OWINFS PRESS RELEASE: 10 years after Seattle, WTO protests worldwide, no WTO expansion, Korean activists detained

28 November, 2009

10 years after Seattle,
WTO protests worldwide, no WTO Expansion
At Geneva Ministerial free speech suppressed, Korean activists detained

Saturday 28th November, 2009; 1:30pm. (Geneva)
Members of the global network Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) held a press briefing this morning to object the undemocratic detention of Korean activists coming to Geneva, and to demand their immediate release. OWINFS also introduced the objectives of mobilizations around the WTO ministerial in Geneva and around the world, including the mobilizations in India, Indonesia, Korea, Europe, and the United States.
Yoon Geum Sum, from the Korean Women Peasant Association, La Via Campesina, said: “three members of the Korean delegation were detained at the Geneva airport upon their arrival, forced to be naked and searched all over their bodies. This is a violation of human rights and a criminalisation of social movements. Our demand is their immediate release and an apology from the Swiss government”.
Olivier de Marcellus from Coordination Climate and Social Justice, added that “the Coordination Group-Anti the WTO 2009 is scandalized by the detention of the Korean delegates at the airport. Only two months ago, the local authorities argued that WTO should stay in Geneva, because here it was possible to protest democratically!!”.
Lori Wallach from Public Citizen USA introduced mobilisations around the world by saying “Ten years after Seattle, as global justice activists worldwide have built ongoing campaigns of protest and lobbying at home to hold their governments accountable, there still is not WTO expansion. But there also is not yet WTO turnaround. The existing WTO rules implement a model of corporate-led globalization that have been widely discredited by the global economic crisis, yet 100-plus WTO countries remain locked into this outdated, damaging system. WTO turnaround is the global movements’ current challenge”.
Hanim Lutfiyah from Third World Network, Indonesia stated that “Agriculture and food are human rights and not to be considered as a trade commodity; they are the foundations of the livelihoods and sustainability of millions of people around the world and they should be out of the WTO. We hope that the results and conclusion of the WTO ministerial conference would reflect the aspiration of the majority poor and peasant interests”.
In this regards, Afsar Jafri from Focus on the Global South, India  added that “The Indian social movements will not accept a position of the Indian government on agriculture that will jeopardize more employment and farmers’ livelihoods, food sovereignty, and weaken safeguards in case of import surges”.
Alexandra Strickner from ATTAC Austria/Seattle to Brussels network stressed that “the current global crises (finance, climate, food, energy) is a consequence of an economic model promoted by failed institutions of which the WTO is a key one. Despite this, the European governments continue to do business as usual by promoting further trade expansion, via the WTO, and EU FTAs. Resistance against these policies has grown in Europe with an increasing number of social movements and civil society groups calling for a new economic model, which puts social and climate justice, equity, and democracy at its heart”.