Make South Asia Visa Free for Poverty Eradication


Dhaka, 3rd November 2011. Today eighteen right groups organization and network under the banner of People’s SAARC organized a human chain and rally 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 mere talk shop, so far have been hardly 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 placed major eight demands, which have been also reiterated by the speakers in this regard, these are (i) make SAARC Food Bank immediate operational, enhancing it stocks up to 1 million tons, and also to initiate SAARC Seed Bank to defy corporate control on seeds in the region, (ii) initiate cooperation in agriculture especially to prepare Agriculture Perspective Plan 2020 as it was declared in Colombo summit, (iii) 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 ensure duty free and quota free access of the products of SAARC’s least developed countries to other SAARC countries, (v) initiate an integrated and coordinated climate action plan in view of Thimpu Declaration with a must consideration for climate induced migrant’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 People Union of South Asia, and finally (viii) they urged that visa free South Asia is the only way to reduce poverty and to pave the way for a single union.

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