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Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (W1LPF) and International Institute for Human Rights. Envtronment

and Development (INHURED International)


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First edition: Februarv 1994 2000 copies .,

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Glossary of Tenns 1. Foreword

• Janet Bruin, Women's International League for Peace

and Freedom. and Oopal Siwakoti. INHURED

In tern ational

• Final Statement of the Public Hearing In Vienna

2. The Indivisibility of Human Rig_hts

• Al Senturias, AsIa-Pacific Task Force on Human


.. Eric Sottas. OMCT /50S Torture

3. Obstacles to the Effective Realization of·HumanRights. including Economic. Social and CUltural Rights and the Right to Development in Different Parts of the World

• Africa: Peace Mungwashu, International Youth and Student Movement for the UN

• The Real Causes of Somalia's Famine:

Michel Chossudovsky. Professor of Economics. Univer-

sity of Ottawa. canada

• Asia: ReynaldoTy. Assistant Professor of Poltical Science. University of the Philippines

• Latin America and the Caribbean: Alejandro Teitelbaum. American Association of Jurists

• Eastern Europe and the Former SOViet Union: Michel


4. Th.e Effects of the PoUcies of the Intemational Financial Institutions on People's Human Rights

• Children: Swami Agntvesh, South Asian Coalition on

Child Servitude

• Youth/Students: Minar Pimple, Youth for Unity of

Voluntary Action

• Women and the Development Model: Corinne Kumar d'Souza and Victoria Corpuz-Tauli. Asian Women's Human Rights Council. and Muslmbt Kanyoro. Lutheran World Federation

• Peasants: Jun Borras. Peasant Movement of the


• Indigenous Peoples: Lazaro Pary, Indian Movement Tupaj Katar1. and Raruananda P. Singh. Nepal Na-





13 15



33 41


63 67

79 85 93

tlonal Committee on the International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples

5. Cutbacks in Essential Services and Human Rights Violations

• Health: Viola Plummer, International Association 99

Against Torture

• Education: Ngande Mwanajltt, Southern Networks for 107

Development International

• Housing: Enrique Ortiz, Habitat International Coalition 113

• Food: Elisabeth Koltrlnger and Slgrun 1. Skogly, 119 FoodFirst Information and Action Network

6. Monitoring Human Rights Violations

• Philip Alston. Chairperson, UN Committee on Economic 123

Social and Cultural Rights '

, Audrey Chapman, American Association for the Ad- 127

van cement of Science

7. Challengesfor NGOs

• Noun Abdul Razzak, Afro-Asian People's Solidartty 135


• Wangarl Maathai, The Green Belt Movement, Kenya 141

• Sidgl Kaballo, Sudan Human Rights Organization 145

• Ward Morehouse, Council on International and Public 147

Affairs, USA

• Rosemary Gillespie on Bougainville 151

• Melanie Schellens. National Center for Development 153

Cooperation (NCOS), Belgium

• Rornesh Chandra, World Peace Council. NCO Sub- 157

Committee on the South

8 . .t\ftenvord

• Adolfo Perez Esqutvel, Servtcto Paz y Justicia, Nobel 161

Peace Laurea te

• Susan George, "Debt As Warfare: An Overview of the 165

Debt Crisis"

9. Annexes:

• Report of the Working Group on Human Rights, 175

Democracy and Development of the NGO Forum held

prtor to the World Conference on Human Rights

• Asian NGO Statement Against Debt and Recolonization 178

• COmmisSion on Human Rights, Resolution on

Structural Adjustment 180

• Acknowledgments 185







Origin of the debt crisis ...

Both borrowers and lenders behaved irresponsibly and share the blame for the current crtsis. Price Increases imposed by the oil productng countries in the 1970s were deposited in Western banks which sought outlets. Through aggressive lending. banks 'recycled' OPEC deposits to Third World countries. Most of the money borrowed during the 1970s was not invested productively.

