multinational corporations, unaccountable multilateral institutions and trade liberalization – has failed in its aims to meet the needs and rights of all citizens. We need to go beyond an analysis and response that focuses solely on short-term measures benefiting a few financial institutions and large corporations. There is a deep felt need and demand for change and for new people-centred policies and practices.

Despite the policy failures of trade liberalization, market deregulation and privatization, our governments continue to ignore the growing tangible consensus for fundamental policy change. Instead of fulfilling the needs of people and reinvigorating local economies, hundreds of billions of Euros have been mobilized to save the banks and financial system, while essential social services remain under-funded and are being dismantled in many parts of Europe.

Despite existing laws, regulations, standards and mechanisms, our governments have failed to prioritize human rights, environmental security and labour rights, over the profits of companies. The consequences of this corporate domination are experienced in the lives of millions of women, men and children across Asia and Europe. This has led to a hollowing out of democratic accountability as elites make decisions and implement policies with little or no scrutiny from citizens, creating the conditions for poverty, inequality, environmental devastation and growing social unrest.

Our governments and the citizens of Asia and Europe have the responsibility to transform our social, economic and political futures so that we can all live in peace, security and dignity. We all need to take responsibility to work together to create and implement the radical and creative solutions needed for people-centred recovery and change.

People-Centred Responses

We therefore call upon the governments who are members of ASEM to implement people-centred responses to the current crises in an effective and responsible manner. Urgent need must be given to poor, excluded and marginalized people and governments must work with citizens to develop and implement policies that will lead to a just, equal and sustainable world, and more accountable and democratic institutions – based on respect for gender equality, our environment and our fundamental human rights.

The AEPF is a strategic civil society gathering of Asian and European social movements fighting poverty and inequality and working for social justice. The AEPF is grounded in the common desires of people's organizations and social justice networks across Asia and Europe to open up new venues for dialogue, solidarity and action. The following call to action is based on the recommendations from the many vibrant and exciting events that were held throughout these four days.

Call to Action
From the 9th Asia-Europe People's Forum

The 9th Asia-Europe People's Forum, representing citizens, people and social movements from Asia and Europe, urges ASEM and its member Governments to recognize the following issues and priorities and to take forward our recommendations:

A. Universal Social Protection and Access to Essential Services

Globally, only 20 per cent of people have access to social protection – the coverage in nearly all Asian countries is even lower. In Europe, the welfare state and social contract have been systematically eroded by both national governments and European Union (EU) institutions in the name of market-driven policies and private profits.

Social protection and access to essential services are fundamental rights covering rights to work, adequate food, essential services and social security. States have the obligation to actively promote, protect and fulfil these rights. After 2015, following on from the Millennium Development Goals, there is a new opportunity for governments to legislate for a comprehensive set of transformative social ‘indispensable to a life’ policies to promote universal social protection based on human and social rights.

A transformative social protection system is a broad package of commitments and services that includes social security, social assistance, labour rights and social services that covers the entire population in order to prevent and reduce poverty. It should protect individuals against risks of impoverishment in situations of sickness, disability, unemployment, old age, high healthcare costs, general poverty and social exclusion. It subscribes to principles of equality and non-discrimination, fosters organic solidarity, and contributes to human security and to the common good of humanity.

A transformative and universal social protection system must be implemented together with alternative national development strategies that restore the sovereign rights of states to chart a people-centred development that is just, democratic and sustainable, reversing the neoliberal policies of liberalization, deregulation and privatization.

Key Recommendations

We call on our governments to:

  1. Enact legislation and secure public finance for a social protection system that is rights-based and universal. This will enable basic social protection for all people including workers – informal and formal, paid and unpaid, women and men, including migrants. This social protection system covers fundamental rights vital to a life of dignity which include: The Right to Work (access to work guarantees, living wages and decent work according to ILO core standards, full employment with shorter working weeks), Food, Essential Services (access to universal and quality health and reproductive health care, education, water and sanitation, energy and affordable and decent public housing), Social Security (living pensions for the elderly and disabled, child subsidies), and insurance with guaranteed fair/living wage (against risks of unemployment, illness and agricultural calamities).

  2. Develop adequate fiscal policies that generate sufficient domestic funds for universal social protection. Appropriate tax regimes should effectively tax transnational corporations, rich individuals and large landowners rather than applying regressive taxation such as VAT. Our governments should introduce a Financial Transaction Tax, close tax havens and secret banking and cancel odious debts.

