APEC-Alert voices views


As members of APEC-Alert we want to respond to the article "Students
set to voice diverse opinions
" (UBC Reports, July

It is correct that we strongly believe that the UBC campus should not be used
as the venue for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM). But stating that
we believe this solely "due to human rights violations in some member economies"
is incomplete. There are many more reasons for our position, some of which include:

  • The decision to host the AELM was made without consulting students, staff
    or faculty. This is representative of the undemocratic nature of APEC which
    does not have a mechanism for the genuine participation of civil society.

  • APEC’s goal to implement a free trade zone in the region will have dire
    consequences for the environment and labour rights, and thus especially
    for women, children, workers, peasants, the poor and indigenous people.

  • APEC purposely and mistakenly divorces business and human rights.

  • Having APEC at UBC serves to legitimize APEC and make the UBC community
    complicit in both the abuses and the free trade initiatives APEC supports.
    One of the primary functions of universities should be to facilitate genuine
    debate and discussion, free from the coercion of state or corporate interests.
    Hosting the AELM at UBC seriously compromises these objectives.

We would also like to comment on the claim that "the Alma Mater and Graduate
Student societies have adopted more moderate policies."

The Graduate Student Society passed a motion to publicly oppose the hosting
of the AELM. The Alma Mater Society (AMS) has not taken an official position
on APEC or the hosting of the AELM.

Katja Cronauer
Nicole Capler


I am writing to call attention to the inaccuracies of "Students
set to voice diverse opinions
" on the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting
(AELM) (UBC Reports, July

For the record, APEC-Alert’s (AA) position is that the AELM should not be
held at UBC because several of the invited "economic leaders" are
military dictators who massively abuse the human rights of the people they govern.
It is unacceptable that (former) President Strangway single-handedly decided
that mass-murderers, like President Suharto of Indonesia and President Jiang
Zemin of China, were fit to be welcomed at UBC. Now the UBC administration and
APEC co-ordinators are anxious to have the world believe that UBC respects the
"diverse opinions" of its students’ voices. This is untrue. The administration
refuses to discuss relocating the AELM.

For the record, AA has widespread support — APEC does not. The Graduate Student
Society, CUPE 116 and nearly a thousand petitioning faculty and students have
endorsed our position. Other union locals are considering following 116’s lead.

For the record, the AMS’s position is not more "moderate" than AA’s;
it’s just less principled. The AMS promised to "support and uphold human
rights" in a resolution on the AELM but have yet to do anything more than
organize a series of panels on APEC. The government-connected, APEC-University
Forum students, on the other hand, want to help the administration transform
UBC into APEC-U in November.

UBC belongs to its students, faculty and staff. It belongs to the people of
B.C. and Canada. It does not belong to APEC.

AA is calling for a complete shutdown of UBC Nov. 25 and will be leading a
peoples’ march to the Museum of Anthropology that day. United, we will peacefully
reclaim our campus from dictators, their economic allies and the police.

David Jago
APEC-Alert organizer

UBC Reports welcomes letters to
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on topics relevant to the university community. Letters must
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is 10 days before publication date.