These loans went to purchase:

• ctl. (less than a third of the present debt burden);

• weapons (about 20%};

• captiai flight: by which wealthy individuals. government offlctals and companies sent borrowed money stratgh t back to the banks as deposits. The borrowing country no longer has part ofthe money, yet it must still pay interest on the full face value of the loan. The banks are paid back twice - once in capital deposits and again in interest on the debt. It is impossible to measure precisely, but some countries' capital flight alone is reliably estimated to be equivalent to the country's entire debt.

• 'Pharaonic' projects: huge, environmentally destru ctive dams, nuclear power plants, oversized factories. etc.:

• current consurnpnon, money borrowed to import foretgngoods consumed bytbe middle and upper classes. This added to debt and undermined the capacity of local enterprise to compete with goods from abroad sold at artificially low prices.

• interest payments: money was borrowed at variable rather than fixed interest rates. They were low in the 19708 but rose dramatically in the 1980s.

Source: Susan George, People and the Debt Crisis: Challenge for NGGs, proceedings of a conference organized by the Special NOO Committee on Development (Geneva), 1989.



structural adJ ustment programme bears a direct relationship to the process of famine formation because it systematically undermines all categories of economfcactivtty. whether urban or rural, which do not directly serve the interests of the global market system. Import substituting industrtes for the internal market are dismantled as a result of the l1fttng of tariff barriers and the collapse of Internal purehasmg power. small artisans are impovertshed, and food farming is undermined to favor of export crops. In tum, the State apparatus Is undone through the imposition ofOscal austerity, civil SOCIety collapses, and the nation-State becomes politically fragmented.




Foreign oU companies have much to gain from the weakening of the State . .According to Mark Fineman of the Los Angeles TImes, "four major U.S. oU companies are sitting on a prospective fortune in excluswe concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali cnuntrystde", Slad Barre had allocated nearly two-thJrds of Somalia to Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips before he was overthrown. The companies holding the rights to the most promising concesstons were hoping that U.S. troops would "help protect their mulUm1lllon dollar investments there". • -repnnted from Third World Resurgence No. 39, 1993

The Asia-Pacific regton is the homeland of more than half of the world's population Together with AfrIca and Latin America, Asia and the Pac1f1c host tbe great maJority of the population of the global village. More than one blllion people on these three continents I1ve in conditions of abject poverty. Most of the Third World economies have moved from being formal colonies to semi-colonies or neocolontes, This 'recolonization' has come about in the past three decades through the mechanism of 'economic assistance' in the fonn of loans, financial maneuvers. and development polley destgned to integrate our economies into the global system and to subordinate them to dominant Northern economic interests.

WhUe people starve to death in some Asian countries, the continent has more than enough food. The great majority of Asians are poor because of the inequitable ownership and control of the means of production, capital. technology . land and other productive assets, both within our countries and on a global scale. The dominant economic system in the world today Is based upon private ownershtp of the means of production. the appropriation and extraction of surplus from hired hands by capital, cut -throat competition, self-interest, Indlvtduallsm, and above all, the profit motive. Aga1n.st this background, human misery is increasing and the destruction of the environment continues unabated.

A handful ofmultlmillionatres controls the destiny ofmllllons of wage laborers. ftrms, and even entire mdustnes nationally and Internationally. Transnational corporations (TNCs) accountfor 40% of the world capital.1st output. 60% of its international economic




relations, and 80% of its technologies in the research and development stage. Fierce competition for spheres of investment and profits among the regional trade blocs (North Amenca, Western Europe. and Japan) is now being waged on a global level. As a result of uneven development. Asian countries are now at the stage of statemonopoly ca pUaUsm in which the forces of monopolies and the state JOin hands.

The international flnancial institutions (IFIs) have come to play an increasingly central role In international economic relations The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, CO~Only known as the World Bank(WBJ. the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the regional development banks. private commercial creditor banks, and other multilateral agenctes and bilateral arrangements claim to help develop and raise the liVing standards of people in the underdeveloped countries by channelling financial resources such as credits and loans from the leading industrialJzed powers. The Group of7. Group ofTen, Paris Club. and the Trilateral COmmJssion are but some of the Informal groupings of the major IndustIial economies which manage the world economy and negotiate the debts of the so-called Third World.