  3. Work through ASEAN to adopt a Social Agenda that will include the universalization of social protection and the decommodification of all essential goods and services indispensable to life. Social protection should be under state authority and free for all people.

  4. Be parties to developing and agreeing a UN Charter on the Common Goods of Humankind that will establish the common ownership of resources, goods and services which are essential to life; cooperative management by the international community must be adopted.

  5. Exclude TRIPS plus provisions in all bilateral/multilateral trade agreements especially provisions on data exclusivity and patent extension because of their direct impacts on public health and access to medicines. TRIPS plus provisions threaten and undermine governments’ authority to use the TRIPS flexibilities allowed them in favour of providing for affordable and accessible medicines for the majority. These flexibilities are even more important given the reality that out-of-pocket costs of medicines are increasing, with the poor in Asia often spending more than half of their income on medicines.

  6. Ratify and fully implement the UN Conventions on the Rights of Disabled People and mainstream disability concerns into local and national economic and social development; a focus should be placed on empowering people with disabilities and their organizations to ensure equal participation and full inclusion in all aspects of life.

  7. Recognize the complex root causes of poverty and ensure that all countries ensure that all citizens have the opportunity to have their voices heard, opinions respected and can participate in decision making that affects them, as well as in defining what those decisions need to be. This must include children and young people and it must go further than basic adherence to international legal instruments such as the Convention on Rights of the Child. It is critical that mechanisms are developed and implemented to provide opportunities for true participation at the local, national and global level to ensure that development is inclusive of all, including children, young people and the most vulnerable. These voices must be heard to ensure a move toward more just and people-centred services and development.

  8. Ensure and guarantee quality, basic education for all and fast track affirmative actions for marginalized children, youth and adults.

  9. Promote and support literacy and respect for local wisdom as the foundation for life-long learning. Finance fully-costed life-long learning programmes that enable everyone regardless of age, sex and ethnicity to access opportunities throughout their lives through formal, non-formal and informal education.

  10. Ensure quality curricula in formal, non-formal and informal education that integrates participatory sustainable development, technical-vocational life skills, self-determination and participation within the framework of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Learners should have a say on what quality learning means.

  11. Enhance positive cooperation between Civil Society Organizations, Governments and the private sector toward sustainable development.

  12. Support all citizens to take part in drafting and review of national development frameworks.

  13. Develop and promote adequate social protection mechanisms for indigenous peoples and ensure their access to essential services.

  14. Ensure a shift from corporate social responsibility to corporate social accountability that emphasizes diligence with its elements of prevention, protection, prosecution and reparation according to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) for human rights violations, including gender-based impacts and violence.

  15. Strengthen and implement safeguards policies and accountability mechanisms, including the dissemination of correct and complete information, free and prior informed consent, organization of meaningful community consultations, administer just compensation and actions that ensure the bodily integrity and social well-being of communities, especially marginalized groups such as women and minorities, to hold governments, corporations and international financial institutions accountable and ensure a development toward resilient, equitable, inclusive low carbon communities.

  16. Ensure that migrants must have the right to marriage, family, culture and political participation. This includes raising children according to their own identity and culture. These rights ensure full participation in community life. One must also be able to keep one's identity, in contrast to many migration policies, which promote assimilation.

  17. Recognize The Hague Convention on child custody.

B. Food Sovereignty and Sustainable Land and Natural Resource Management

In response to the financial, economic, and ecological crises, a new wave of land, water and resource grabbing is occurring. Powerful international and domestic forces are pushing forward a new round of enclosures globally for both food and non-food purposes.

In Asia, land and resource grabbing is accelerating in the name of ‘development.’ There is a growing body of evidence that these large-scale investments in agriculture and extractive industries are resulting in a cascade of negative impacts on rural livelihoods and ecologies, human rights, and local food security and food sovereignty.

In Europe, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), based on the international competitiveness of European agri-business, is forcing many farmers to exit agriculture. The EU's bio-energy policies, most prominently the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), are diverting land used for food production to large-scale, monoculture, agro-fuel and agro-energy crop production. The EU's trade policy, in particular the Everything But Arms initiative, has fuelled global land grabbing.

