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Hanoi, Vietnam, 9 September 2004

"People’s actions for human security in Asia and Europe"

1. Peace and Security

2. Economic and Social Security

3. Democratisation and People’s Rights

We, over 500 women and men representing people’s organisations from Asian and European countries gathered at the ASEM People’s Forum V held in Hanoi from September 6-9, 2004 under the theme "People’s actions for human security in Asia and Europe"
  • Building on the traditions and values of the Asia Europe People’s Forum as a venue for people, their organisations and social movements to exchange ideas, analysis and common concerns of the effects of the current structure of economic development on the lives, livelihoods, rights and security of the women, men and children in both our regions;
  • Concerned about the increasing militarization of international relations, the weakening of democracies and the attacks on human and social rights. We are concerned that women’s and Indigenous People’s rights and livelihoods are specifically under threat;
  • Recalling and re-emphasizing the declarations of the People’s Forums held in Bangkok (1996), London (1998), Seoul (2000) and Copenhagen (2002);
  • Promoting mutual understanding and people’s joint actions for peace, equitable and sustainable development, democracy and social justice in Asia and Europe;
  • Recognising the growing need to interlink our movements, issues and concerns;
  • Having discussed at the People’s Forum in Hanoi, respecting the diversity and complimentarity of different values and with the aim of developing concrete responses and recommendations;

state the following:

ASEM People’s Forum V calls for fundamental changes in Asia-Europe relations so that the necessary steps can be taken toward establishing a just and equal world where people’s rights, sustainable economic and social development and people-centred security dominate.

1. Peace and Security

In many ASEM countries and parts of some ASEM countries, the escalation of conflicts rooted in social, political, economic, ethnic and religious tensions has led to the curtailment of civil liberties and human rights, further undermining people’s efforts to progress towards greater human security, social justice and democracy.

We will work with Asian and European people’s organisations to

  • Continue to strengthen the co-operation between Asian and European peace and economic justice activists to build and sustain our movement within and across our countries;
  • Work to end the arms race and militarization, including a total ban on weapons of mass destruction; supporting the NPT Review Conference to be held in New York (May 2005); intensify dialogues and exchanges among different peoples from Asia and Europe, promoting mutual understanding, the culture of peace and enhancing people’s participation, particularly women, in conflict resolution;
  • Demand justice for all victims of weapons of mass destruction including people with disabilities;
  • Endorse and support the call for justice for the victims and survivors of nuclear weapons, Agent Orange and ’depleted’ uranium.
We call on ASEM governments to contribute to world peace and security through preventing war, rejecting all kinds of use of force or threats to use force in inter-state relations, through disarmament, the promotion of conflict prevention and the peaceful solutions of conflicts on the basis of international laws and respect for the independence and sovereignty of nations; To progress towards this end we call upon ASEM governments to
  • Reduce military expenditure which should instead be spent on health, education and human welfare;
  • Encourage the public disclosure of their defence and security budgets;
  • Stop waging wars of aggression and using weapons that cause multiple and inter-generational disabilities, such as Agent Orange or ’depleted uranium’, and formulate and implement laws in relation to compensation for those already affected;
  • End the current military involvement in Iraq;
  • Recognise and accept active citizen’s and people’s organisations as key actors in addressing conflict and facilitate their participation in the process of conflict resolution;
  • Repeal national legislation and policies introduced under the pretext of "the War against Terrorism" which imposes restrictions on citizens’, including migrant workers, legitimate rights and interests, victimises Muslim communities and peaceful movements;
  • Ensure due process in criminal justice systems for suspected ’terrorists’ including an end to detention without trial;
  • Ensure respect for fundamental rights on personal privacy as recognized by international laws;
  • Ensure respect for the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and political prisoners, as recognised by international laws, agreements and covenants;
  • Ratify and implement all UN Conventions related to People with Disabilities, including the draft convention on the promotion and protection of the rights and dignity of People with Disabilities;
  • Systematically and comprehensively report on the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), in consultation with children.

2. Economic and Social Security

Asian and European economies are undergoing disturbing changes that are creating human insecurity, a phenomenon characterised by the ’race to the bottom’. In many Asian and European countries, citizens, including migrants, are denied their fundamental rights to essential services. Transferring of control to the private sector is increasingly being encouraged and supported, generally leading to decreased access and increased vulnerability for millions of women, men and children across Asia and Europe. Labour restructuring in both regions has transformed workers, including migrant workers, into flexible, substitutable, and disposable commodities. Women and child workers are most vulnerable in this environment.

EU and WTO rooted agricultural policies, subsidies and agreements that favour corporate agribusiness are having severely detrimental effects on the lives and livelihoods of millions of small-scale agricultural producers across Asia and Europe.

