Resolutions of the First General Assembly
[Adopted on July 6, 2011 in Manila, Philippines]
RESOLUTION EXPRESSING SOLIDARITY WITH THE HEALTH WORKERS’ STRUGGLE AGAINST KAISER PERMANENTE’S PROFIT-DRIVEN CUTBACKS
Whereas, Kaiser (a not-for-profit corporation), while making an average profit of US$10 million a day, has planned to cut the workers healthcare and retirement benefits and has refused to agree on safe staffing ratios;
Whereas, Kaiser is paying millions of dollars to their executive officers while taking away from those who provide patient care;
Whereas, this union workforce is a majority immigrant workforce fighting against the proposed changes that will erode the gains union health workers have demanded and won over decades of struggle;
Whereas, the registered nurses at Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center have held two strikes since March 2011 and during the second strike, the union nurses and their supporters were violently dispersed by Kaiser management;
Whereas, the nurses have voted to authorize a third strike;
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) supports the Registered Nurses at Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center and the Kaiser Southern California health educators, dietitians, social workers, therapists and others with the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) in their fight for a fair contract.
Further, IWA stands in solidarity with these health workers exercising their rights to collective struggle as unionized workers. IWA calls on its member organizations to send statements of solidarity to the NUHW workers before their next strike at the end of July 2011 if a collective bargaining agreement has not yet been reached. We call on others who support immigrants rights in Los Angeles to express their solidarity with these health workers in word and in action on the picket lines.
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE CALL TO IMMEDIATELY FREE ALL KURDISH POLITICAL PRISONERS
Whereas, as part of a campaign against the people who are fighting for democracy and liberation, more than 2,800 Kurdish activists and political representatives have been imprisoned during the past few months in Turkey;
Whereas, many of them are activists belonging to the Kurdish women’s movement including elected mayors, like Leyla Güven, and members of the Parliament, like Selma Irmak;
Whereas, since the general elections in Turkey in June 2011, six representatives of the Block for Labour, Democracy and Freedom are still illegally being kept in prison although they have been elected as MPs by the majority vote of the people;
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) condemns these attacks on freedom, democracy and human rights, which are meant to obstruct a political solution of the Kurdish question and aimed at oppressing the organized political will of women, democratic forces and the Kurdish people in Turkey even further. We declare our solidarity with all Kurdish political prisoners and demand their immediate release!
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE CALL TO ABOLISH THE EUROPEAN UNION ‘RETURN DIRECTIVE’
Whereas, migrant workers across Europe continue to face threats to their jobs and human rights with the continued implementation of the Directive of Return passed by the European Union (EU) in 2008.The excessive and discriminatory immigration measures primarily target undocumented immigrants, who can be imprisoned, without trial, for up to 18 months following their arrest, and banned from re-entry for up to five years;
Whereas, the EU return directive denies migrant workers their basic human rights, including the right to due process and violates international law;
Whereas, under the directive, thousands have been arrested, detained and maltreated for the past years. Detainees have reported inhuman conditions at the deportation centers, which international human rights groups have confirmed and denounced;
Whereas, governments have long condemned this action by the European Union, including those of labor sending countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. These countries “reject any attempt to criminalize irregular migration and the adoption of restrictive immigration policies in particular against the most vulnerable sectors of society, namely, women and children”;
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) condemns the continued implementation of the European Union Return Directive and calls for the abolition of this restrictive and discriminatory immigration policy.
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE FILIPINO WORKERS’ DEMAND FOR A LEGISLATED PHP125 ACROSS-THE-BOARD NATIONWIDE WAGE INCREASE
Whereas, for more than nine years now, Filipino workers have not had a substantial wage increase;
Whereas, the previous administration of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2001-2010) implemented a “wage freeze” policy, which froze wages at a level far from the cost of living;
Whereas, the workers suffered greatly from the spate of price hikes brought about by the economic crisis and were pushed deeper into poverty and hunger;
Whereas, the gap between the daily cost of living and the prevailing daily minimum wage continues to widen under the Benigno Aquino III administration, as it continues to implement the optional measure of the regional wage boards instead of a legislated wage hike. The board’s optional measure suggests measly and insulting wage adjustments;
Whereas, the Philippine government also allows numerous exemptions to wage board orders. To pacify workers, it also gives away inadequate subsidy and implements dole out programs which are band-aid solutions to the problem and do not really address the root cause;
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) supports the Filipino workers’ just demand for a legislated PhP125 across-the-board nationwide wage increase.