Banks, hedge funds and pension funds are betting on food prices in financial markets, causing drastic price swings in staple foods such as wheat, maize and soya. This speculation on food is driving up global food prices. Food speculation by banks and financial market traders must be regulated.

We are facing a global water crisis. Never has there been such pressure on water resources and such water scarcity. In many countries, the water crisis is manipulated by International Finance Institutions’ (World Bank and Asian Development Bank) drive to grab water and has resulted in the takeover of water resources and services by corporations and private companies. This situation encourages anti-poor policies, increasing the role for corporations in the water sector and producing bigger pubic debts, which in the end do not necessarily ensure water provision, equitable access and efficiency.

Within the social movements, food sovereignty has prevailed as an alternative to the industrial agricultural model. Food sovereignty is based on the right of peoples to define their own food, agriculture, livestock and fishery systems, independent of international market forces. It is called for by farmers, peasants, pastoralists, fisher folk, indigenous peoples, women, rural youth and their allies all over the world.

Our common vision is therefore based on the principles of food and land sovereignty. Peasants, small-scale food producers, and rural populations should be able to decide their own development path.

Our health and the health of the earth and future generations depend on healthy soil, strong food communities and small-scale diversified farms. There are growing movements of young farmers and alternatives agriculture, which can provide solutions to many of the global challenges we are facing. To support these, we should promote local food systems and strengthen networks for farming with dignity, integrity and self-reliance.

Key Recommendations

We call on our governments to:

  1. Oppose land and resource grabbing and support the Human Right to Food and to implement the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests. These Guidelines are an important first step in protecting the tenure rights of small-scale food producers and ensuring a more equitable governance of natural resources.

  2. Support the on-going process at the United Nations level for the recognition of the Rights of Peasants.

  3. Respect human rights in their trade, agricultural, energy, development, environmental, land and water policies. The EU should investigate the impact of its trade policies, such as the Everything But Arms agreement, which have evicted thousands of people from their land in some countries.

  4. Drop the agro-fuels targets under the Renewable Energy Directive.

  5. Support food sovereignty in Asia and Europe, including in the reform process of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy.

  6. Invest in a coherent, progressive, publically funded rural development strategy. This investment should focus on the needs of small-scale food producers, rural women, and indigenous peoples. Local and national development plans must fully recognize the rights of local communities to sustainable livelihoods and food sovereignty. They should protect and respect people's access to land, water and biodiversity. The Development Agenda must recognize that women traditionally have skills and knowledge for livelihoods that ensure food security for all.

  7. Respect the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands, territories and resources as the material, economic, social and cultural bases for their collective survival and development. This includes the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in decision-making processes relating to development including the requirement for free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples in development projects. Lastly, acknowledge the contribution of indigenous peoples in sustainable development through their low carbon lifestyles, their traditional knowledge, indigenous techniques and innovative ways of production.

  8. Regulate food speculation by banks and financial market traders as a matter of urgency. Bypassing legislation to ensure that all futures contracts are cleared through regulated exchanges. Contracts need to be brought out into the open, in the same way that shares are traded on the stock exchange. There should also be strict limits on the amount that bankers can bet on food prices. Caps should be set on the amount of the market that can be held by the biggest traders, and on the amount of the market that can be held by financial speculators as a whole.

C. Sustainable Energy Production and Use

The current development paradigm, characterized by over production and consumption without regard to the earth's capacity, is incompatible with long-term solutions needed to save the economy and our planet. Governments should see the climate crisis as an opportunity to embark to a low carbon society  and enable inclusive development by promoting renewable energy access and availability to the most disadvantaged and remote communities. To understand the cause of climate change and come up with sustainable solutions to the problems linked with the degradation of natural resources and increasing environmental insecurity and injustice, we need to see the connection between the climate crisis and the way societies are organized.

Access to energy is a fundamental right and not a privilege. People must have a say in energy governance. Justice and social transformation should be the measures for even energy distribution between countries and within societies. Many cases of hydro power dams still show the lack of consensus in viewing the causes of problems and the appropriate solutions needed to address energy poverty.

