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Report on the 5th International Assembly

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by Sumithra V. Ananthan

Last month we were invited by Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns to a workshop entitled “Children In the Midst of Corporate Globalization: Issues and Challenges.” Salinlahi is an alliance of organizations and institutions advocating for the rights and welfare of children in Philippines

This workshop was part of the 5th International Assembly of the International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS) held from the 14th-16th November, 2015 at Quezon City, Manila, Philippines. The theme for this Assembly was titled “ For a  Socially Just World, Strengthen the People’s Solidarity and Intensify the Struggle Against Imperialist Plunder, Crisis and War”

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The ILPS is the foremost global formation of mass organizations comprehensively covering all major concerns and issues in the people’s struggle for national and social liberation and promptly issuing analyses, statements and calls to action for the benefit of the broad masses of the people.

The ILPS believes that global issues affect children and that they play significant roles in building societies. For this reason, commission 9 of the ILPS led by Salinlahi, is dedicated to children’s rights against child labor, sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation.

As advocates of children’s rights and welfare, Salinlahi believes that plunder of resources results in destruction of communities and in many cases, death of children and their families. Thus, there is a need to gather advocates of children’s rights to plan for a global call to address this pressing issue. The workshop had the following objectives:

  1. to discuss the effects of resource grabbing to children all over the world
  2. to share best practices of campaign and advocacy in promoting children’s rights and welfare of different child- focused and people’s organizations
  3. to draft workshop resolutions on the defense of children’s rights and welfare to develop a global advocacy on the defense of children’s rights and welfare in the midst of corporate globalization

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I was invited to present under the heading of “Impacts of Displacement, Development Aggression and Statelessness. Excerpts of our VoC documentary entitled “Stateless: Forgotten Children” was screened as well.

The 5th International Assembly was followed by the International Festival of People’s Rights and Struggle held on 17 November 2015 and the People’s Caravan Against APEC was held on 18-19 November 2015.

ILPS Commission 9

(Children’s rights against child labor, sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation)

CHILDREN IN THE MIDST OF NEO-LIBERAL GLOBALIZATION: ISSUES AND CHALLENGES DRAFT WORKSHOP RESOLUTIONS

15 November 2015

The peoples of the world continue to suffer from the impacts of neoliberal globalization. The imposition of anti-people policies such as trade liberalization, deregulation and privatization has turned the life of peoples around the globe very desolate.

Resource grabbing has resulted to massive displacement and has increased landlessness that brought peasants, indigenous peoples and farm workers into further poverty and hunger. It has led to the invisibility of workers brought about by very low wages, lack of social protection, unemployment and underemployment and the lack of job security. All these have exacerbated poverty of the very people who keep our world running: the workers and the peasants. Austerity measures implemented by different states targeted social services leaving the people without land and jobs and with little or no access to health and education services.

Children are not exempted from hunger and poverty, and are in fact the most vulnerable to the devastating effects of neoliberal dictates. Plunder of the world’s resources destroys the lives and livelihood of indigenous and peasant communities, including their children who are forced to engage in labour or enslavement as trafficked child workers.

Wars of aggression and militarization instigated as means to fully realize neoliberal interests in an area or an entire country have reduced children to casualties, victims or fatalities. The wars of aggression have claimed the lives of thousands of children: children of peasants, indigenous peoples, workers and urban poor become targets of repression, too. For many communities, the protection of their children and the lives of their families are foremost among the many considerations, and these situations make them an easy more vulnerable to displacement.

Who will inherit the world? If children survive all these attacks, what world will they inherit?

Advocates for children’s rights and welfare recognize the crucial role of protecting and defending children against destructions and deaths. Children have participated and should continue to participate in actions against environmental destruction, for children’s rights protection and against the impact of neoliberal policies. Children should be part of social movements working to foster a peaceful and decent life.

The future of children should also propel us to continue to organize and mobilize to resist neoliberal globalization. The working class has persevered in defending their motherland

against heightening attacks to their lives and livelihoods. Along the way, international solidarity has been forged between movements and nations aspiring freedom from the claws of imperialist domination.

The International League of Peoples Struggles, a formation of anti-imperialist organizations and institutions from different parts of the world, is strong in its resolve to safeguard children’s lives and protect it from intensifying imperialist attacks. The commission 9 of the ILPS is steadfast in the cause to defy the claws of imperialist domination as its poisons and kills children. The commission 9 resolves that:

  1. It shall institute a mechanism, such as a working group, a secretariat or ad hoc committee that shall lead, coordinate and strengthen the commission;
  2. It shall help in the expansion of the ILPS membership to include organizations and institutions working for children’s rights and welfare and stand firm against neo-liberal globalization and imperialist greed;

The commission further commits itself to the following specific resolutions:

  1. a) Document, gather and consolidate information on the violation of children’s rights and conduct research/es on the displacement of children, child labor, militarization of education and military attacks on schools and communities, among other issues affecting children on the regional and global level;

b)Regular updates and information sharing on different children’s issues and concerns by instituting a communication system, through an e-mail group and social media page of the commission where available resources and information on/of the commission such as an e-brochure, materials on the impacts of land, rivers/ seas and resource grabbing to children all over the world, and a regular annual newsletter;

c)Hold a conference or a consultation on a regional or international level on child labor, mining and the impact of development aggressions to children including displacement, militarization of education and military attacks on schools and communities, among others;

d)Declare the first Saturday of every December as a global day of action for children’s rights and welfare and to highlight children’s participation in the struggle for genuine peace, justice and democracy and liberation against economic and political attacks;

  1. e) a global advocacy/campaign every year until the next ILPS assembly against the socio-economic, political and cultural issues affecting children around the world specifically on issues related to land, rivers/seas and resource grab which gravely affect children and communities;

Part of the global advocacy/ campaign plan is supporting the local campaigns on:

  • –  Ending militarization of education and military attacks on schools in the Philippines, rescinding the Department of Education memorandum 221 series of 2013 and junking of the Oplan Bayanihan, a counter-insurgency program which targets children and civilian communities;
  • –  In Mindanao, Philippines to stop lumad killings, pull out military troops in lumad schools and communities, disband para-military groups formed and supported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and end plunder of resources;
  • –  Stop militarization of communities in the Mekong region to plunder the land, river/sea and other resources for extractive industries, hydropower plants, Special Economic Zones that result to the displacement of peoples from the region;

Participants to the ILPS Commission 9 workshop:

All Nepal Women’s Association, Nepal

Amihan Federation of Peasant Women, Philippines Clt, Hongkong

Center for Women’s Resources, Philippines Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Philippines CONTEND, Philippines

FREN, The Netherlands

GABRIELA Australia, Australia

GABRIELA Philippines, Philippines

GABRIELA Youth, Philippines

Ibon International, Philippines

IP Alliance, Cambodia

Kabiba Alliance for Children’s Concerns, Philippines Kaboronyogan, Philippines

Mekong Youth Assembly Project, Thailand Migrante Melbourne, Australia

Migrante Canada, Canada

Parents Alternative on Early Childhood Care and Development, Philippines Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns, Philippines

Voice of the Children, Malaysia

 

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Sumithra V. Ananthan is the Executive Director of Voice of the Children

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