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Asian Peoples' Resolution against Liberalization and Privatization of Public Services

Endorsed by the participants of the "Asia Social & People's Movements Assembly", 15th June 2004, Seoul, Korea:

After the economic crisis of 1990's, countries in Asia actively adopted restructuring policies enforced by the World Bank and IMF. As a result, Asia became completely immersed in the neoliberal order, and there has been wide spread privatizations because of these neoliberal policies.

Neoliberal privatization and liberalization policies deteriorate public interest and deprive the people of their right to access public services. However, the IMF and the World Bank, and now the WTO and other free trade agreements are enforcing liberalization of all public services including education, healthcare, culture, state utilities and water. In particular, the GATS negotiations are being 'revived' once again by developed countries, furthermore attacking public services.

We have already seen the power of the resistance of the people at the 2003 WTO Ministerial, against the neoliberal privatization and liberalization policies. It is being proven once again that the WTO is not merely an international organization that 'coordinates' international trade, but is an institution that gives unlimited freedom to transnational capital and commercializes all parts of life.

Thus, the resistance of the people against neoliberalism continues, and struggles against it in the region is ever more getting stronger. The struggles against liberalization of education, culture, healthcare and state utilities in Korea, Japan, Thailand and all Asian countries prove that the people are not relenting to neoliberalism, but at the same time, emphasize that stronger solidarity is needed among the peoples in Asia.

Activists and workers from many countries in Asia have gathered in the Asia Social and People's Movements Assembly of June 2004, in Seoul, Korea, to share our experiences against neoliberal liberalization and privatization. In face of the destructive policies of neoliberal globalization, we seek to strengthen the solidarity of Asian peoples and propose the following:

1. We strongly state that education, healthcare, culture, water and core state utilities should not be subject to profiteering of transnational capital. We will struggle to decapacitate the strategies of capital to privatize services through the WTO GATS and its requests and offers.

2. During the GATS General Council scheduled to take place from 24th June, we will deliver a joint statement on public services and send it to the WTO Secretariat. We will also mobilize various actions against the General Council during 20th to 26th June, against the negotiations that will take place in Geneva. We will also make our voices be heard during the 6th WTO Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong, and we will undertake struggles to defunct the WTO Ministerial.

3. We recognize that the struggles against liberalization and privatization that are taking place in each country are the one and same struggle, and we send solidarity to all these struggles. We will continue to strengthen international solidarity.

15th June, 2004


Asia Social & People's Movements Assembly
Filed Under: Korean | Press Release | Social Movement | WTO

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