Market based instruments are emerging as a new development approach which brings environmental resources – the commons – into the current market system under the Green Economy. Payments for environmental services and offsetting are two main ideas behind the approach. However, they would undermine the shift to genuinely sustainable livelihoods and self-reliance of small-scale farmers and forest communities and on the other hand delay necessary transition to a low carbon society in industrialized nations. Other solutions proposed under the ‘Green Economy’ include those new technologies which are unproven and unsafe, including GMOs and synthetic biology, Nano-technology, bio-fuels and geo-engineering (amongst others) which have a tendency to mainly benefit large corporations.

In particular the carbon market established through international climate policy has led to the promotion of projects which do not deliver environmental and social benefits, some of them even being harmful to local communities. Moreover, international climate policy has generated a number of false solutions which are unproven, unsafe and unsustainable, such as monoculture plantations, GMOs, geo-engineering and massive bio-fuel exports / imports jeopardizing food security.

The UN has adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIPs) rather than insisting that the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) complies to UNDRIPs. There are remaining unresolved issues, which pose questions on the need for REDD. REDD projects also show a tendency toward militarization in the implementation of projects. It is proving to become another way to pollute and negatively exploit forest resources. Indigenous peoples often do not want REDD, they want their rights to live in and manage forests to be upheld; REDD also fails to address climate change.

Lastly, waste generation is a result of negative resource use and waste production from individual and business activities, as well as inadequate governmental policies. Anything that cannot be re-used, recycled, or re-designed is pollution – a threat to human and planetary existence and a negative legacy to future generations. Thus it must be eliminated, prevented from being produced or banned from entering the market.

Key Recommendations

We call on our governments to:

  1. To fulfil their responsibility to mitigate climate change, pay their ecological debt to poor countries and realize fair sharing of development space, the EU should achieve a major transition to a sustainable energy system, based on renewable energies, energy efficiency and also sufficiency, and therefore speed up and intensify their efforts toward this goal.

  2. Shift the system of production and consumption oriented on continuous expansion and appropriation of nature to a more sustainable and environment-friendly one, which fulfils the needs of people and not corporations.

  3. Ensure a political environment where people can confidently participate and discuss their ideas for alternative energy policies and create participative processes for energy development and production that reflect the concerns and needs of affected communities.

  4. Develop and implement effective, socially fair and just policies and measures to promote renewable energy, in particular decentralized installations and systems, transformative solutions to end energy poverty, as well as improved energy efficiency in both developing and developed countries.

  5. Commit to progressing, with urgency, to a nuclear power free world. This will require decommissioning existing nuclear power stations, stopping the development of planned power stations and taking forward alternatives.

  6. Take forward ambitious and serious thinking on how to enable and empower small and very small power producers and to develop policies that will realize up-scaling community based energy systems.

  7. Uphold a human rights approach to the governance of natural commons, especially in terms of allocation, distribution and resource management. Uphold the UN Resolution that states water is a human right and not private property, not a commodity, not a tradable economic good and not simply a factor of production. Water should not be transformed from a commons to a commodity.

  8. Legislate and implement a national waste plan that will reduce waste, phase out non-biodegradable plastics, build infrastructures and mechanisms to reduce, re-use, re-cycle and redesign waste. Companies and other actors that do not comply with effective and sustainable waste management policies must be held liable or sanctioned.

  9. Recognize the right of people and communities in forest areas and their capacity to sustainably use and manage forest resources in preference to global forest-carbon schemes and mechanisms before any development or conservation scheme is considered.

D. Just Work and Sustainable Livelihoods

Dramatic changes in the context of work and in the forms of labour and employment are happening across Asia and Europe. Despite the differences – in particular the debt crisis in Europe and the livelihood crisis in Asia caused by investments increasingly based on land and water grabbing – many common features can be identified. Migration in and between countries, with a risk of trafficking, is increasing in Asia as well as in Europe. The hopes for job and income security and sustainable livelihoods have not materialized. Where labour has been formalized, labour standards and workers’ rights are being eroded and Trade Unions and collective bargaining are being weakened. The power and profits of corporations are increasing. Free Trade Agreements are leading to further erosions of workers rights’ and the dismantling of social protection. Where growth occurs it is often jobless growth.

The precarious and unprotected forms of labour which are dominant in Asia, informal, casual, contract, and temporary employment have come to Europe. For the sake of competitiveness and in the interest of investors, the imperative of reducing labour costs is consolidating the trend toward low-waged and insecure employment. The race to the bottom is speeding up. Cutting costs in the public sector of many countries is leading to decreases in jobs and in essential social services. In Europe, the crisis is causing more unemployment, more precarious and vulnerable work, as well as cuts in wages and pensions. Even in countries less hit by the crisis, the feeling of the majority of the population is a growing insecurity in and of work and about social protection. At the same time, social inequalities and disparities in wages, income and well-being are growing with a mounting number of working poor and millionaires/'super-rich.’

