Nigeria Social Forum

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Nigeria Social Forum(NSF) Charter of Principles[1]

 

Forwarded By

 

Otive Igbuzor

otivei@actionaidnigeria.org

 

After evaluating the results of the past World Social Forums, held first in January 25-30, 2001 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and quite recently in January 16-20, 2004 in Mumbai, India, and the expectations that it raised,  the Nigerian Social Forum, consider it necessary and legitimate to draw up a Charter of Principles to guide its operations. The principles contained in this Charter is to be respected by all those who wish to take part in the Forum. They are a guide to ensure a common orientation, serve as a guide to present and future generation of Nigerians in the consolidation of the values and beliefs necessary in achieving a “World without Poverty” and with equal access to natural resources.

1. The Nigeria Social Forum is an open meeting place for reflective thinking, democratic debate of ideas, formulation of proposals, free exchange of experiences, and interlinking for effective action, by groups and movements of civil society that are opposed to globalised neo-liberalism and to domination of the world by capital and any form of imperialism, and are committed to building a Nigerian society directed towards fruitful relationships among Nigeria’s diverse Nationalities, religions, social groups and those disadvantaged economically, politically as well as by gender and individually.

2. The Nigeria Social Forum builds on the certainty that Another Nigeria is Possible consistent with the proclamation at Porto Alegre that “Another World is Possible”, it becomes a permanent process of seeking and building alternatives, which cannot be reduced to the events supporting it.

3. The Nigeria Social Forum is a Nigerian process. All the meetings that are held as a part of this process have a national dimension.

4. The alternatives proposed at the Nigeria Social Forum stand to replace the process of glaobalization commanded by the large multinational corporations and by the governments and international institutions at the service of those corporations’ interests, with the complicity of national governments. They are designed to ensure that globalization in solidarity will prevail as a new stage in world history. This will respect universal human rights, and those of all citizens - men and women - of all nations and the environment and will rest on democratic international systems and institutions at the service of social justice, equality and the sovereignty of peoples.

5. The Nigerian Social Forum brings together and interlinks only organisations and movements of civil society in Nigeria, but does not intend to be a body representing the Nigerian civil society.

6. The meetings of the Nigerian Social Forum do not deliberate on behalf of the Nigeria Social Forum as a body. No one, therefore, will be authorised, on behalf of any editions of the Forum, to express positions claiming to be those of all its participants. The participants in the Forum shall not be called on to take decisions as a body, whether by vote or acclamation, on declarations or proposals for action that would commit all, or the majority, of them and that propose to be taken as establishing positions of the Forum as a body. It thus, does not constitute a locus of power to be disputed by the participants in its meetings, nor does it intend to constitute the only option for interrelation and action by the organisations and movements that participate in it.

7. Nonetheless, organisations or groups of organisations that participate in the Forum’s meetings must be assured the right, during such meetings, to deliberate on declarations or actions they may decide on, whether singly or in coordination with other participants. The Nigeria Social Forum undertakes to circulate such decisions widely by the means at its disposal, without directing, heirarchising, censuring or restricting them, but as deliberations of the organisations or groups of organisations that made the decisions.

8. The Nigeria Social Forum is a plural, diverse, non-confessional, non-governmental and non-party context that, in a decentralised fashion, interrelates organisations and movements engaged in concrete action at levels from the local to the national, sub-region to the region to build another world.

9. The Nigeria Social Forum will always be a forum open to pluralism and to the diversity of activities and ways of engaging of the organisations and movements that decide to participate in it, as well as the diversity of genders, ethnicities, cultures, generations and physical capacities, providing they abide by this Charter of Principles. Neither party representations nor military/paramilitary organisations shall participate in the Forum. Government leaders and members of legislatures who accept the commitments of this Charter may be invited to participate in a personal capacity.

10. The Nigerian Social Forum is opposed to all totalitarian and reductionist views of economy, development and history, and to the use of violence as a means of social control by the State. It upholds respect for Human Rights, the practices of real democracy, participatory democracy, peaceful relations, in equality and solidarity, among  ethnicities, genders and peoples, and condemns all forms of domination and all subjection of one person by another.

11. As a forum for debate, the Nigeria Social Forum is a movement of ideas that prompts reflection, and the transparent circulation of the results of that reflection, on the mechanisms and instruments of domination by capital, on means and action to resist and overcome that domination, and on the alternatives proposed to solve the problems of exclusion and social inequality that the process of capitalist globalization with its racist, sexist and environmentally destructive dimensions is creating nationally, regionally, internationally and within countries.

12. As a framework for the exchange of experiences, the Nigeria Social Forum encourages understanding and mutual recognition among its participant organizations and movements, and places special value on the exchange among them, particularly on all that society is building to centre economic activity and political action on meeting the needs of people and respecting nature, in the present and for future generations.

13. As a context for interrelations, the Nigeria Social Forum seeks to strengthen and create new national, regional and international links among organisations and movements of society, that - in both public and private life - will increase the capacity for non-violent social resistance to the process of dehumanisation the world is undergoing and to the violence used by the State, and reinforce the humanising measures being taken by the action of these movements and organisations.

14. The Nigeria Social Forum is a process that encourages its participant organisations and movements to situate their actions, from the local level to the national level and seeking active participation in international contexts, as issues of planetary citizenship, and to introduce onto the global agenda the change-inducing practices that they are experimenting with in building a new Nigeria  in a new world in solidarity.

Adopted at the inaugural meeting of the Nigeria Social Forum (NSF) held in Lagos, Nigeria on 29th May, 2004.

 


 

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[1] The Charter of Principles of the Nigeria Social Forum is an adaptation of the Charter of Principles of the World Social Forum.

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