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE CONSTRUCTION OF A BIO-ETHANOL PLANT IN ISABELA, PHILIPPINES WHICH THREATENS TO PHYSICALLY AND ECONOMICALLY DISPLACE THOUSANDS OF FARMERS
Whereas, at least 11,000 hectares of farmland in San Mariano, Isabela, Philippines is currently being converted into a bio-ethanol plant under a joint venture contact between Japanese-owned Green Future Innovations Inc. and JGC Corp., Taiwanese-owned GCO, and the Philippine Bioethanol and Energy Investments Corp.;
Whereas, said to be the biggest renewable energy project in the Philippines, this project received the support of the local government of Isabela and is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2012;
Whereas, the plant is expected to produce 54 million liters of ethanol, estimated to be worth US$27.5 million and 100,000 MW of energy annually;
Whereas, the project failed to consider the farmers who have been tilling the land for years and who now face the threat of physical and economic displacement;
Whereas, the project would turn land-owning farmers into tenants under a 15-year contract growing agreement for sugarcane (source of bio-ethanol). The San Mariano farmers fear that land would not be returned to them once the contract has expired;
Whereas, in contrast to what the local government has been saying – that the sugarcane plantations will only cover idle lands not previously planted with food crops – local testimonies revealed that the lands being converted are currently being cultivated and were traditionally planted with rice, corn and banana;
Whereas, the companies, with the help of the local government, has resorted to various schemes such as anomalous land titling, foreclosures of the farmers’ lands by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and cancellations of Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs);
Whereas, a fact finding mission conducted in the area noted the presence of soldiers in places where opposition to the project is strong;
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) supports the campaign against the construction of a bio-ethanol plant in Isabela, Philippines which threatens to physically and economically displace thousands of farmers.
RESOLUTION DENOUNCING THE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS DONE BY THE AGENTS OF CENTRAL MINDANAO UNIVERSITY AGAINST THE BTL FARMERS OF BUKIDNON, PHILIPPINES AND SUPPORTINGTHE FARMERS’ STRUGGLE FOR LAND AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
Whereas, the inhabitants of Buffalo, Tamaraw and Limus (BTL) in Bukidnon, Philippines have been fighting for their right to agricultural land since the 1980s;
Whereas, Central Mindanao University (CMU) has long been trying to take these lands from the 800 families occupying the area, wanting to displacing them from their homes and sources of livelihood;
Whereas, the Davao Venture Corporation (DAVCO) has similarly been intending to utilize the area to expand their pineapple and banana plantations;
Whereas, after negotiations, the CMU administration “allowed” the farmers to continue tilling the land for three years with a PhP1 (US$0.023) per hectare fee. Once the contract expires, the farmers will be forcibly relocated;
Whereas, in June 2011, the farmers staged a protest camp “Kampuhan sa Mag-uuma” in front of the CMU campus. Armed men hired by the university administration, however, violently dispersed the peacefully assembled farmers. They were indiscriminately fired at and beaten, leaving six people, including two women, wounded;
Whereas, the BTL farmers continue to experience harassment and intimidation: armed men who introduced themselves as members of the Regional Police Intelligence recently came to the communities to try to intimidate the residents into leaving;
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) denounces the human rights violations done by the agents of Central Mindanao University against the BTL farmers of Bukidnon, Philippines and support the farmers’ struggle for land and social justice.
Further, IWA expresses solidarity with the BTL Women’s Association and shall make their struggle known to the global community.
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION AND SELF-DETERMINATION BY JOINING THE GROWING INTERNATIONAL BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS MOVEMENT AGAINST ISRAEL
Whereas, for decades, the Palestinian people have been denied their fundamental rights of freedom, equality and self-determination by Israel through colonization and military occupation;
Whereas, despite the condemnation of the international community, Israel continues to violate basic principles of human rights;
Whereas, in 2005, Palestinian civil society started a global campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and respects Palestinian rights. BDS is a strategy that recognizes the effective role of ordinary citizens in the Palestinian struggle for justice. BDS encourages people from all over the world to launch broad boycotts, to implement divestment initiatives, and to demand sanctions against Israel, until it meets its obligations under international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in United Nations Resolution No. 194.
Whereas, the BDS highlights the three broad sections of the Palestinian people: the refugees, those under military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Palestinians in Israel;
The International Women’s Alliance supports the Palestinian people’s struggle for national liberation and self-determination and joins the growing international BDS movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
RESOLUTION TO CAMPAIGN FOR THE DIFFERENT GOVERNMENTS TO RATIFY THE NEW INTERNATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZATION CONVENTION FOR DECENT WORK FOR DOMESTIC WORKERS
Whereas, considering that the number of migrant workers worldwide is increasing, and that a conservative estimate puts the number of women at 50% of this number;
Whereas, the major jobs made available to them is domestic work and related jobs;
Whereas, the decade-long arduous campaign to recognize domestic work as work had come into fruition when the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention for Decent Work for Domestic Workers was passed in the June 2011 at International Labour Committee Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland;
Whereas, a certain level of victory has been reached with its passage, but full enforcement of this international instrument would only be done once said Convention is ratified by at least two governments;
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) resolves to make as one of its priorities, the keeping of the momentum of the issue going, by taking up as a campaign among IWA members the call for their governments to ratify the new ILO Convention for Decent Work for Domestic Workers.
