New Delhi: A public statement issued by a group of Indian people’s movements, trade unions and other civil society slams the G20 for ignoring the “real problems” of the global south and accuses the Indian government of “using the G20 presidency” to seek political and electoral gains.
The statement says India should instead raise important issues of the global south and vulnerable communities of the world at a time when the world is facing multifaceted problems, such as the climate crisis, poverty, hunger, malnutrition and socio-economic inequalities. It goes on to say that “the scale at which the G20 meetings are being organised to portray a picture perfect narrative of shining India, reeks of a vulgar display of wealth at a time when India’s performance on every social barometer is abysmal; not to forget, all on tax payers’ money”.
“In the run-up to scheduled G20 meetings in different cities of India, government authorities are displacing the homeless people to far-flung areas, removing street vendors, and small shops from the roadsides to ‘beautify’ the cities. The party in power is forwarding India as the ‘centre of diversity’ and ‘mother of democracy’ while also consistently using all national institutions at its disposal to silence the dissenting voices of human rights defenders, repeatedly attacking minority communities with impunity and systematically destroying institutions and progressive civil society spaces.”
Citing various indices of democracy, which point to a democratic decline in India, the statement says that “against this background, the forum of G20 needs to be questioned for its absolute silence on declining spaces of dissent, human rights abuses, shrinking space of democracies and rising fascism and authoritarianism in countries including in the G20 nations themselves; as well as for undermining the democratic multilateralism.”
The statement, which is endorsed by over 100 persons, says that “the mere inclusion of few developing countries from the southern hemisphere and the G20 troika being composed of the countries of the south – Indonesia, India and Brazil, does not grant it a legitimate status and makes it a representative body of the global population.”
It says merely including governments from the south does not equal serving the interests of the people in the global South. “In fact it means very little, for the Global South (i.e. the most vulnerable, poor people across the world) remains excluded from the G20 decision-making process and from its priorities. The G20 forum is still being used to safeguard international monetary systems and global economic governance framework in line with the demands of global capital and to serve the interests of corporations and the political and economic elite in both industrial and industrialising nations,” they said.
The signatories to this public statement, issued on the eve of the G20 meeting of Foreign Ministers in Delhi say that they affirm the resolution “to strengthen our struggles against the neoliberal policies and authoritarian governance pushed ahead by forums such as G20, and our attempts at forging truly sustainable, democratic, equitable and just economies and societies.” They have appealed “to all citizens, global people’s movements, national and international trade unions, students and academia to not be deceived by the gimmicks of the Indian government and its false propaganda, but to work for these struggles and initiatives.”