Make South Asia Visa Free for Poverty Eradication

Dhaka, 3rd November 2011. Today eighteen rights groups organizations and networks under the banner of Peopleโ€™s SAARC organized a human chain and rallied in front of national press club to place their demands on the eve of SAARC Maldives summit to be held during 9th and 10th Nov. They criticize SAARC as a mere talk shop, for hardly being able to deliver for poor people in the region. They demand a visa-free South Asia as a need to make the region poverty free.

The group comprise of organizations and network namely, BKF, BDPC, BNPS, BTUC, CDP, CSRL, DCI, EquityBD, IED, Kishani Shoba, LDC Watch, INCIDIN Bangladesh, Nobodhara, OKS, SAAPE, SANGAT, SUPRO and VOICE. The rally was moderated by Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD; main speakers of the rally were Rokeya Kabir of BNPS, Rezaul Karim Chowdhury from EquityBD, Monju Rani Pramanik of SUPRO, Fakrul Ferdous from DCI, Subal Das of Bhumihin Somitee, and Zaid Iqbal from Krishok Federation.

In a statement distributed by the group are placed eight major demands, which have been also reiterated by the speakers during the rally. These are (i) to make SAARC Food Bank immediately operational, and enhance its stocks up to 1 million tons, and also to initiate SAARC Seed Bank to defy corporate control of seeds in the region, (ii) to initiate cooperation in agriculture especially to prepare Agriculture Perspective Plan 2020 as declared in Colombo Summit, (iii) to initiate basin wise river and water management plan for water sharing as to respect rights of citizens of all the countries, a particular country should not take advantage due to its existence, (iv) to make SAFTA effective by ensuring duty free and quota free access of the products of SAARCโ€™s least developed countries to other SAARC countries, (v) to initiate an integrated and coordinated climate action plan in view of Thimpu Declaration with a must consideration for climate induced migrantโ€™s resettlement, rehabilitation and reintegration, (vi) to reduce investment in militarization and to invest more on education and health , (vii) to initiate culture of mutual understanding and tolerance in defying the culture of hatred and petty nationalism, they demand there should be a Peopleโ€™s Union of South Asia, and finally (viii) to urge that visa free South Asia is the only way to reduce poverty and to pave the way for a single union.

Reported by

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Mobile +8801711529792

Mostafa Kamal Akanda, Mobile + 8801711455591

By: Reported by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Mobile +8801711529792 Mostafa Kamal Akanda, Mobile + 8801711455591
When: 7/2/2014

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