Home Equality & Justice Asian activists slam 'rising inequality,' call for ‘people’s recovery’ in protest actions

Asian activists slam ‘rising inequality,’ call for ‘people’s recovery’ in protest actions

The Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development drew attention to what it described as the “staggering wealth inequality in the world”

Activists from across Asia called for action for “people’s recovery and system change to end inequality” in demonstrations across the region on Friday, January 20.

In a statement, the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) drew attention to what it described as the “staggering wealth inequality in the world.”

“Inequality is deepening in the global south as the multiple crises of economic recessions, health and livelihoods, and climate change remain unresolved,” said Lidy Nacpil, APMDD coordinator.

She stressed the need “to wage bolder actions and demand urgent measures to end the suffering and decisively address the roots of the crises.”

APMDD pointed to a recent report by international aid agency Oxfam that said two-thirds of the wealth created around the world since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 has gone to the world’s richest one percent.

On January 18 and 20, APMDD members in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and the Philippines staged demonstrations to call attention to the impacts of austerity measures and other economic policies that they said led to “widespread hunger and loss of livelihoods” and made public services “even more inaccessible to marginalized communities.”

They joined global protests led by the Fight Inequality Alliance (FIA) as the World Economic Forum (WEF) gathered representatives of the world’s richest in Davos, Switzerland, to “help find solutions” to current crises.

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“If the super-rich in Davos are truly serious about solving the world’s most pressing issues, they would long have adopted the growing call from grassroots communities and movements around the world for reversing regressive taxation and replacing it with progressive tax schemes,” read the APMDD statement.

APMDD called for an end to austerity, the adoption of wealth tax to increase financing of public services and much-needed climate action, the cancellation of “illegitimate and sustainable debt” to free up resources to build people’s recovery, and for “system change to end inequality.”

Activists call for action for “people’s recovery and system change to end inequality” in a demonstration in the Philippine capital Manila on Jan. 20, 2023. (Photo by Jire Carreon)

In the Philippines, APMDD members protested “rising inequality” that they said was made worse by “flawed tax and trade policies, a mounting debt problem, and the catastrophic impacts of climate change.”

In Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Krishok Federation held a rally in front of the National Press Club to press for hefty taxes on the wealthy “as a concrete step to address inequalities.”

Protest-actions and mass gatherings were also organized in various parts of India, by the National Hawkers’ Federation and the Indian Social Action Forum.

In Pakistan, public protests were also held, led by FIA Pakistan and APMDD members Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee and the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum to protest “unjust tax systems, onerous debt service payments and rising inequality.”

On January 18, civil society organizations in Nepal protested what they called “a system that unjustly favors business giants, multinational corporations, and corporate globalization.”

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