Morung Express, Nagaland (India)
Mass rally cum public meet against India-EU FTA
Newmai News Network
6 August 2011
Imphal | A mass rally cum public meeting in protest against EU-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was held Saturday at the Indo-Myanmar border town of Moreh (Manipur) under the aegis of Hill Tribals’ Council (HTC) and Meitei Council, Moreh (MCM).
The rally participated by over 500 people including students, women and community organizations and business community kicked off at 8 am Saturday from Galngam Lentol and proceeded along Chengjapao road via Moreh bus parking, Moreh market before terminating at Ima Kondong Lairembi Haraobung where a public meeting was organized.
The public meeting deliberated on the demerits and possible negative impact on the lives of the people following the application of India-EU FTA. The meeting further delved on rights violations by the FTA and denounced the same vehemently.
At the end of the public meeting the organizing committee submitted a memorandum for the prime minister of India and a copy was also forwarded to the leader of opposition of the Parliament. The charter of demands in the memorandum sought a debate on the India-Euro FTA in the Parliament at the earliest and that India-EU should seek free, fair and prior consent of the people of the region as endorsed by the UN in its ILO Convention 107, UN Declaration on Human Rights of the indigenous people and others before taking up any trade agreement related to land, mountain, forest, water, etc. which are traditionally owned by the indigenous people.
The charter of demands also sought for the clarification on the link between trade and non trade issues such as political conflict and human rights issues as violation of human rights in the region is grave. There should be a strong mechanism to ensure social and environmental standard, the memorandum noted.
Placards such as “free trade: nothing free about it,” India-EU FTA: trading away our lives,” “our lives are not on sale,” “people before profit,” FTA: a threat to peoples’ freedom,” “we demand free, fair and prior informed consent,” etc. were displayed at the mass rally.
General secretary of Moreh Trade and Chamber of Commerce Surender Singh Paleja, president of Kuki women union and human rights Chinneivah Haokip, general secretary of Tamil Sangam Moreh Rabichandran, Dr Homen Thangjam, general secretary of Meitei Council Moreh Inaocha Meitei were the presidium members of the public meeting. President and secretary of Hill Tribals’ Council Moreh Zangmang Haokip and Ginsei respectively also participated at the meeting in which Thomas of CSD delivered the keynote address.