Written by Administrator Tuesday, 19 June 2012 10:20
Rio de Janeiro, Sunday, June 17, 2012
Rights for Sustainability (R4S) activists joined forces with fellow civil society activists from across the world joined for a protest on Sunday inside the Riocentro convention center to push the messsage: “Our Future, Our Voice.”
The activists taped their mouths and held placards before gathered global media who took their pictures and interviewed R4S delegate and co-chair of People’s Coaliton for Food Sovereignty, Azra Sayeed.
The protest, coordinated by R4S, was in reaction to a lack of voice for civil society at Rio+20; back-tracking on the Rio principles established at the 1992 Earth Summit; and the prioritizing of unregulated corporate interests over human rights and equity.
Paul Quintos of IBON International - which coordinates the NGO Cluster on Rights and Equity at Rio+20 - and R4S said: “Civil society’s ability to promote the voice of the people it represents has been steadily eroded throughout the process leading up to Rio+20."
“Instead of progress and solutions in negotiations, we are seeing back-tracking on commitments established in 1992. Principles that protect human rights and equity are disappearing, watered down or remain devoid of concrete means to implement them.
“Developed countries are shirking their historical responsibility to address the problem of environmental degradation and the economic crisis they have largely caused. Instead, governments are promoting greater reliance on the private sector as if blind to the terrible consequences of corporate- and finance-led globalisation for the people and the environment."
Negotiations on the Rio+20 outcome document were extended on Friday night and will continue until tomorrow, Monday, before the document is finalised before heads of state arrive on Wednesday. But while civil society groups participating in the process are allowed access to the meetings rooms they are denied any meaningful participation in determining the outcome of the document titled "The Future We Want".
Ahmed Swapan, R4S delegate and executive director of VOICE, a rights-based group from Bangladesh, said: “The voice of civil society is being kept silent, which is a gross violation of human rights and free expression.
“There can’t be a real sustainable development without the input of civil society, which is supposed to be a stakeholder at Rio+20, but in reality is not being heard.”
Protests at Rio+20 are subject to 24 hours notice and a permit. And while a permit was not forthcoming, the activists went ahead with their non-disruptive mobilization which security allowed to proceed. Joining R4S and Philippines-based IBON International were activists from the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), European Solidarity Towards Equal Participation of People (Eurostep), the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (India), Roots for Equity (Pakistan), VOICE (Bangladesh) and Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), among others.
NOTES TO EDITORS
“Rights for Sustainability” (R4S) is a global initiative coordinated by IBON International with the objective of promoting a rights-based approach to sustainable development, promoting inter- and intra-generational equity and justice in the reform agenda towards Rio+20 and beyond.
IBON International is an international civil society organisation based in the Philippines. Its mission is the capacity development of peoples’ movements around the world for human rights and democracy.
IBON International provides secretariat support to networks including the Rights for Sustainability Initiative, the People’s Movement on Climate Change, the People’s Coalition for Food Sovereignty and Reality of Aid Network.
IBON International coordinates the NGO Cluster on Rights and Equity for Rio+20, and was elected Asia-Pacific regional representative of Major Groups and Stakeholders to the United Nations Environment Program. IBON International also represents NGOs on the Major Groups Media Advisory Committee at Rio+20.
The campaign calls for strengthening the people’s rights to productive resources and sustainable livelihoods, gender equality, appropriate technologies, and access to information, participation and means of redress. It also calls for strengthening the Right to Development, which recognizes the collective obligation of all states to create a just and equitable international environment “so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations” according to Principle 3 of the 1992 Rio Declaration.
Rights for Sustainability:
IBON International: http://iboninternational.org/
Follow us on Twitter: @ibonintl - https://twitter.com/#!/ibonintl
For more information, contact:
Paul Quintos, pquintos[at]iboninternational.org, +63 9175 490 412 (international) +55 807 39413 (Brazil)
Mark Dearn, mdearn[at]iboninternational.org +55 807 39424 (Brazil)