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People's SAARC Memorandum 2011 submitted to the 17th official SAARC process

November 26, 2013, at 12:00 am

 Created: 26 November 2013

The Peoples' SAARC delegates assembled in Maldives have submitted the "Memorandum" to the 17th official SAARC Summit being held in Addu City through the office of the President of the Maldives.

The memorandum is a common aspiration primed by the representatives of various civil society organizations in the region who have created a parallel process called "Peoples' SAARC". The memorandum reflects the harsh reality in connection with the status of security, peace, justice,  human rights, development, environment, refugees, migration, gender among others in South Asia region from peoples' perspective. The memorandum calls upon the SAARC as a regional grouping and the member states to seize the opportunity towards engaging themselves in serious dialogues for envisioning a region fit for over one fifth of the world's population, a majority of which is consistently denied of rights and deprived of basic standard of living.

The memorandum is a follows:

 

Memorandum 

People's SAARC – A South Asian Civil Society Platform Presented to the 17th SAARC Summit, 

Addu City, Maldives 10-11 November 2011 

 

The Context 

The seventeenth official SAARC Summit is taking place at a time when South Asian states are beginning to look inwards to realise the region's immense political, economic and diplomatic potentials. This is reflected in a number of initiatives undertaken by the SAARC countries to forge closer alliances to harness these potentials. The recent developments for the resolution of bilateral disputes between SAARC countries including India-Bangladesh, India-Pakistan, Afghanistan-Pakistan, are certainly encouraging and signal the SAARC states’ willingness to move beyond the age-old divisions to work with each other as regional partners for the growth and progress of the countries in engagement.

While the agenda of economic and social development might have moved up as a priority item for the SAARC countries, South Asian states, at the same time, continue to veer towards their aspirations for superior military might. This prompts them to scale up their military budget, diverting resources away from developmental goals, thereby compromising the basic living standards of a large section of the region’s population. A region that houses 23% of the total world population contributes less than 3 percent to the global GDP and houses 400 million of the world’s poor. As a region, South Asia can hardly afford to undertake projects that undermine the well-being and development of its people. 

We, at the Peoples’ SAARC, a parallel process to the official SAARC aimed at presenting the South Asian civil societies’ collective voices on most pressing regional issues, have convened a series of country processes to evolve consensus on the future direction of the SAARC process, and consolidated the outcomes of these country processes into this regional Civil Society Memorandum which is forwarded to the official 17th SAARC Summit process for urgent consideration. We believe the SAARC process should be more pro-people and committed to eradication of poverty and injustices through regional developmental process. 

Some Areas of Hope  

While there are some positive developments, the region is also bogged down by a series of actions, especially those taken by the states, and events, that bear negatively on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights, including right to life, right to equality and access to and control over basic services. These actions and events seek to hinder and thwart the realisation of the massive potential of the region as a democratic, progressive, economically developed, peaceful and stable society. We express our concern at these developments and point these out as follows to urge the SAARC body and the member governments to address them on a priority basis.

Our Demands 

We, the members of social movements, civil society organizations, labour unions, peasant movements, academics, other working people’s organizations and women’s groups from across South Asia forward the following demands to the heads of the state meeting in Addu City in Maldives for the 17th SAARC Summit on Nov 10-11, 2011: 

Thank you,

 

Dr. Arjun K. Karki

Peoples' SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu, Nepal

Tel: +9771 4004507, Fax: +97714004508

URL: http://www.peoplesaarc.org/                                    

Mr. Ahmed Nizam

Maldives NGO Federation

2nd FL -G. Uthurubin, Alikilegefaanu Magu,

Male’ – Republic of Maldives  Tel: +960 3345818, Fax: +960 3345817