People Over Profit Network Closing Statement
The People Over Profit Network, a global campaign network of people’s
organizations and non-governmental organizations that resists corporate plunder
and neoliberal trade and investment, congratulates all the organizations of
Southeast Asia for holding the 2019 ASEAN Peoples Forum (APF) in Thailand.
Amid the attempt of state actors, particularly of Thailand and Indonesia
to sabotage this year’s APF, people’s organizations (POs) and civil society
organizations (CSOs) remain determined to reveal the common realities and
struggles of the peoples in Southeast Asia. Democratic spaces are shrinking
because rising authoritarianism has perpetrated alarming cases of enforced
disappearances, extrajudicial killings, criminalization, and illegal arrests of
activists. Governments heighten threats to shut down people’s organizations
while communities fighting for their rights to lands and resources are under
deliberate and relentless attacks.
Military rule continues to plague Burma and Mindanao, Philippines with
de facto martial law in Central Visayas while colonialist and militarist
aggression targets Indigenous communities in West Papua. Even during the APF,
Indonesian state agents have harassed West Papuan rights defenders as well as
organizations who stand in solidarity with their struggle. The onslaught of
neoliberal and fascist attacks which aim to silence peoples’ assertions of
their rights have killed hundreds of human rights defenders across Southeast
Asia. These attacks further serve the neoliberal agenda of trade and investment
in the interests of the corporate elite, especially for dominant monopoly
capitalist powers such as US and Japan, and rising interests of China to
intensify the plunder of resources, exploit and oppress peoples, and worsen
both poverty and ecological crisis.
This situation in Southeast Asia calls for our movements, POs and CSOs
to assert our peoples’ rights and strengthen our united front with our
organized and collective power at community and national levels to end fascist
attacks and corporate plunder.
Indeed, we look to the examples of continued peoples’ assertions in the
region. The Southern Peasant Federation of Thailand (SPFT) has been fighting
against systemic land grabbing schemes. West Papuan activists and rights
defenders have been resisting US-backed Indonesian colonization, mining
extractivism and rampant rights violations. Karen groups and other movements in
Burma have been fighting against resource plunder and military junta. Rights
defenders in the Philippines including workers, farmers and Indigenous Peoples
continue to struggle against impunity and strongly urge an impartial UN probe
to investigate the brutal war on drugs, extrajudicial killings and human rights
While facing threats of resource plunder, Indigenous Lumad are pursuing
their right to self-determination through alternative grassroots institutions
such as community-based education and sustainable agricultural practices.
Members of the Asian Peasant Coalition in the Philippines, Indonesia and
Thailand are launching land occupation campaigns as a concrete way of
reclaiming their rights to land and collectively implementing sustainable
We enjoin POs and movements to advance people-to-people solidarity;
share lessons from our struggles and strengthen people’s assertions in our
communities. We challenge governments to address people’s demands and
assertions, which if remain unheeded would only drive peoples to strengthen
resistance even further.
We continue our resistance to fascist attacks and corporate plunder by
strengthening peoples’ movements. Our hope comes in harnessing our movements’
energies to create structural changes in the region through our collective and
militant assertion, vis-a-vis prevailing neoliberalism in ASEAN governments’
economic policy, global powers’ struggles for influence in the region, and
attacks on people’s fundamental freedoms.
Realizing the peoples’ right as primary decision-makers in economic and
development policy and holding the state and corporate actors accountable for
rights violations should be the primary agenda, over creating deceptive layer
of mechanisms and divisive “new” modes of integration in the region, which will
only complement official ASEAN processes.
Stop the attacks! Defend peoples’ rights!
Resist fascist attacks and corporate plunder!
Southeast Asia is not for sale, we are not for sale!
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