Open Statement to the APEC Leaders Meeting

Original Publication Date: 
5 September, 2007

Mr John Howard and the other representatives of our governments,

  • Stop making claims that APEC reduces poverty in our countries. We see the reality of grinding poverty and misery every day:
  • Some 900 million people in this region live below a (problematic) poverty line of $2 day
  • Over 46 million people are unemployed in the region, nearly double since 1993
  • Tens of millions who have jobs are trapped in poverty wages, competing with each other, and denied the right to unionise deny people the right to potable water, education, health care while corporations control people's right to life saving medicines
  • Women and men work for pittances in foreign countries because there is no work at home to feed their families
  • Indigenous peoples are forced from their lands
  • Farmers can no longer work their land and the right to food sovereignty
  • Corporations rape our natural resources, pollute our environments and destroy the ecosystem.

Why are you not prepared to see these realities?

Those who have prospered from APEC are the corporations that have a privileged seat at your table. It is no coincidence that the heads of government, trade ministers and the leaders of the transnational corporations in the region have to meet behind the tightest security cordon in Australia's history.

You claim to care about people, but all you really care about is the profits of big business. The most pressing issues for APEC in 2007 are all being converted into commercial opportunities through free trade agreements and foreign investment rights so the largest companied in the region can profit from climate change, renewable energies and human security.

The APEC agenda - the war on terror, increased militarization, peddling nuclear power, ecological exhaustion - means more poverty and misery for the mass of people in Asia and the Pacific Islands. Australians face these realities alongside the poorest people in all other APEC member countries.

We reject the APEC agenda and challenge you to hear the voices of those whose lives you condemn to poverty but whom you are determined to silence.

Signed in Sydney, Australia on 6 September 2007-09-06

Asia Pacific Research Network
Aid/Watch (Australia)
Action, Research and Education Network of Aotearoa (NZ)
Committee for Asian Women (CAW), Thailand
Institute for Global Justice (Indonesia)
IBON Foundation
Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG)
Ecumenical Institute for Labour Education and Research (EILER, Phils.)
Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific (Australia)|
Global Trade Watch (Australia)
Right To Water (NZ)
Development Resource Centre
Coastal Development Partnership, Bangladesh
Arab NGO Network for Development
Pacific Asia Resource Center (Japan)
Korea Alliance Against Korea-US FTA
Roots for Equity, Pakistan
Public Services International
Australian Services Union
Third World Network