This overall restructuring of labour and labour markets in different contexts makes it impossible to still draw clear lines between formal and informal, secure and insecure, paid and unpaid work. A concept of justice in work has to go beyond rules and regulations for waged labour and include all work outside of the market, balance the inequalities between women and men, care work and industrial work, and protect local communities and migrants' rights. It is necessary to think much more outside of the box, search for new forms of organization and for different economic paths which head toward an economy of solidarity, and socially, gender and environmentally just and sustainable livelihoods.

A few Transnational Corporations (TNCs) control 40 per cent of the global economy. Bilateral investment treaties and investment chapters in the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are part of an architecture of impunity for transnational corporations and as such undermine the sovereignty of both developed and developing countries, democratic governance and peoples’ interests. They allow corporations to challenge national laws that go against TNCs interests. TNCs have overturned laws and national policies including regulations to protect public services, the environment, working conditions, labour standards and health.

Tourism is a huge industry and a key driver of globalization. With the growth of tourism, the social, economic, political and cultural rights of local communities are often neglected and violated, particularly those of poor and vulnerable communities. They see their land and resources being appropriated by the tourism industry, while they often do not have any say in developments affecting their lives.

We recognize that Trade Unions, community organizations, social movements and NGOs can join together to develop new alliances which can join different issues and link across sectors and between countries. Social movements and workers’ organizations have to work with governments to develop a people centres ASEAN social charter that can enable just work, sustainable livelihoods and universal social protection.

Key Recommendations

We call on our governments to:

  1. Ratify, if not yet ratified, the ILO Conventions on Domestic Workers, on Migrant Workers, on the Right to Organize and Right to Collective Bargaining , the Core Labour Standards, and ensure that appropriate and consistent national legislation is passed and becomes a reality.

  2. Recognize that all workers, irrespective of their nationality or legal status, shall have the right to labour rights, including a right to form and/or join trade unions and collective bargaining, consistent with the international Core Labour Standards.

  3. Fully implement their commitments made at the Potsdam ASEM Labour Ministerial (September 2006) including to the ILO Core Labour Standards, especially in the context of the continuing erosion of formal labour rights, collective bargaining and Trade Union rights in some countries.

  4. Implement more redistributive policies, including minimum wages, and a progressive tax regime, which implies an income ceiling and can decrease inequality, in the context of growing inequalities in wages, income and access to social security in all Asian and European countries.

  5. Address the imbalance between production and social reproduction. Policies for gender equality have to cover both the labour market and the unpaid care economy. We call on European governments to reaffirm their commitments to affordable and accessible public services. We condemn the on-going privatization of social services and call for a reversal. Paid and unpaid care and social reproductive work should be recognized as productive and valuable work.

  6. Put the interests of people before corporate profit and greed. We demand the immediate halt of negotiations for new investment agreements (BITs and FTAs), and the termination of existing ones. We recommend governments that do not have the chance to terminate the agreements, at the very least, to re-negotiate them and exclude investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms. We demand that governments end corporate impunity and impose binding obligations on corporations that prioritize human, economic, environmental, labour and social rights.

  7. Work with social movements and workers’ organizations to develop a people-centred ASEAN social charter that can enable just work, sustainable livelihoods and universal social protection.

  8. Recognize there are human rights abuses related to tourism, commercial, trade and industrial activities, to strengthen solidarity with affected communities and to build alliances to advocate for change. Governments must ensure that human rights are respected and that people can participate in decision-making processes affecting their lives and livelihoods. No development must lead to evictions or displacement of people from their land, natural resources and livelihoods, violating their human rights. Governments must enforce adequate regulations to protect their populations against all kinds of human rights violations.

  9. Ratify the UN Convention on the Protection of Rights and Well Being of Migrant Workers and members of their Families and other relevant conventions as a minimum requirement for protecting the rights, decent work and well-being of migrant workers. Recognize and protect the rights of migrant domestic workers and provide for the protection of their labour and human rights – in consultation with civil society and trade unions.