The IFIs are guided by the interests of the industIiallzed countries. They impose poUUcal and econormc conditionalities which far from helping the national econorntes of the underdeveloped co~ntrtes, further aggravate their conditions of underdevelopment and poverty. These conditions, in fact. assist private foreign capital to penetrate local economies, giving priority to infrastructure and industrial projects that are technologically linked With the enterprtses of the major industrial economies. IFIs have blocked the extension of credits to countries which opt to take a path of development that Is independent of free market mechanisms.

The usunous foreign debt incurred by the COuntries of Asia Afrtca, and LatlnAmerica reached more than US$1.3 trtllton byth~ end of 1990 - about 50% of the combined Gross National Product (GNP) of all underdeveloped states. Among the major countrtes pinched by foreign debt are Algeria. Argentina. Brazil. Egypt, India IndoneSia. Iraq. Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Korea. and Venezuela. With their economies In desperate condition. developing countries beIteve they need even more foreign loans. Hence. many governments have perpetuated their blind obedience to the IMF~



World Bank dictates that have bloated foreJgn debt ThJs Is the new fonn and content of the modem-day tribute system. It reduces whole continents to the status of neo-colonial appendages of the industrial metropolitan centers.

The Freedom from Debt Coalition of the Philippines has shown the extent to which debt repayments consume the country's resources In Its efforts to deliver this tribute. It has reported that from 1986 to 1991. the average percentage of debt service to the national budget was 52.8%:

When the national budget Is drawn and quartered, the choice cuts go to feed the rich banks and the war. Every year, govermnent offiCials allot 10% of resources to finance a war. According to a study by the CommJssion onAudit. debt service constituted 67% of the budget in 1991. Health receives a measly 3% annually. Small wonder that one Filipino child dies every hour because the government allocates such a big chunk. of the budget for debt payments, and more and more children find a home in the streets. Indeed. as UNICEF has stated, children born during the 19808 belong to a lost generation, a battered generation assured by their elders of nothing but starvation and disease. Small wand er that progress continues to elude our country ...

In addition to debt repayments, emulation of profit-oriented economic models has become the order of the day. Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs) are being used as a showcase of successful capitalist "development". The 'tiger' economies (Hong Kong. Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan) are. being paraded around. while 'cub' economies (MalaYSia. Thailand. Indonesia, and the Philipplnes) aresaid to hold great prospects for capitalist development. Yet some of the success stories were due to government Intervention rather than reliance on purely market forces.

Moreover, against the background of global recession, the rapid pace of technologteal change and automation. the relocation of industries tocountrtes that offer cheap sources of labor and lax environmental and safety standards. even the tigers are in trouble. Intlatlon is chronic. unemployment is rtsing noticeably. and environmental deterioration has reached catastrophic proportions. Fueled by foreign and mtra-regional Investment from the US,





Western Europe, Japan, and overseas Chinese. robust economic expansion in the form of manufacturing and export continues. is overheatmg, and surges faster In the Asia-Pacific region than anywhere else In the world.

For the cubs. the hopes of gaining tiger status are dim, yet efforts accelerate and the course prescribed is guaranteed to make life even more dtfflcult for the majority of people. A jomt project of the National Movement for Ctvtl Uberties and the Freedom from Debt Coalition of the Philippines conunents on attempts by President Ramos to make the Philippines a Newly Industrialized Country by the year 2000:

(He] ts doing his best to secure more foreign loans, attract more foreign Investments, and rnaxlmizeexports. But:

• To secure more loans he must pay all the old ones. plus interests. In 1991 we paid P 170 billion or 66. 9% of our budget. (We are now paying more each year than the new loans coming in.)

• To attract foreign investors, he must spend billions to Improve electrtctty, roads. public services but at the same time give Investors tax exemptions and other benefits. (The Senate Tax Research Office esxt1mates that in 1989-91 the government lost P6.35 billion each year In tax exemptions given to foreign mvestors.)

• To max1m1ze exports. he must encourage out producers to compete in the foreign market. But this market is shnnkmg because rich countries are now putting up barriers to foreign goods to protect their own producers.

