Indian movements have called popular movements and organizations from BRICS countries as well as some other guests to Goa in the days ahead of the official summit of the leaders of the BRICS, the alliance between Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Palestine was among the people and struggle to be represented and delegates discussed possible ways forward for more powerful solidarity efforts and reaffirmed their commitment to support of the struggle and the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions.
The gathering took place on the 13th and 14th of October witnessed several social movements and civil society formations, representing the people of at least 10 countries, make a declaration towards the official 8th BRICS summit in Goa. The declaration has urged upon the BRICS nations to look at issues of social, economic and environmental justice and has reminded the BRICS leadership of a time of an unprecedented crisis facing humanity and nature. The forum has emphasised the threat that several democracies across the world are facing from reactionary and imperialist forces and has in particular drawn attention to the coup in Brazil that has overthrown a people's government. The representatives also noticed with great concern the state repression of people's movements and student’s protests in countries including India and South Africa. The declaration also points out the massive levels of ecological destruction that is taking place around the world, led by corporations and in collusion with the state. Goa, the site of the summit is ironically at the receiving end of this destruction.
Within the framework of the discussions, the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) and the Stop the Wall have together with the Palestine Solidarity Committee in India, the India Palestine People Forum, Indian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (INCACBI) organised a workshop focusing on Palestine and BRICS countries. People and governments in BRICS countries have important legacies and experiences of support for the struggle of the Palestinian people for their land and rights. Yet, today Israeli exports to BRICS defense, agricultural and consumer markets finance much of the costs of Israeli occupation, colonialism and apartheid. Activists from India, South Africa and Brazil have been discussing the importance of BRICS countries for Palestine and Israeli occupation as well as India’s role within this context. The presentations have highlighted how ties with Israel affect people’s movements in India and across the globe while the collective discussion has focused on ways to build effective action to support the Palestinian and global struggle for freedom, justice and equality. Participants have developed several ideas for research and campaign plans to be developed and have affirmed the need for better coordination among the Palestine solidarity movement in the BRICS.
The People’s Forum on BRICS in Goa has in its final declaration “reaffirmed its solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against colonialism and occupation, and we endorse Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against apartheid Israel, including opposition to Israel’s attempted export of its unsustainable water and agricultural technologies to BRICS countries.”
BRICS People's Forum Ngwane reads endorsement of BDS from Centre for Civil Society on Vimeo.
While people have been standing in Goa together in solidarity and deepening struggles, a few kilometres away, presidents of the BRICS countries have been meeting and discussing. As well in that summit declaration Palestine has been on the agenda. As every year, one paragraph of the declarations has been dedicated to Palestine, unfortunately, this year omitting the Palestinian refugees rights and existence. It does, however, strongly underline the “consistent and universal respect and adherence to the principles and rules of international law”.
See the relevant sections here:
“We reaffirm our commitment to contribute to safeguarding a fair and equitable international order based on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations including through consistent and universal respect and adherence to the principles and rules of international law in their inter-relation and integrity, compliance by all states with their international legal obligations.[…] We are deeply concerned about the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. We support all efforts for finding ways to the settlement of the crises in accordance with international law and in conformity with the principles of independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the countries of the region. […] We reiterate also the necessity to implement the two-state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the relevant UNSC resolutions, the Madrid Principles and Arab Peace Initiative, and previous agreements between the two sides,through negotiations aimed at creating an independent, viable, territorially contiguous Palestinian State living side-by-side in peace with Israel, within secure, mutually agreed and internationally recognised borders on the basis of 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, as envisaged in the relevant UN Resolutions.”
Yet, we all know that without people’s pressure governments will not take action to ensure the implementation of Palestinian rights and international law and Israel will continue to be permitted to systematically and persistently violate international law and human rights. It is therefore crucial that we build on the victories that many of the movements have won already on multiple fronts – such as halting numerous multinational corporations’ exploitation, gaining access to essential state services, occupying land and creating agricultural cooperatives, and generating more humane values in our societies. We need to continue to build momentum and optimism. In 2017 and beyond, the BRICS People’s Forum will reconvene, and redouble our efforts and the Palestinian movements will continue to be part of the struggles of the movements in BRICS countries.