Unasur Citizens’ Forum expresses concern about the measure:

Revocation of NGO registrations in the WTO raises protests against the Argentine Government

The Forum urges the Argentine government to guarantee the full participation of the citizen delegations in the meeting.

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In view of the decision by the Argentine government to deny the participation of dozens of representatives of citizen groups registered to participate in the 11th WTO Ministerial Meeting (MC11), to start in Buenos Aires on December 10, a growing number of declarations by both social and official entities are questioning this measure.


The 3rd Forum of Citizen Participation (FPC) of Unasur (the Union of South American Nations), gathered in Quito on December 1, issued a Special Declaration, by consensus of the nine countries participating, in which it expresses "deep concern" about this measure and urges the Argentine government to “guarantee the full participation of the citizen delegations in the meeting".


This Declaration, which was jointly proposed by the delegations of citizens of Ecuador and Argentina, requests the Argentine Government "to clarify the grounds of this decision, in accordance with the provisions of its national legislation, since otherwise, it would affect the full right to citizen participation in a multilateral meeting, creating a negative precedent for the multilateral system and would be contrary to the commitments assumed by that State as the venue of the meeting" (our translation).


Indeed, as host country, Argentina undertook to ensure accreditation, visas and access to all persons, including delegates, staff and NGOs accredited to the WTO, according to the standard agreement between international organizations and the host, which foresees that, only under an exceptional security considerations, can the host refuse the entry of a person.


Nonetheless, in an initial response to the public outcry, the government of Mauricio Macri announced that the entities in charge of this matter "have identified that some organizations had no contributory will but rather a disruptive one with respect to their participation in the MC11, and therefore it has been resolved not to admit them to the Conference". This pretext obviously does not respond to security criteria, but rather expresses a lack of democratic respect for divergent positions.


Meanwhile, a letter addressed to President Macri, signed among others by the Argentine Nobel Peace Prize and President of SERPAJ, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, points out that this measure, together with the denial or delay in the processing of visas for other participants, "violate the fundamental rights of the people and organizations involved, curtailing democratic participation in an area in which issues of a global dimension that affect the whole of society are being discussed."


This letter interprets the allegation of "security" as "an attempt to prevent the participation of voices critical of the policies that their government and others, seek to advance in the framework of this Ministerial meeting" which are being negotiated in secret, as is "the possible signing of an ill-named 'free trade agreement' between the European Union and Mercosur, or the transfer of sovereignty and control over areas of strategic importance such as government procurement, organic farming, finance and electronic commerce of personal data". Moreover, it considers these measures throw serious doubt on the capacity of the Argentine Republic to assume the presidency of the G20, in 2018.


In the international statement released on November 29 by the OWINFS (Our World Is Not For Sale) network, it was announced that there are more than 60 experts from civil society whose participation has been denied, who are mostly representatives of organizations with a long track record of activities within the framework of the WTO. OWINFS affirms that the WTO should not accept such a flagrant violation of its well-established international norms and urges the general director, as well as the members, not to hold the meeting in Argentina, unless the host government reverses this decision and reinstates the accreditations to the excluded groups.


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