Statement of opposition to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership at the 4th global people’s health assembly, Savar Bangladesh, 15-19 November

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Statement of opposition to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership at the 4th global people’s health assembly, Savar Bangladesh, 15-19 November

We, the undersigned civil society groups and individuals, who are committed to Health For All Now and the principles set out in the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978, condemn the secretly negotiated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which will erode people’s sovereignty and undermine health equity. We call on our governments to reject a RCEP agreement that serves Ruthless Companies Entrenching Power and to embrace an alternative RCEP, recognising that Real Cooperation Empowers People.

We reject the neoliberal free trade and investment model of RCEP because it will

  • Further accelerate the race to the bottom
  • deny the people our right to determine the policies that govern our lives and our health
  • guarantee that commercial interests have primacy over human rights especially the right to health
  • exclude peoples’ participation in decisions and shield governments and corporations from accountability
  • intensify climate change, the biggest threat to people and planet in the 21 century
  • have a destructive impact on women’s lives and livelihoods and other vulnerable groups
  • worsen job insecurity and workers’ rights, especially for exploited and migrant workers
  • perpetuate the centuries-long genocide of indigenous peoples
  • deny people’s sovereignty over food, traditional medicines, and bio-diversity
  • further entrench the power of pharmaceutical companies to extract super-profits for medicines and deprive millions of people from affordable treatment
  • further promote the privatisation of public health services and profiteering by transnational corporations (TNCs)
  • strengthen corporate lobbying and influence over health policy decisions
  • embolden alcohol, tobacco, sugar, and processed food industries that are drivers of non-communicable diseases
  • endanger national sovereignty by enabling foreign investors to hold our governments to ransom through investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)
  • further erode public revenue through tariff cuts and corporate tax avoidance
  • transfer control over health data to untrustworthy private firms to use and abuse
  • erect another barrier to a world of health for all, social justice and survival of the planet.

Recognising that Real Cooperation Empowers People, we demand an alternative RCEP consistent with the principles of Alma-Ata and which commits to

  • the positive pursuit of internationally recognised human rights and health obligations
  • universal quality public health services and a valued public health workforce
  • actively empower women as the catalysts for personal and community self-determination in health and life
  • achieve targets that will genuinely reverse the onset of catastrophic climate change
  • guarantee access to affordable medicines through publicly provided health programmes
  • food sovereignty, strong food safety standards, and health-based product labelling
  • ban toxic agro-chemicals and make agricultural work safe
  • impose enforceable obligations on corporations, especially foreign investors, including a strong UN Binding Instrument on Human Rights Responsibilities of TNCs
  • guarantee the rights of people to control their health data
  • negotiate and implement this alternative through open, participatory and accountable ways, and
  • conduct participatory human rights and health impact assessments prior to, during and after agreements to ensure the alternative RCEP deliver on these goals.

Click here to sign the statement

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