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International Social Movements’ Statement of Solidarity with Women’s Struggles

March 2011

In advance of International Women’s Day, several organizations representing various social movements around the world – many of them Grassroots International partners, grantees, and allies – co-wrote a “Letter of Solidarity with the Struggle of Women in the World.”  We are reposting the text below:

In this year, 2011, the World Social Forum joins with the peoples of Africa for the third time, following Mali in 2006 and Kenya in 2007. We, women from different parts of the world who have gathered in Dakar, recognizing that uniting our strengths will eventually bring change, confirm our solidarity and our admiration for the struggles of Senegalese women, African women, and women of the world. Their struggles, alongside the struggles of all men and women, strengthen resistance everywhere against the globalized capitalistic and patriarchal system.

Today, we are still experiencing the same world crises – economic, food, ecological and social – and we are concerned to observe that these crises are persisting and deepening. Here, we reiterate our analysis that these are not isolated crises, but that they represent a crisis of the model characterized by the overexploitation of labour and the environment, and by financial speculation on the economy. This is the reason why we as women continue to call for change of this model of society, this economic model, this production and consumption model, which generates increased poverty for our peoples, in particular for women.

We as women, who are attuned to respect and defense of the principles of justice, peace and solidarity, need to make progress in building alternatives in the face of these crises; however, we have no interest in palliative responses based on market logic.

We cannot accept that attempts to maintain the current system in place are made at the expense of women.

In this regard, we say no to intolerance, to the persecution of sexual diversity and to cultural practices that undermine the health, body and soul of women.

We condemn all kinds of violence against women, in particular, femicide, the trafficking of women, forced prostitution, physical violence, sexual harassment, genital mutilation, early marriage, forced marriage, rape, rape used as a systematic weapon of war, and impunity for those who commit these acts of horror against women.

We also say no to a society that scorns the rights of women by not allowing them access to resources, land, credit, and employment in dignified conditions, where women’s jobs are rendered precarious in order for capital to grow.

We condemn the monopolization and colonization of the land of rural farmers, both men and women, whatever form it takes, by States or multinational corporations, and we condemn transgenic crops, which harm biodiversity and life.

We say no to the arms and nuclear race, which are carried out at the expense of state investment in social, health and educational programs.

We condemn a society that excludes women from access to knowledge and education, and where women are marginalized and discriminated against in decision-making.

We say no to armed conflicts, wars and occupations. We say YES to a just peace for oppressed peoples.

In the face of all of this, we propose to strengthen our struggle so our countries will achieve economic, political and cultural sovereignty with respect to international financial institutions. We want the cancellation of odious and illegitimate debts, and a citizen’s audit that would allow people to be compensated:  women do not owe anything – they are the primary creditors of this odious debt. We also demand the effective implementation of the Tobin tax.

We demand food sovereignty for peoples and the consumption of local products, the use of our traditional seeds, and women’s access to land and productive resources.

We want a world where men and women have the same rights, the same opportunities to access knowledge, primary and higher education, literacy and decision-making positions, and the same rights to work and fair salaries.

We want a world where States invest in the health of women and our children; in particular, maternal health.

We demand the ratification and effective implementation of all international agreements, in particular, International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions 156 and 183.

We want the democratization of communications and access to information.

We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian women for a democratic, independent and sovereign Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as its capital, and the return of refugees in compliance with United Nations Resolution 194.

We stand in solidarity with the women of Casamance for a return to peace.

We support the struggle of the Tunisian and Egyptian peoples for democracy,
with the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo for an end to the conflict, and, with the Kurdish women, for a society that is democratic, ecological and free, with equal status between women and men, and where there is the right to use their mother tongue in education.

We stand in solidarity with the right to self-determination for the Sarahoui women, in line with the United Nations Resolution, and to find a peaceful solution according to the Maghreb Social Forum.

We are with all women victims of natural disaster, such as Haiti, Brazil, Pakistan and Australia.

We stand in solidarity with the millions of women and children refugees and displaced persons.

We call for the return to their land and freedom of movement.

We propose the creation of alert and information networks on and for women in conflict or occupied areas. We propose 30 March as the day of international solidarity with the Palestinian people and call for a boycott of products from the Israeli occupier. We call for the creation in 2012 of an international forum for solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people.

We recognize all the struggles of all the women in the world and see their demands as ours: what happens to one of us happens to all of us. This is why we must fight all together.

Dakar, 11 February 2011

Signatory organizations:
World March of Women
La Vía Campesina
Marcosur Feminist Articulation
Attac Argentina
Attac Pais Valencia
Brazilian Women’s Union (UBM)
Centro Brasileiro de Solidariedade aos Povos e Luta pela Paz (CEBRAPAZ, Brazilian Centre of Solidarity with Peoples and Struggle for Peace)
Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT, Unified Workers’ Central) (Brazil)
CEAS – Sahara (Coordinadora Estatal de Asociaciones Solidarias con el Sahara)
Colectivo Granada – España
Fédération Démocratique Internationale des Femmes (FDIM, Women International Democratic Federation)
Groupement Dang Dang – Senegal
Groupement Défense Bargny – Senegal
Latin American Continental Students Organization (OCLAE)
Le Monde selon les Femmes – Belgique
Red Vasca de Apoyo a la Unión Nacional de Organizaciones Saharauis

This “Letter of solidarity with women’s struggles around the world” was written by a working group composed by women from different organizations considering the debates carried out during the World Social Forum held in Dakar, February of 2011. We thank the gender and equity committee of the Senegalese steering committee for having organized the space “Women’s Village”, as well as several debates on women’s rights that have contributed to the content of this letter.

The content of this letter was presented as a declaration proposal to the Women’s Assembly in the morning of 11th February. It wasn’t possible to finish the debate because a minority, but a very active one, sector in the Assembly was against mentioning the right to self-determination of the Saharawi women. Some organizations that participated in the Assembly had decided to spread out this content in the form of a signed Letter. Still, we are aware that many other women and organizations have contributed to the content of this Letter and that the gender and equity committee continue working on the attempt to have a consensual declaration among the organizations that were in the Women’s Assembly.

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