Mass rally against EU-India FTA at Moreh

Hueiyen News Service

Mass rally against EU-India FTA at Moreh

Imphal, November 27 2010: Hundreds of people participated in a mass rally marched down the streets in Moreh, today in protest against the ongoing EU (European Union)- India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) .

A public meeting in which experts in the subject point out the implications of the agreement for the people of the Northeast region was organized by the Northeast Dialogue Forum with the support of various civil society organisations.

Ramananda Wangkheirakpam of North East People’s Alliance and Aribam Joy Sharma of Forum for Indigenous Perspective Action talked as resource persons in the public meeting held at the Kondong Lairembi ground where the mass rally concluded.

They observed that the FTA which negotiations which have gone through 23 rounds till now will undermine the Northeast’s ability to protect biodiversity – generic varieties of plants to create resilent farming systems.

It could lead to increased costs of commercial seeds which will impinge on food security and livelihood.

Asserting that the EU is pushing for WTO and Intellectual Property provisions, they said that the provisions of the agreement will give an adverse impact to the generic medicine sector particularly ART, anticancer drugs, etc.

An unfair system of patenting will lead to an increase in the prices of essential drugs and medicines, making them inaccessible for large sections of the population.

Minority Women Development Association president Mehrani, Kuki Women Union and Human Right secretary Lucy, Nupi Khunai Chaokhat Lamjing Lup president Y Jyoti, Kha-Nongpok Apunba Nupi Lup president Kh Keinya Leima, ACODOM president RK Surendro, Meetei Counicl Moreh secretary N Inaocha, Manipuri Muslim Council, Moreh president Md Hussain, Muslim Nagar Women Development Association president Inbeda Begum adorned the podium the public meeting.

A memorandum which is to be submitted to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohon Singh was also drafted in the meeting.

It draws the attention of the PM to four points which include, among others, to table a white paper in the floor of the Parliament and discuss the socio-economic and ecological impact of all aspects of the EU-India FTA specially addressing social inequality and discrimination.

The other points which the memorandum sought for immediate action from the PM are to make open and transparent the EU-India FTA,to seek a free and fair prior consent of the people specially farmers, women groups, indigenous peoples, health groups, people’s organisations etc. and setting up of an independent commission to review FTA.

The memorandum expresses serious concern over the ongoing EU-India Free Trade Agreement while highlighting the would-be impact on the critical aspects of the economy and people specially in the northeast region.

The agreement would give a critical impact to the lives of the people of the northeast region where development lags behind the rest of India the memorandum observed, lamenting that the ongoing negotiations are also not open and transparent.

"If an ambitious deal is reached between EU-India, the indigenous people will simply not benefit instead it will undermine their rights," it cautioned the Prime Minister.

source: Hueiyen News