The first demonstration organized in Durban, South Africa as part of the grassroots forum “BRICS bottom up” held on March 22 to 27, was organized by the BDS Campaign (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) for a Free Palestine.
The demonstration took place in the morning of March 26 at the “Speakers’ Corner”, a few miles from the Durban International Conference Centre, where the 5th meeting of Heads of State of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) was taking place.
“BRICS bottom up” was organized in parallel to the official meeting by groundWork – Friends of the Earth South Africa, the Environmental Alliance of the Community of the South of Durban and the Centre for Civil Society of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Different organizations from all over the world supported the event, where hundreds of representatives of social organizations of several African and BRICS countries participated.
The BDS Campaign is an international movement with chapters in different countries. They explain on their website http://www.palestinalibre.org that given the failure of the international community to prevent the Israeli crimes and the continued failure of the peace negotiations on 9 July of 2005 over 160 Palestine organizations launched a call on the Palestinian Civil Society to” launch broad boycotts, implement divestment initiatives, and to demand sanctions against Israel, until Palestinian rights are recognised in full compliance with international law.” The call was inspired in the South African struggle against Apartheid and was based on the successful international BDS campaign carried out against that racist regime”.
The website adds that “The call urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by: ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall; recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194”.
In South Africa the campaign aims to raise awareness to boycott the transnational corporations that supply weapons to Israel and it exposes the role of corporations from BRICS and other countries that are accomplices of the Palestinian occupation. It also aims to implement sanctions against the company that operate in Palestinian occupied territories. Campaigner and coordinator of the Economic Justice, Resisting Neoliberalism Program of Friends of the Earth International, Lucia Ortiz, summarized it to Real World Radio as follows: “Apartheid: wrong for South Africa, wrong for Palestine”.
Photo: Lucia Ortiz.
“No queremos ser mártires, no queremos que hayan más mártires en este país, pero también hay una responsabilidad histórica de hacer valer la palabra y demostrar que tenemos derecho a la construcción de un mundo mejor. Y no podemos huir a esa responsabilidad”, dijo a Radio Mundo Real la dirigente garífuna Miriam Miranda, coordinadora de la Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH).
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