IFPRS PUBLIC STATEMENT
Posted on 15 July 2011
International Festival for Peoples’ Rights and Struggles: A Celebration of peoples’ struggles, a festival of hope.
July 15, 2011
Some 3,000 participants from 40 countries across Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Middle East, Latin America, North America and Europe concluded the first-ever International Festival for Peoples’ Rights and Struggles (IFPRS) on the first week of July in the Philippines with an overflowing of energy and commitment to defend people’s rights and carry on the struggle for freedom, democracy and social justice. The IFPRS was a rare opportunity for people’s movements, progressive institutions, groups and individuals across the globe to share and learn from each other about new and longstanding threats to people’s individual and collective rights, while exploring solutions that address the systemic roots of these problems.
From July 2 to 6, 2011, a broad range of activities including simultaneous forums, workshops, exhibits, strategy sessions, film showings and speak out/march were held in a number of halls and theatres at the University of the Philippines Diliman campus in Quezon City.
Although some events were held earlier, the festival held its Common Opening in the morning of July 5 at the UP Film Institute. Workers, peasants, youth, women, migrants, indigenous people, scientists, teachers, health professionals, artists and cultural workers from all over the world gathered as a festive throng along Magsaysay Avenue and witnessed an impressive and symbolic opening ritual led by the Indigenous Peoples’ Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL).
Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS), expressed his appreciation via a video message, for the convening of the Festival immediately before the Fourth International Assembly of the ILPS. The keynote address from Prof. Francois Houtart, founder of the Tricontinental Centre (CETRI), highlighted the multiple crises confronting the world today, and stressed the need for heightened international solidarity and cooperation. Ms. Marie Enriquez of KARAPATAN expounded on the challenges of going beyond the pursuit of individual human rights, and putting these within the larger frame of the assertion of collective human rights. Prof. Gianni Tognoni of the Leilo Basso Foundation and the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal informed the participants of the significance that the Festival was being organized around the time of the 35th anniversary of the Algiers Declaration which recognizes the peoples’ inherent right to strug gle. Among the more prominent personalities and social activists who participated in the IFPRS include Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Antonio Tujan Jr.,Irene Fernandez, Mary Wahu Kaara, Demba Moussa Dembele, Prof. Edward Oyugi, Mr. Mamdou Habashi, Dr. Azra Talat Sayeed, Chennaiah Poguri, Dr. Carol Araullo and many others.
The festival served as a platform for alternative cultures generated by people in struggle. Among the IFPRS events, one of the early favorites was the 1st International Film Festival on People’s Struggles, also known as AGITPROP. For three days, film enthusiasts viewed dozens of films that featured people’s movements and struggles against imperialism.
Another well-attended activity was the International Conference on Progressive Culture which expounded on cultural work as an integral part of the struggle