He must also follow IMF requirements to liberalize trade (so more foreign products can come in. even those that displace local products), to privatize (sell government-owned corporations, even those earning millions in profit). to raise rates of electricIty and water (so the National Power Corporation and the Manila Waterworks and Sewage System can pay their foreign debts). These are the same IMF polioies followed by Presidents Marcos and Aquino ... "

Such a formula might serve to make the rtch richer. but tt will not help the majority of the Filipino people. 70% of whom are below the poverty line. 600t6 of whom die without seeing a doctor. 14.4% of whom are unemployed and another 23. 6% are underemployed. 85%




of whose schoolchildren suffer from malnutrition, and where only 81 families control the maJ or wealth In a nation of 62 million people. The international ftnanc1alInstltutions, with.the complicity oflocal elites, have Impeded the full enjoyment of economic, soetal and cultural rights by the masses of the people In Asia.

According to Professor A. C. Espmtu, "Most Asian national economies are characterized by duallsm: an affluent powerful elite dominating a poverty-stricken population. The fruits of growth have gone to those who need growth the least. The rise of palace millionaires Is the most conspicuous example of a process whereby families associated with high figures in the state apparatus have benefited from licenses, contractorships and other fOImS of opportunity. In the meantime the poverty line has risen dramatically."

There is a need to fundamentally restructure international economic relations based on the principles ofequal1ty ,cooperation. and mutual benefit and along the lines set forth In various documents of International law. The Untted Nations Charter considers human rights. self-detetm1nation. development. international cooperation. and non-interference in the internal affairs of states as aims and principles which shall be upheld In the international


The Charter on the EconomiC Rights and Duties of States defines standards for the Implementation of the Declaration and Programme of AcUon for the creation of a New International EconomiC Order. It further notes that social and economic development Is related to questions of peace, security, and dISarmament. Among the duties of States Is to oppose policies of colonialism, racism, and neo-


The Declaration on Social Progress and Development calls for the promotion of "higher standards of lMng. full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development". It also seeks the "eltmination of all forms of inequality. exploltaUon of peoples and individuals. colonialism and racism, Including nazism and apartheid". The Declaration on the Right to Development calls for "a comprehensive economic. social. cultural and poliUcalprocess which arms at the constant Improvement of the well-being of the entire population and of all indMduals on the basis ofthelr active. free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting therefrom".

Instead of emulating the development model imposed by the international financlallnstltutions. big business and transnational corporations. it Is tnne to return to community development at the grassroots level. The processes of progressive transformation are associated with the development of and increased role played by a public or state sector in the course of industrtaUzation. the eradtcation of patriarchy. overcoming feudal ownership of land and feudal forms of land use, lnstituUng agrarian reform, nationalizing foreign investments. establishing effective national control over natural resources, the education and training of local specialists, the development of a national health care system. and other measures to raise the soctal, economic and cultural level of the


Government and elites frequently resort to state terrorism and mil1tartzation In the name of "national or internal security", thus violating the clvtl and political rights of those who struggle for economic. social and cultural rtghts.

The creation of yellow unionism. union busting. and illegal dispersals of pickets and strikes are examples of policies and practices that are harmful to workers. Victims of "development aggression" include whole nations, indigenous peoples. women, children, peasants, workers, and nationalist entrepreneurs as well. Big business and local and transnational corporations engage in actMties such as logging. mmtng, and otherprojeets which adversely affect the environment and vulnerable sectors of the population.

In manyThlrd World countries the objectives of national sovereignty and social liberation are closely Intertwined. Together, the struggles of peoples for self-determtnation and empowerment contribute to the consolidation of forces for democracy, social progress, and peace. WhJ1e coming under massive attack, national liberation movements continue to struggle to overcome domination by foreign monopolies and corrupt national elttes and to defend themselves against the concomitant oppression and repression. They are increasing their efforts In the struggle to preserve their economic and political rights. Many choose to take up a noncapltaltst path of national development that seeks to meet the basic needs ofthelrpeople for road. clothing, shelter, health care, education. and expresston.