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN WHO ARE EXPERIENCING VIOLENCE AND DISPLACEMENT DUE TO WAR IN SRI LANKA
Whereas, the State war executed under the pretext of eliminating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the Tamils, by the Sri Lankan army over a period of time more intensively in the month of May 2009, was nothing but a well planned and executed ethnic cleansing of the Sri Lankan Tamils. It caused havoc in the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Tamil civilians. They lost their identity and were left without their families, homes, lands and other belongings. The plight of women specifically the war consequential widows were manifold. The government of Sri Lanka continues to show to the world a glossy picture that they have totally rehabilitated the survivors through resettlements. However, the reports of the international communities and human rights activists give a gory, and more realistic, picture;
Whereas, it is against this back drop that a team of five members from Malaysia and Tamil Nadu, India undertook a fact finding mission to the war affected areas of the North East. It found that over 90,000 women became widows and over 40,000 women were left as homeless, landless widows as a consequence of more than 30 years of war. Several women are left to take care of their physically-challenged (Maimed) husbands. These single women and the other women are forced to take care of their families without any income and any other livelihood opportunities. There is no support from the government. The women who lost their husbands are paid Rs.100/- (just over 2 USD) and to get that they have to travel and spend Rs.50/-;
Whereas, there are more than 12,000 young widows from the age of 17 to 28. They are put to the challenge of taking care of their young children, safeguarding them from the sexual brutality of the army and police. As they have no other source of income they struggle for their survival. Some of them go to the city where the officials trick them and sexually abuse them. There have been several instances women conceive prior to their marriage;
Whereas, most had moved from their native place to a camp or resettlement area. Very few were able to make it back to their native places. Whenever there was fighting, people had to move, leaving all their belongings and the dead bodies behind;
Whereas, there are about 18,000 people living in camps. Most of the children do not know the whereabouts of their parents. The children who have migrated are most often being abused by their relatives and sent to work. In the village of Pattalipuram, there were 63 children without parents;
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) resolves to make the international community aware of the violence and displacement being experienced by the women and children of Sri Lanka and call for solidarity and support for their plight.
RESOLUTION TO CALL FOR THE RELEASE OF ACTIVISTS AND CLEAN ELECTIONS IN MALAYSIA
Whereas, from June 24, 2011, dozens of peaceful electoral reform campaigners have been arrested and detained in various parts of Malaysia, most of them from the Socialist Party of Malaysia;
Whereas, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0 – bersih means clean in Malay), comprising Malaysian civil and human rights organizations campaigning for electoral reforms and independent monitoring of elections in the country, recently announced its plans to hold a peaceful mass rally on July 9, 2011 to demand for, among other things, fair access of all political parties to the media, reform of postal ballots and a revision of the electoral roll to address irregularities in the upcoming 13th General Elections expected to be held in mid-2012;
Whereas, in the wake of that announcement, the police launched a wave of arrests. As of today, around 120 campaigners and supporters have been arrested and held without charge for distributing pamphlets or wearing yellow (the colour of Bersih 2.0) T-shirts for the July 9, march. These people have committed no crime in exercising their right to campaign for clean elections and their arrest and detention is a travesty of justice;
Whereas, the Penang High Court dismissed a review of the arbitrary detention of 30 Socialist Party activists, remanding them without charge for “waging war against the king,” an offense which is punishable by life imprisonment. The Home Minister has also threatened to invoke the Internal Security Act against the rally organizers which will allow detainees to be held without trial for an indefinite period;
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) calls for the immediate cessation of this appalling situation and for the immediate release of all of the detainees. We support the call for the Malaysian government to fully exercise and ensure the implementation of the principles embodied in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights asserting people’s rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly, and that the government be made accountable on the violation of human rights and suppression of such rights by intimidation and harassment made to the Malaysian communities.
