India, February 2007
Disarm to Combat Poverty
A campaign demands reduction of military expenses and to divert funds or a greater allocation of funds to deal with Socio-economic program for the poor.
The campaign Disarm to Combat Poverty aims at fostering public debate and promote people’s mobilization both in North and South to demand progressive reduction of arms trade, and military budgets in order to convert some national defense spending into social protection measures and development of Social Sectors, such as extension of social security for vulnerable workers and their families and development of large scale programmes involving youth into a non violent social action.
Origin and Development:
The campaign was originally conceived in 2005 by Freres des Hommes (FDH), an INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY Organization based in Paris, by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, (PILER) Karachi and by Ekta Parishat an Indian organization promoting rights of landless to land. The campaign was officially launched in January 2006 during the World Social Forum in Karachi and during the Indian Social Forum, Delhi in November 2006. During the World Social Forum, Nairobi 2007, the campaign “Disarmament to Combat Poverty” was broadened to include other countries other organizations and groups. Today many social justice groups, peace movements, labour organizations and farmers movements are involved in the campaign.
Promote mass information, people’s education and public debate on issues related to disarmament, social development and global human security.
build bridges facilitating mutual support and enhance collaboration between social activists, campaigns and movements involved in justice and peace agendas.
enlarge people’s support base, fostering active citizen’s participation with focus on urban and rural people, women and youth.
propose radical measures within a broad frame of a sustainable political agenda in order to achieve concrete results.
Campaign in India:
The campaign Disarm to Combat Poverty was launched in India in November 2006, during the India Social Forum. Ekta Parishad, PILER and Freres des Hommes presented the campaign in a meeting with many Indian Social actors and also in a press conference held in Delhi. In February 2007, Fedina, a network of Agricultural and informal sector workers, poor women, Dalits and tribals, organized two events in Bangalore. On one side a two day conference was organized for about 94 social activists from five Southern States to familiarize them with the campaign. Mr. Jean Pierre Dardau, International Coordinator of the Campaign explained the campaign. A conference on the same theme was organized for the heads of few NGOs and few intellectuals. About 34 people participated in this conference. One month later, when the budget 2007-08 was announced, a new seminar was organized by Fedina for members of the Network of Social Action groups, Fedina is working with. Mr. Narendra Pani, then senior editor of Economic Times presented a broad frame of analysis of the budget. Social activists, most of whom were involved in the unionization of informal sector workers felt that the campaign had helped them to understand better the correlation between militarisation, military expenses and it’s impact on living standards of the marginalized sections of our society and of the vulnerable workers.