WSF/WAI-2015: From Tunis, Hope for a Better World
First of all, I wish to congratulate each and every member of IAI family for being in WSF/WAI-2015 in spite of all kind of odds and evil designs of anti-social elements to stop us coming to this FORUM in Tunis. The Forum opened only days after the March 18 ISIS attack on a group of international tourists in Bardo museum that left 22 people dead .
As a result, the theme of terrorism underlay the forum. Thanks to the WSF organizers who publicly demonstrated and released a statement denouncing terrorism that received criticism for echoing the language of war on terrorism that most participants would see as inconsistent with the forum’s anti-imperialist agenda.
Despite the pouring rain on 24 March 2015, thousands of activists from across the world marched united, in solidarity with Tunisia, to build another just and equitable world . I think, About 50,000 people gathered in Tunis, Tunisia during the opening march for the World Social Forum (WSF) and to debate how to make a better world to serve the interests of humanity rather than corporations.
Programmes and workshops from 25-27th March, 2015 organised by IAI and our Alliance partners were inclusive, democratic and systematically arranged to include not only the housing rights violations of evictions and displacements due to neo liberalism and market driven policies but also due to communal violence and war in different parts of the world and it’s impact was seen more specifically in the developing world like Asia, Africa and latin America.
Recent developments in my own country, we Christians felt threatened, not wanted, reduced to a stranger in our own country’. This pain and anguish of law abiding citizens is to be seen against the backdrop of the rising attacks on Churches and rape of the 71 year old nun in Kolkata. All over the country the rage among the Christian community is there to be seen in the form of silent marches, candle light vigils and peaceful protests.
As such during the last several months in particular the instances of attacks, and intimidation of the minority community has become more frightening. There is also a noticeable change in the pattern of violence. Earlier these attacks were more in the remote Adivasi and Dalit areas, now one can see this taking place in urban areas also. The change in frequency of these attacks after the new Government took over is a striking phenomenon. This is not just in India, minorities all over the world are harassed and persecuted. Although, the issues faced in different struggles are more or less similar, the socio-political and religious conditions are different in each country which is very sensitive.
Generally, we can see growing a strong nexus between politicians, bureaucrats real estate developers and mafias which makes the struggle for a poor and common man more vulnerable. On the other hand, whatever we have done so far is but a drop of water in a large Ocean .
Our struggle against all kinds of violations are inevitable, small and great injustices are typically the results of power imbalances. Those most affected by the system are those who are most powerless to act on the system. Therefore, building of people’s power is necessary for a systematic and non-violent struggle .
We also need a larger alliances in the local, national, regional and at global level where we not only learn from each other’s experiences but strengthen each other in solidarity to make things move faster and better.
- Focus on Rural development creating employment to check Migration to cities.
- Develop Affordable Housing Specially for the poor and Lower middle class people.
- No evictions or land acquisition without proper consultation with those affected and clear agreement on adequate Compensation and Resettlement package .
- Proper Implementation of Laws and Policies on Housing / Rehabilitation for the PAPs .
- Decentralisation of Govt. process and involvement of civil society in Planning, Decision-making and implementation of all development projects.
- Promoting co-operatives among Small-scale Manufacturers, Producers and Consumers for exchange of goods and services.
On behalf of PROUD  and National Forum for the Urban Poor  , I assure that we are Strongly committed to the principles of WAI & WSF to implement it’s decisions to make ‘Another Better World Possible ’.
Finally, I thank our co-ordinator Cesare and the local organisor Soha Ben Slama for their love and affection.
 People's Responsible Organisation of United Dharavi (PROUD) is a non-profit, non-political and secular people's organisation of Dharavi working for the betterment of people since 1979.
For more details: please visit www.prouddharavi.com
 National Forum for the Urban Poor (NFUP), India is a federation of several people's organisations like that of PROUD in different parts of India mainly networking on the Housing rights and Peace and Harmony.