Dear Friends, There have been two planning meetings in Delhi (Oct 14 & 21) and a very successful planning meeting in Trivandrum on 24 October 2011. A press conference was held on 25 October (see the press release and coverage below). There has been a lot of progress in this short time but a lot needs to be done in the next few days to ensure a successful People's SAARC convention in 10 days time. To take this process forward,* the next planning meeting in Delhi is being held on Saturday, 29 October 2011 at 4pm at the Indian Social Institute. * *Date: Saturday 29 October* *Time: 4pm* *Venue: Indian Social Institute (ISI)*, 10, Institutional Area, Lodi Road, New Delhi (India), *Tel.:* (011) 4953 4000 Please circulate this information and ensure the widest possible participation. We look forward to seeing you on the 29th and to a successful People's Saar convention on 8-9 November 2011. In solidarity, PT George, Afsar Jafri, Jamal Kidwai, Ashim Roy, Vijay Pratap, Ashok Chowdhury, Babu Mathew, Rajni Tilak, Tara, Ritu Datta, Radha Khan, Dharmendra Yadav, Rajeev Singh *Participants in the planning meeting on People’s Saarc held in Thiruvananthapuram on 24th October 2011.* 1. K. S. Sajeed 2. K.P. Viswavalsalan, NTUI 3. T.Peter, KSMTF & NFF 4. K.P. Sasi 5. M Rajan, NTUI 6. D.R. Pisharody 7. V. Pratap Singh, NTUI 8. K.R. Sadanandan, NTUI 9. T.S. Narayanan, NTUI 10. Viswakala Thankappan 11. E. George, NTUI 12. D. Sulif 13. Indira Menon, (Advocate) Working President-NFIW 14. Ashim Roy, NTUI 15. Fr. Jose Pulinthanath S.J. 16. P.T. George, ICR 17. P.T. John 18. Sumesh Mangalassery 19. Solidarity Youth Movement, Trivandrum 20. Raghu Iraviperor, National Alliance for Fundamental Right to Education *Press Release - 25 October 2011 *PEOPLE OF SOUTH ASIA UNITE WHILE GOVERNMENTS PLAN SAARC SUMMIT Representatives of several people’s movements, social action groups and human rights organisations have decided to hold a parallel event along with SAARC summit scheduled to take place in Maldives on November 10th and 11th. Earlier, South Asian activists have organised parallel events along with SAARC summit to express their major concerns in Colombo, New Delhi, Kathmandu and Bhutan. This year, activists have decided to hold the concerns of people’s movement in Thiruvananthapuram under a common theme of ‘People’s Movements unite South Asia’. 'Most of the issues which people’s movements fight in South Asia are common,’ said T. Peter, KSMTF, convener of the alliance ‘ The invasion of the corporate world on sea, forests, land and water resources are crippling a large section of people in south Asia. We hope to bring larger alliances of struggles in South Asia through this event. Activists have decided to hold a parallel event on November 8th and 9th with a broad agenda to bring various issues within the framework of ‘Governance, Democracy and Human Rights’. National and State political leaders from diverse political parties will participate and express their solidarity. The event will be held in YMCA, Thiruvananthapuram drawing various people’s movements in India and representatives from South Asia. ‘Globalisation and changes in the structure of capital have affected the working class in all third world countries,’ said Ashim Roy, General Secretary of NTUI. ‘Therefore, the growing concerns of the working class needs urgent South Asian alliance. While the leaders of SAARC countries are coming together with the interest of trade and profits, the working classes are forced to come together for their livelihood and survival.’ The alliance have decided to organise the following eight workshops during event covering most of the burning issues of people’s movements.They include : Democracy and Human Rights, Women leadership in people’s movement, Trade and Livelihood, Militarisation and De-nuclearisation, Natural Resources and People’s Movements for sustainable development , Nuclear industry in South Asia and , Rebuilding Labour movement in the region , Exclusion, discrimination and oppression in South Asia. ‘There are thousands of people’s movements struggling for their rights all over the country,’ said K. Sajeed, Secretary, Solidarity Youth Movement. ‘The challenge before the people of South Asia is to educate the leaders of South Asian governments to follow the concerns of the people of South Asia.’ Hundreds of representatives of people’s movements in India and South Asia are expected to gather for this two day convention on 8th and 9th. The activists aspire to bring out the burning issues of the people’s movements and their concerns among the public and the leaders of South Asian Governments. Activists are also concerned about growing human rights violations of the Asian Governments like genocide in Sri Lanka, Armed Forces Special Powers Act in North East and Jammu and Kashmir, suppression of minorities in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and many other human rights violations on people’s movements all over South Asia. ‘In the end, the policy level changes in South Asia will take place only through the pressure of the collective strength of grass root movements’, said P. T. George from Intercultural Resources, New Delhi. ‘Ecological crisis and the challenges generated by climate change are some of the biggest issues facing humanity at large, especially the South Asian Countries. The very existence of Maldives as a country itself is threatened today. In this context, there is an urgent need of pressure from people’s movements in South Asia to bring pressure on the South Asian Governments to adopt policies for sustainable development.’ Organising Committee of the event consists of M Rajan (Chairperson),T. Peter (Convenor), and other organising committee members like Advocate Indira Raveendran , Magline Peter, Viswavalsalan, K Sajeed, Kamala Bhasin, Ashim Roy, Kavita Shrivastava and PT George. The alliance members reported that the convention will end with a common declaration and a demonstration in Thiruvananthapuram. T. Peter (Convenor), M. Rajan (Chairperson), K. Sajeed (Committe Member) Contact address: Kerala Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Federation (KSMTF),Garuda Building, GPO Line, Thiruvananthapuram-1 , email:firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: 9447429243. Web:www.keralafishworkers.in *Press Coverage* http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-kerala/article2572631.ece The Hindu Thiruvananthapuram, October 26, 2011 People's movements in South Asia join hands Special Correspondent Representatives of people's movements, social action groups, and human rights organisations from various countries in South Asia will hold a parallel meeting here on the two days preceding the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit scheduled to take place in the Maldives on November 10 and 11. The parallel meeting will be held on the theme ‘People's movements unite South Asia,' and will address major concerns in the region, including livelihood and human rights issues, environmental problems, and climate change, chairman of the alliance M. Rajan, convener T. Peter, and other leaders told a press conference here on Tuesday. “Most of the issues taken up by people's movements in South Asia are common,” Mr. Peter said. “The invasion of the corporate world on the sea, forests, and land and water resources is crippling a large section of the people in South Asia. The parallel meeting is expected to forge a larger alliance of struggles in South Asia.” The event here will have a broad agenda to bring various issues within the framework of ‘Governance, Democracy and Human Rights.' Leaders of political parties across the spectrum are expected to participate and express their solidarity. The programme will be organised at the YMCA hall here. “Globalisation and changes in the structure of capital have affected the working class in all Third World countries,” Ashim Roy, organising committee member of the parallel summit, said. “The growing concerns of the working class need a coordinated approach. While leaders of SAARC countries are coming together to promote trade and ensure better profit, the working class is forced to join hands for its livelihood and survival.” Workshops The alliance is organising eight workshops during the event on issues such as democracy and human rights; women's leadership in people's movements; trade and livelihood; militarisation and denuclearisation; natural resources and people's movements for sustainable development; nuclear industry in South Asia; rebuilding the labour movement in the region; and exclusion, discrimination and oppression in South Asia. “There are thousands of people's movements all over the country struggling for their rights,” K. Sajeed, another organising committee member, said. “The challenge before the people of South Asia is to educate the leaders of their governments to address their genuine concerns.” Human rights violations in South Asian countries are expected to figure in the sessions. “Policy-level changes in South Asia will take place only through the pressure exerted by the collective strength of grassroots movements,” P.T. George from the Intercultural Resources, New Delhi, said. “Ecological crisis and the challenges posed by climate change are some of the biggest issues facing humanity at large, especially in South Asian countries. The very existence of the Maldives is threatened today. In this context, there is an urgent need for people's movements in South Asia to bring pressure on the governments to adopt policies for sustainable development.”Meet to be held in city before SAARC Summit starts in the Maldives next month.