Give displaced people their rights, say delegates
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Give displaced people their rights, say delegates

WSF delegates not only stressed on the struggle for the rights of those who are displaced but also called for the shunning of the World Bank, writes Purwa Khandelwal.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2004 00:58 IST

The speakers in the 'Development induced displacement: Perspective and strategies' at the WSF on Tuesday, not only stressed on the struggle for the rights of those who are displaced but also called for the shunning of the World Bank.

Referring to the projects on dams, Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar asserted, "Those who have been displaced, they should claim the right over the resources that have been newly generated from the valley."

Rejecting the policies of the World Bank, Patkar said, "We cannot look for help towards World Bank."

Calling for the grabbing of resources from those who grabbed it, she said, "The expropriators must be expropriated. Exploitation should be answered with redistribution."

Referring to the people who have been displaced due to various projects, she said, "They have accepted a historic responsibility, to question the development paradigm."

Calling for the reformation of land laws, Patkar said, "Abolish the 1894 Land Acquisition Act which takes away the land from small and marginal farmers."

She also said that the people should be given the right to say yes or no to the alternative technology that had been provided.

Another significant move that took place was the formation of ten principles called Mumbai Forest Initiative.

While outlining the brief statement of principles of Mumbai Forest Initiative, Ricardo Carrere of Uraguay said, "People living in and using forest are the true governors of the forest."

He said, "The institutional mechanism for the forest people should change according to the social and ecological needs of the local community."

Ricardo added that societies at large benefiting from the products must ensure that the rights of the forest people are reserved.

Earlier, opening the session Smitu Kothari pointed out, "There is no comprehensive national policy that would provide rehabilitation for the people who sacrificed."

He also raised the question as to why rehabilitation has not become a major issue with the political parities.

Sharing the experience in his country, the South African delegate Trevor Ngwane said that the peasants and working class never had peace in South Africa ever since gold was discovered. "Only two per cent of land has come back to our hands," he added.

Voicing over the anguish of mining workers, activist Indu Netam said, "They promise to give us jobs before evicting us, and once that is done they come up with conditions of education and job to one person per family."

"Women have got a different kind of work. They are now into prostitution and bear children of these people," Indu said.

She added, "When they displace us, they displace us from life. They displace us from our culture and tradition, from our work and what not."

The Brazilian delegate, Jose Josivaldo de Oliveira said, "We now have a strategy for struggle. We are organising the people living in urban and rural cities."

"We can not let the community and land be destroyed to bring development that is only meant for few people," he added.

First Published: Jan 21, 2004 00:56 IST