Alternative policies for such a transformation are being put forward in many countries. The National Movement for C1v1l Uberties and Freedom from Debt Coalition of the Philippines. with development expert Walden Bello, have suggested the following as steps in the desired direction:

• Change the policy of gtving priority to external debt repayment. Instead, use the money for economic development and public service for the majority of F1l1pinos.

• Make the government the leadJng agent of economic growth. In the beginning. Korea and Taiwan strongly protected their domestic economy. They had stnct foreign investment laws and reserved key areas for domestic manufacturers and government -owned industnes.

• Give priority to the domestic market as the motor for growth. Do not overemphasize exports.

• Institute genuine land reform and other income redistribution measures to put more purchasing power in the hands of the people. They will then be the market for domestic industry,

• Do not sacrifice the environment for rapid economic growth. A pro-people economic programme will promote labor-tntenstve, medium-Sized, environment-friendly enterprises in the rural areas to employ more people.

Such steps, if implemented tn every country, would do much to reverse the deterioration in living standards that so many people in the Third World have experienced as a result of the "lost decade for development". They would serve as basic building blocks of a people-centred development in which all human rights could be realized by all. •






The colonial powers imposed a raw material export economy on Latin America and a socio-economic structure in accordance with this a bj ective, characterized by strong social dJ:fferentiation and ownership of land concentrated in the hands of powerful private landlords. The continent's indigenous people, stripped of their lands and enslaved or semi-enslaved as laborers, were, in fact. victims of genocide. Another characteristic of relations between LatlnAmerica and other Third World countries on the one hand and the developed world on the other was and Is unequal exchange. This means that the Third World exports cheap raw materials and imports expensive manufactured products and technology.

Diverse economic, geographical and demographic particularities and various internatlonal convergences resulted in a process of differentiation in the region and changes in the dependent relations with the developed world. There were countries that reached a certain level of economic development at certain times, such as those in the Southern Cone, Brazil, and Mexico. In some countries, this led to improvement in the standard of living of the masses. As a consequence of the cutting of ties with the economic metropolis during the First World War. and espectally during the Second World War, some countries in the region were able to achieve a certain level of autonomous development.

After 1945 the United States consolidated its hold over the region at the expense of Great Britain and France. The presence of the



From the Public Hearing in Vienna:

w.p: Al ~nturia." (APTFJ. Elenna DugumlJi (ASEED Brazil). Janet Bruin. (WILPIry 00 ol

Slwakoti (INlJURED International): middle: participants. • 'P

bottom: J(1J1et Bruin. Adolfo Perez EsquLue~ ServiclD P~ y Justicio:




• Special thanks go to Janet Bruin. Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Elenna Dugundji, ASEED Brazil, Gopal Chintan Slwakott and Gopal Krishna Siwakoti. INHURED International. [Of Carrying the main burden of organizing the Public Hearing in Vienna.

• The organizers of the Public Hearing and publishers of its proceedings wish to express their deep gratitude to th e North - So uth Coalition in Norway; World Council of Churches Unit III Justice. Peace and Creation: Norwegian Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Bread for All (Switzerland), and Christoph Kramer (IPPNW Germany) for their generous Itnanctal support in making both the Public Hearing and this publication posstble.

• This book has been edited and prepared for publication by Janet Bruin with the assistance of Lohes Rajeswararn and Judy Rock of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Thanks also go to Tamara Kunanayakam, SONED International, Fr. Henry Volken. World Christian Life Community. and Edith Ballantyne. WlLPF, for th err invaluable tnstghts during all phases of its production.

• Layout and graphic design by Peace and Jus Lice Graptucs-

• Cartoons on fronl and back covers by Len Munnik. Other cartoons by Len Munruk, bUlbUl. and Salam.

• Photos by J. Maillard. J. P. Laffont/Sygma. and M. Crozet courtesy of the International Labor Office (ILOl. Geneva. Photo by epd-btlrl/Muller and photos by Peter Williams and Oliver Garcia courtesy of World Counell of Churches.


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