We will work with Asian and European people’s organisations to promote the interests and rights of farmers, fisherfolk, migrant workers, people with disabilities, women, children, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities and workers;

To do this we will

  • Promote human security, poverty elimination, the right to Health, Education, Food and Water for All;
  • Promote the right to sustainable and decent work;
  • Promote sustainable agricultural and rural development based on the principles of food sovereignty;
  • Protest against unjust international economic order which is leading to a loss in national sovereignty, growing social disparities and environmental destruction;
  • Struggle against unfair trade practices and agreements such as Agreement on Agriculture and Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights which are endangering the lives of millions of peasants, workers and indigenous peoples in both regions;
  • Develop and promote people-centred approaches to trade and investment, including public/public and public/community partnerships.

We call on ASEM governments to

  • Enhance economic co-operation which promotes equitable, sustainable and people-centred development, reduces the gap between the rich and the poor, supports poverty alleviation, respects state economic sovereignty and human economic-social security;
  • Strengthen the role and responsibility of their governments in poverty alleviation, in providing accessible, equitable and quality health care, education and universal access to water; ensure that essential services are in public control;
  • Reject the provisions of GATS and the July 2004 WTO framework agreed in Geneva, which are detrimental to people-centred sustainable and equitable development;
  • Position food safety, sovereignty and access to local food at the centre of their agricultural policies in order to achieve food security for all. ASEM should ensure the end of agricultural dumping through all kinds of subsidies related to exports that affect small-farmers’ livelihood in both regions;
  • Recognise that environment and security are inextricably linked to sustainable development and that it is essential to develop institutions and approaches to governance in this context;
  • Ratify, respect and realise ILO Core Labour Standards, including ILO Convention 97 and 143 and the UN Convention on the protection of all Migrant Workers and their families and integrate them into national legislation in supporting equal treatment for all workers including migrants who are documented and undocumented, formal and informal sector and homeworkers;
  • Fully implement commitments to CEDAW, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development and apply a critical gender analysis on the impact of economic reforms;
  • Adopt and implement comprehensive legislation with respect to the rights and needs of people with disabilities;
  • Ensure the protection of the lives and livelihoods of ethnic minorities;
  • Submit ASEM related trade and investment agreements and policies to public and national parliamentary scrutiny;
  • Ensure that the AEBF becomes a mechanism for supporting socially and economically sustainable and equitable patterns of trade and investment.

3. Democratisation and People’s Rights

We believe that respect for human rights and self-determination and the development and strengthening of open and participatory democracies form the basis for sustainable economic and social development both nationally and internationally.

Democracy has many components and varies from society to society. However, there are some key principles which we feel are essential to the promotion of a social and political fabric which can be the foundation for sustainable economic and social development.

We will work with Asian and European peoples’ organisations to:

  • Build a strong active citizen’s organisations based on a wide degree of public participation and facilitate exchanges between them including at the grassroots level;
  • Deepen the process of democratization in active citizens’ organisations to be genuinely plural and inclusive;
  • Develop new institutions in both regions which can both deliver basic democratic rights and strengthen people’s participation in decisions that affect their lives so contributing to deeper and more participatory democracy;
  • Recognise the particular barriers preventing people with disabilities, especially women, in exercising their rights and accordingly ensure the provision of the necessary accessibility and support for them to participate in people’s movements;
  • Closely collaborate with the media to promote the goals agreed in this statement.

We call on ASEM governments to:

  • Reaffirm their commitment to building strong participatory democratic societies based on the widest degree of people’s participation;
  • Use the opportunity of their political dialogue to promote and respect human rights, participatory democracy and promote gender equality;
  • Take all necessary measures to end trafficking in women and children;
  • Ensure respect for the freedom of association, expression and assembly;
  • Establish mechanisms for the redress of and reparation for victims and survivors of human rights violations;
  • Ensure respect for and protection of indigenous peoples’ rights and cultures;
  • Develop a dialogue between Asia and European governments on the role of participatory local government in promoting sustainable development and democratic services in practice;
  • Ensure all children, parents and communities are fully aware of children’s rights as expressed in the CRC;
  • Fully support children by including children’s issues and views in all outcome documents of local, national, regional and international events regarding children.

We continue to call for the development of a strong just and equitable social dimension to all aspects of the ASEM process. We call on ASEM to establish, following appropriate consultation, by ASEM6, a Forum which can further enable people and People’s Organisations, including Trade Unions, to contribute to the building of a new Asia-European partnership and interaction with the official ASEM process.

We call upon all people’s organisations in Asia and Europe to strengthen their linkages and co-operation, and join us in this common struggle for a better ASEM, for human security in Asia and Europe, for peace, equitable and sustainable development, democracy, equality of peoples and between women and men and social progress in both our regions and the world over.

Following the ASEM People’s Forum V we confirm our willingness to further strengthen the ties between Vietnamese people and people’s organisations with social movements and active citizen’s organisations in Asia and Europe.

Finally, we thank the Vietnamese people, people’s organisations and hosts and express our solidarity in their continuing efforts for a peaceful and democratic society and equitable and sustainable social development.

Hanoi, Vietnam September 9th, 2004

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