Activists from different parts of the country took out a rally here on Monday to protest against the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) talks being held here

The 19th round of RCEP negotiations are discussing the provisions of a free marketplace covering 16 countries.

Several women’s groups working with farmers, Dalits, indigenous women, minorities and fisher women took part in the rally. “It is a reinforcement of the destructive development model that the existing free trade agreements and the policies of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation have inflicted upon the world’s poor,” a statement said.

“Women farmers are going to be the worst affected by this free trade agreement. Land grabbing for corporate agriculture will impact our food sovereignty, rights over our land and seed preservation. It will force women to migrate to seek labour and become vulnerable to trafficking,” said Burnad Fatima from the Federation of Women Farmers Rights (Tamil Nadu). Fatima is also a member of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD).

“It is deeply concerning that this trade agreement directly impacts women, but is not being discussed in Parliament, State Assemblies, or at panchayat and municipality levels,” said Albertina Almeida, another APWLD member.

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