People’s General Assembly on Development Justice
On the occasion of the President of the United Nations General Assembly’s Special Event towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, civil society organizations from around the world came together to share experiences and demand justice, human rights and accountability. Join us to demand that development be transformed to focus on people, not profits
The People’s General Assembly provided the people’s perspective on current development models and the model of development that people demand of their governments. Speakers from the grassroots organizations and social movements from all the continents came to speak of their experiences of development policies and present challenges for government leaders and officials to address the most pressing issues affecting the wellbeing of the people and the environment.
Saturday, 21 September 2013
Place: Foley Square Park, New York
Organisers: Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, Campaign for People’s Goals for Sustainable Development, Ibon International, Association for Women’s Rights in Development, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, and Center for Women’s Global Leadership
Women’s Leadership, Building People’s Movement for Development Justice
The People’s GA provided the space to share local stories of global problems. The event, which was held at Foley Square Park, engaged the general public to increase awareness for the need to transform development approaches. It was an opportunity for civil society organizations from the global south and global north to come together to deliver stories and experiences and demand justice, human rights and accountability in solidarity of each other’s work. The People’s General Assembly also presented cultural performances and a photo exhibit of the lives of garment workers in Bangladesh and the organizing work against land-grabbing in Cambodia. Furthermore, in solidarity with the work of our members and partners for the International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees, FIRE initiated a flash mob, dance tutorial on the theme of migrant rights.
“The People’s GA was the first attempt to challenge and provide a different forum than the UN General Assembly. Speakers at this forum were really from grassroots organizations and they provided good stories and presentations. The emotion was there at the square and people felt it. We were working to change the development paradigm, to provide a new view. It was a great opportunity for public education.” – Eni Lestari, International Migration Alliance, Indonesia
Learn more about the five foundational shifts of the Development Justice model.
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People’s GA in the news:
- Radio Australia with Caroline Tiliman, 25 September 2013, 14:12 AESThttp://www.radioaustralia.net.au/tokpisin/2013-09-25/wok-mining-i-givim-heve-long-ol-meri-bougainville/1195558
- Radio Australia with Geraldine Coutts: Women from PNG to present ideas at UN meeting 20 September 2013, 9:57 AEST http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/radio/program/pacific-beat/women-from-png-to-present-ideas-at-un-meeting/1193364
- Banglatimes: Wages, not death: Photojournalist Taslima Akhter to bring Bangladeshi garment worker’s struggle to world leaders’ attention http://www.banglatimes.com.bd/national/details/1316.html
- ABS-CBN/TFC/Balitan Amerika: Activists Hold People’s General Assembly, September 24, 2013 http://184.108.40.206/balitangamerica/activists-hold-peoples-general-assembly-%E2%80%A8/
Fiji Woman Appointed General Secretary Of People’s Assembly, Friday, 20 September 2013 http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1309/S00313/fiji-woman-appointed-general-secretary-of-peoples-assembly.htm
Virisila Buadromo – Fiji
Virisila, is a Fijian political activist and former journalist, who is the Executive Director of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM). She continues to advocate for gender equality, legal and political reform, and democracy despite the challenges and threats.
Eni Lestari – Indonesia – Migrant Worker
Eni Lestari is a young Indonesian migrant worker and civil society leader. When the Asian Financial crisis resulted in the loss of land and her families small business, Eni left school along with her dreams to study and became a migrant domestic worker in Hong Kong. She was determined to earn enough money for her siblings to continue their education. When her plans for a four year stay were destroyed by recruitment costs, accumulating debt and dis-honoured contracts, Eni began to organise and demand better conditions for migrant workers. While continuing work as a migrant worker she founded the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Hong Kong (ATKI-HK), Coordinated the campaign United Indonesians Against Overcharging (PILAR), joined the board of the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (GAATW) and the committee of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and became the chairperson of the International Migrants Alliance.
Helen Hakena – Papua New Guinea
Helen Hakena of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, co-founded the Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency (LNWDA) in 1992 to help restore peace to the civil war torn island. Women had been leaders in the opposition to a huge copper mine in Bougainville that led to a ten year conflict. Helen worked at the most grassroots levels to ensure women were central to both peace agreements and development initiatives. She continues to promote women’s rights at the local level despite attacks on women human rights defenders branded as witches.
Taslima Akhter is a photographer and activist who has worked to expose the conditions of garment workers in Bangladesh for several years. When the Rana Building collapsed killing 1,127 workers, mostly women, Taslima used her camera to bear witness to the horrific consequences of unregulated greed and the global demand for cheap labour. She did the same the previous year when fire tore through another garment factory. Her photo of two killed garment workers found embracing in the rubble was featured in Time magazine and worldwide. She was awarded the Dalit prize for best photographer in 2013 as well as several other. She works with the Garment Workers Solidarity Center.
Nim Chray – Cambodia
Nim Chray is a Cambodian woman who is one of many average Cambodian women facing forced eviction from their lands and homes. She lives in Thamar Kaul village and has been told that her village is too close to the airport and so will be destroyed, without compensation. Nim was arrested when she painted SOS on her roof when President Obama visited Cambodia. The threats to the livelihood of her family and community has turned her from a housewife to an activist.
Ee Saraom – Cambodia – Housing Rights
Programmes Coordinator at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), a Cambodian NGO that works to provide pro-poor technical assistance for urban housing and infrastructure and to promote dialogue and raise awareness about urban issues. Ee Sarom is also currently acting as the STT Representative. Before joined STT in February 2009, he has previously worked for Veterans International organisation in rural Kratie province for many years.
Abia Akram – Pakistan –
With a personal experience of physical disability, Abia Akram has been engaged in the activities of Disability Movement since 1997. She is currently working as a Global Coordinator, DPI’s Global Network of Emerging Young Disabled Women Leaders, Coordinator, Commonwealth Young Disabled People’s Forum, Coordinator, National Forum of Women with Disabilities and Director Projects, Special Talent Exchange Program. In the struggle of giving voice to women leaders with disabilities, she has been lobbying with parliamentarians, conducting leadership trainings, At the same time she acquired British Council’s Chevening Scholarship and doing her post-graduation in Gender and International Development from the University of Warwick, UK.
Mila Singson – Philippines – Indigenous peoples community organizer
Mila is comes from the Kankana-ey- Kalinga community, indigenous to Cordillera in the Philippines. Throughout her years of services in organizing, my commitment for advancing women’s rights has been a priority. She has been an advocating gender mainstreaming in government units and agencies and a staunch supporter for the advancement of pro-poor women legislatives (Magna Carta of Women/Children, Anti-Violence against Women and Children, Reproductive Health Rights and others. Currently, she is the Chairperson of Innabuyog-Gabriela. Her work revolves around weaving together the urban and provincial economic, political and social issues of Cordillera.
Michelle Saulon – Philippines – Domestic worker
Born and raised in Quezon City Philippines is now a Domestic worker and an organizer based in New York. She helped establish the program of Kabalikat Domestic Workers Support Network; a program of Philippine Forum, a not-for-profit grassroots organization offering services to Filipinos and the larger immigrant community in New York and New Jersey. A Coordinator for different aspect raging from regional to local campaigns for National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), International Migrants Alliance(IMA), and International Assembly for Migrants and refugees (IAMR4). As a Worker, she would continue to inspire and be inspired with the stories, the struggle of all migrants and be able to promote workers rights through different forms.
Cultural performance by Kinding Sindaw
Kinding Sindaw Melayu Heritage is a nonprofit dance theater created in NYC. Its mission is to assert, reclaim, preserve and recreate the legends, epics, myths and unwritten history of the Philippines.