  10. Standardize the human rights of migrant workers in regional bodies in a way that adheres to and adds value to international human rights standards such as Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families, International Labour Organization, and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This includes a standardization of procedures and processes for labour migration to prevent discrimination based on gender, health, civil status and nationality.

  11. Articulate progressive policies on sexual and reproductive health and rights of migrants and migrant workers, especially women, ensuring individual self-determination of body, sexuality and mobility in the whole process of migration.

  12. Ensure the right of marriage migrants to marriage, citizenship, family, culture and political participation. This includes raising children according one's identity and culture, instead of an imposed assimilation policy.

  13. Recognize, respect and protect diaspora communities by establishing and institutionalizing policies and programmes, (with regular and adequate budgets), including complaint mechanisms and inter-country cooperation, and gender-sensitive services that can protect migrants including marriage migrants from abuse and exploitation.

  14. End the criminalization of migrants and refugees. Implement human rights in dealing with: children, asylum seekers, pregnant women, the elderly, people with disabilities, people with special medical needs or victims of trafficking. Authorities of migrants’ countries of origin shall provide consular assistance and other appropriate support when it is requested by its nationals. Authorities of the countries of origin shall pressure detaining countries to treat detained migrants humanely and lawfully.

  15. Set up an Asia-Europe Tripartite Mechanism for the preparation and development of the Asia-Europe Instrument on Migrant Workers as well as other labour related instruments and policies.

  16. Abolish short-term or fixed duration employment contracts, and if still needed in exceptional situation they should be limited in their use.

  17. Abolish manpower/labour outsourcing and all forms of triangular employment arrangements.

  18. Recognize that human rights defenders, including CSR/TNC compliance monitoring bodies, should issue alerts, lobby companies and governments, raise awareness among the general population and support workers who want to advocate for their rights.

  19. Recognize that trade unions and CSR/TNC monitoring bodies should be encouraged to lobby governments to ensure that trade agreements include guarantees for labour conditions and rights of workers. Ensure mechanisms are mandatory, accountable and transparent and can complement existing laws or enhance them. Develop collaborative mechanisms between all sectors and actors.

  20. Recognize that when governments, ASEM and/or ASEAN have discussions and engagements with investors, trade unions must always be part of the process.

The AEPF9's participants also noted that the peace, security and people's solidarity are the preconditions for Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development.

Key Recommendations

We call on our governments to:

  1. Develop long term solutions to promote peace, human security and sustainable development by addressing the root causes of violent conflicts e.g. non-respect of minorities that prioritize non-violent means of conflict resolution, people-to-people interactions, use of international laws and regional co-operation.

  2. Recognize and address security threats both multilaterally and multi-dimensionally through the United Nations and adhere to principles of international law.

  3. Establish an inter-regional conflict resolution mechanism to develop common visions on foreign policy and security, based on respect for national sovereignty and human rights.

  4. Fully implement UNSC Resolution 1325 that recognizes women are both disproportionately affected by conflict and key actors in promoting peace, reconstruction and reconciliation.

  5. In tackling religious extremism, give special emphasis to the role of education and inter- and intra-convictional/faith dialogues at all levels. Ensure full freedom of expression and information to enable rational debate and understanding.

  6. Enact national legislation to guarantee full and public disclosure of government defence, arms exports and security budgets.

  7. Cut military expenditure that is being funded at the expense of health and education programmes.

  8. Use the Non-Proliferation Treaty as the basis of regional co-operation and take steps to denuclearize Europe and Asia while striving for a nuclear free world.

  9. Take primary responsibility to control the trade and proliferation of arms. Develop and agree transparent and binding mechanisms, overseen by the UN, to control arms imports and exports.

  10. Support of the implementation Cluster Munitions Convention. Support the clearance of Unexploded Ordinance (UXO) and the rehabilitation of affected women, men, children and communities.

  11. Introduce legislation to make the European Code of Conduct on Arms Exports legally binding (with respect to European Union member states) and take steps to negotiate a Code of Conduct (with respect to states in Asia).

  12. Support and protect survivors of the use and effects of weapons of mass destruction. Hold companies responsible for the production of weapons of mass destruction and toxic chemicals to account so that victims are compensated.

  13. Develop and support mechanisms for trauma healing and social reconciliation as part of post-conflict reconstruction. •

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