Peoples Forum Against the ADB

Press Release: 6 May 2006, Hyderabad

WE'VE EXPOSED THE ADB; PEOPLES FORUM


E'VE EXPOSED THE ADB; PEOPLES FORUM

The Peoples Forum against ADB concluded its activities with a 'Hyderabad pledge' to support peoples movements across Asia in their efforts to reclaim democracy, sovereignty and self-determination. The Forum also resolved to strive towards democratising the state so that it serves and responds to the aspirations and priorities of its people. The day began with a plenary on militarisation and development with speakers from Manipur, Nagaland, Jharkand, Chattisgarh and Orrisa. This was followed by a film screening and cultural activities performed by activists from across India and Asia. Films screened included KP Sasi's 'A Valley refuses to die' on the Narmada issue and 'Expressway' on the Mumbai-Pune? express highway.

'In North-East? India the Government increasingly relies on the military to protect the implementation of development projects, many of which are financed by IFIs', said Jitn Yumnan from the North East Civil Society Initiative on IFIs based in Manipur. Citing the example of Mapiticel Dam in Manipur he added, 'The deployment of the military to protect the dam has led to grave violations of the rights of local communities. The problem is further complicated because it is impossible to get justice for the victims given the impunity the army enjoys. But neither the military nor IFIs can destroy our spirit; we will expose the deep links between the military and development'.

Zulaikha Jabin from Nadi Ghati Morcha in Chattisgarh spoke about a different kind of violence perpetrated on women by the development model. 'Industries are forcibly taking over agricultural land with state and police support. In Chattisgarh a substantive percentage of agricultural labour is women and the intrusion of agri-business into our land has led to loss of livelihoods, increasing cost of living and distress migration'.

'It is only by protesting we can demilitarize societies and strengthen the process of democratization', said Sandeep Pandey of the National Alliance of Peoples Movements.

'The Peoples Forum came to Hyderabad with a mission to expose the ADB and we've accomplished that', said Souparna Lahiri of the Peoples Forum. 'President Kuroda was unable to provide any answers to the questions we raised. Reports from the AGM indicate that the ADB will continue to focus on the free-market model as the answer for development issues - this further underlines the point we've made consistently over the last 4 days - that this institution is un-reformable'. It is also shocking that the ADB's Auditor General had the audacity to tell civil society groups that the ADB can never be corruption free', he added.

The groups resolved to take the message of the 'Hyderabad pledge' to various parts of India and Asia. The work plan from Hyderabad includes strengthening peoples rights to environmental and livelihood resources and ensuring that those who depend on these resources have the first right to govern them. The group also pledged to halt the intrusion of IFIs in their communities, economies and institutions, and work towards demilitarisation.

===========================================================================
For more information or to arrange an interview with any members of the Peoples Forum against the ADB, please call Benny Kuruvilla (bennyk@focusweb.org) (91-9820181191) or Ravi Rebbapragada (91-9848195937)