Bali, Indonesia: At sunset yesterday, over 50 women’s groups, grassroots communities, farmers and workers groups from across Asia gathered at the Padang Galak Beach in Bali, Indonesia to denounce the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a sacred Balinese ritual named Tolak Bala. During the ritual, women from the communities impacted by World Bank-funded projects and IMF policies warded off evil influences caused by both institutions and invoked prayers and wishes for a better future by symbolically giving traditional offerings to the sea.
Sringatin, Chairperson of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union said, “For decades World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been facilitating land-grabbing, privatising public services, and imposing unregulated labour market that caused women to lose their land, suffer from unaffordable basic necessities and forced to take up precarious work.”
Wardarina, Programme Officer, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), Thailand said, ”The World Bank and IMF often ignore the political, social and economic impact their policies have on peoples, especially women who are farmers, migrants, workers, urban poor and indigenous, and take away resources for social protection and services.”
“Our hope is by doing this people will understand the struggles that we as women face and they will stand in solidarity with us as we fight to defend our rights. We hope to raise awareness of our issues and of how the ‘development’ that the World Bank and IMF do is wrong and is not the kind of development that women want,” said Titi Soentoro from Aksi for Gender, Social and Ecological Justice, Indonesia and APWLD member.
The Tolak Bala ceremony will be followed by a Feminist carnival on 14th October where women will present their testimonies of displacement, of land and resource grabbing and restricted access to public services in various forms such as oration, poetry reading, and art performances.
The women’s groups strongly reject neoliberalism advanced by the World Bank and IMF as it has only widened inequality and caused grave violations of women’s human rights. We also urge governments to move towards a just and sustainable economic model of Development Justice, that puts the peoples’ interests and upholds the protection of our rights.
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) is a leading network of feminist organisations and grassroots activists in Asia Pacific. Our 235 members represent groups of diverse women from 27 countries in Asia Pacific. Over the past 32 years, APWLD has actively worked towards advancing women’s human rights and Development Justice. We are an independent, non-governmental, non-profit organisation and hold consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Facebook: apwld.ngo Twitter:@apwld, Instagram: apwld_
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