Women protest RCEP negotiations in Bali, Indonesia

Tuesday, February 26, 2019: Members of SERUNI women’s organization, Front Perjuangan Rakyat (FPR), Papuan Student Alliance, and People Over Profit-Indonesia yesterday confronted the 25th meeting of the Trade Negotiating Committee of the Regional Comprehensive Partnership Agreement at The Westin Resort, Bali Indonesia. See video here.

Dewi Retno of women’s group SERUNI explained that the highly secretive RCEP “will worsen widespread poverty, injustice, and inequality through its numerous chapters that mainly cater to the needs of transnational corporations.”

The protesters argued:

  • The RCEP services and investment chapters will promote the contractualization of labor and would mean a race to the bottom for wages and labor standards, and would promote forced migration and labor export.
  • The RCEP intellectual property chapter will violate farmers’ rights by facilitating corporate ownership of seeds while restricting seed access to poor peasants and farmers.
  • The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision in the RCEP will further deregulate destructive and extractive mining operations that harm the environment and the indigenous peoples and farmers who depend on the land.
  • The RCEP investment and intellectual property chapters will restrict public access to health services and access to cheap, life-saving medicines by extending patent rights and allowing big pharmaceutical companies to monopolize drug production.