*Outraged over signing away women’s human rights on Women’s Day*
*Say this is not a comprehensive, progressive trade agreement women want*
07 March 2018
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Embargoed Till 7.00 A.M Bangkok Time
Over 50 feminist organisations and allies from ten TPP countries have signed on a statement to condemn signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on 8th March, International Women’s Day in Santiago, Chile. Civil society is outraged that governments have decided to not only proceed with the CPTPP despite all its criticism and fundamental lack of public, citizen’s review, but is signing away women’s human rights on the same day that we celebrate it.
On women’s day, the world remembers and celebrates the struggles of women against patriarchy, authoritarian regimes, violence, and neo-liberal market fundamentalism. “Yet on this very day, the TPP governments are determined to humiliate women’s struggles and movements by pursuing an economic agenda that signs away the rights of women, creates conditions to exploit our labour, privatise our public services, deregulates our market and silence our voices,” said Diyana Yahaya, Programme Officer, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD).
The CPTPP in its current form puts power and privilege in the hands of large multinational corporations and the wealthiest few. It requires countries to treat foreign companies in the same way they treat local ones, pushing women, who are the majority of small scale, subsistence farmers, to compete against huge agro-businesses. With the tightened intellectual property rights, it prohibits seed sharing amongst farmers, impacting women who are the custodian of seeds, forcing them out of their farms and the local economy.
Misun Woo, Regional Coordinator, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) said, “Governments’ determination to sign the CPTPP, despite the constant call for civic engagement, transparency and independent human rights and environmental impact analysis, is a dangerous indicator of plutocracy. It is masked with a preamble that mentions gender equality, labour rights and other good words but, for instance, still with the investor-state dispute settlements intact. We demand the governments of CPTPP to withdraw from signing the trade deal and demonstrate their unflinching commitment to democracy ”
Feminist organisations and allies demand CPTPP governments to listen to the demands of their citizens, and take a bold first step to resist the interests of unaccountable yet powerful multinational corporations or few wealthy states. The very one way to do so is to withdraw from signing the disguising CPTPP on this International Women’s Day.
Read the statement and list of signatories here
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