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE CAMPAIGN TO FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS IN THE PHILIPPINES
Whereas, there is an ongoing, protracted armed conflict in the Philippines with deep socio-economic and political roots. There is also much social discontent and political dissent that have been met with fascist repression by all governments since the United States granted the country its bogus independence. The Philippine government has been trying to subjugate the dissenters through trumped-up charges, illegal arrests and detention, torture and unjust conviction on false political and/or criminal charges;
Whereas, there are a total of 354 political prisoners (PPs) reported to Karapatan as of end June 2011. The vast majority were arrested under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, they being among the most determined in opposing the corrupt, repressive and puppet Arroyo regime. There are 27 who were arrested before Arroyo’s time and 45 under Benigno Aquino III. They were charged with political offenses such as rebellion, sedition and variations thereof;
Whereas, many are also charged with criminal offenses in an effort to deny the political nature of their alleged offenses and to stigmatize them as plain criminals guilty of the most heinous crimes. Political prisoners are slapped with murder, multiple murder, frustrated murder, arson, kidnapping, robbery in band, illegal possession of firearms and other non-bailable offenses meant to keep the PPs incarcerated while court hearings proceeded at snail’s pace;
Whereas, PPs are not criminals. Many of them are political and social reformers or revolutionaries who are victims of political repression and whose civil and political rights have been grievously violated. They were exercising their democratic rights in resisting pro-imperialist, anti-people and repressive policies, programs and acts by the state and its military. Charges against many of the democratic movement’s leaders, activists and followers or sympathizers were invented and “criminalized”;
Whereas, political prisoners, their families, people’s organizations, human rights organizations, lawyers’ groups, legislators, as well as international human rights networks persist in their efforts to rectify the injustice against political prisoners and other victims of human rights violations. They demand for the general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty to all political prisoners;
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) supports this campaign to free all political prisoners in the Philippines.
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE DECADES-OLD PLIGHT OF HACIENDA LUISITA FARMERS FOR LAND AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
Whereas, for decades now, farmers and farm workers of the Hacienda Luisita in the province of Tarlac in the Philippines, have been fighting to own the land they till;
Whereas, the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) Management has cunningly been using the stock distribution option (SDO) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program as a scheme to prevent farmers and farm workers from truly owning the land;
Whereas, the Hacienda Luisita farmers’ and farm workers’ still live below the poverty line; under the SDO, they were forced to remain minority stockholders and have no control over the use and disposition of the assets of HLI including the land. For this reason, in 2003, farmers filed a petition with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to nullify and rescind the SDO and to stop land‐use conversion at the hacienda. DAR and the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) declared the SDO null and void in December 2005. The HLI Management, however, questioned the decision in the Supreme Court and successfully acquired a Temporary Restraining Order against the PARC order in June 2006;
Whereas, in 2004, the HLI Management’s injustice caused the farmers to stage a peaceful protest action, which was met, using state forces, with violence. This brutality, which came to be known as the Hacienda Luisita Massacre, left six people dead and many others injured;
Whereas, after four years, the Supreme Court set case for oral arguments on August 18, 2010. Before the said date, the HLI Management presented the farmers and farm workers a “compromise agreement”, which forced the farmers and farm workers to choose between SDO and land distribution. Many farmers, lured by the promise of financial support, where deceived to choose SDO. On August 11, 2010, the HLI Management asked the court to decide on the referendum and not on the legality of the SDO;
Whereas, on July 5, 2011, the Supreme Court of the Philippines upheld the revocation of the SDO but ordered a new referendum among the original 6,296 HLI farmer beneficiaries for them to choose between owning plots of land or shares of stocks;
Whereas, the farmers, through their organizations AMBALA and ULWU filed a motion for reconsideration on July 20, on the Supreme Court decision, thus continuing the battle for land and social justice;
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) supports the call of the HLI farmers and farm workers for the government to junk the stock distribution option being implemented in Hacienda Luisita and to distribute the land to their rightful owners.
RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE ECUADORIAN PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE AGAINST THE PLUNDER OF THEIR NATURAL RESOURCES BY BIG DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN MINING COMPANIES
Whereas, Ecuador, the smallest of the 12 megadiverse countries in the world, faces a danger of losing its natural resources to big domestic and foreign companies. Particularly in danger are farming and indigenous areas rich in gold and copper deposits, after the Ecuadorian government opened the country to mineral explorations;
Whereas, the mining projects are displacing indigenous people and are threatening their homes and livelihoods and wellbeing;
Whereas, mining projects were given the “go” signal to operate without the free and prior informed consent of the affected communities, and complete and independent analysis of the environmental impacts of large-scale mining such as that to the water source;
Whereas, activists participating in protests against mining projects are being labeled as threats to national security;
The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) supports the Ecuadorian people’s struggle against the plunder of their natural resources by big domestic and foreign mining companies and for national sovereignty.