Civil Society Performs “Die-In” Protest to Condemn Delay and Destruction of Meaningful TRIPS Waiver inside the WTO 12th Ministerial

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 15, 2022
Contact: Melanie Foley, mfoley@citizen.org

Geneva, Switzerland — Today, a group of civil society working together through the global Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network, performed a die-in protest to condemn delay and destruction of the TRIPS waiver, which would temporarily waive intellectual property monopoly barriers blocking the production of COVID-19 vaccines tests and treatments around the world. One by one, activists “died” as they explained how the European Union, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States have chipped away at a meaningful waiver, leading to ongoing deaths around the world.

A facebook live video will be available here: https://www.facebook.com/owinfs

A facebook live feed of all actions this week can be seen at the same page. And video and quotes from Sunday’s CSO press briefing can be seen at https://ourworldisnotforsale.net/2022-06-12_briefing

Free-use photos available here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1vAIVUQzHxymQml4NDnk2bu7-17LWVTgW

Over 50 civil society experts – trade unionists, farmers, development advocates, and consumer activists – from more than 23 countries have traveled to Geneva for the 12th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as part of the global Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS) network. Civil society delegates are at the WTO from: India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Pacific Islands, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Morocco, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, USA, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK.

Groups put an NGO statement on the WTO decision to retract their previously granted access to the Ministerial Conference on its opening day on 12 June 2022. Their press conference on 12 June can be viewed here. And a media availability list of NGO experts, many of whom are in Geneva for MC12, is available here. These and many other documents of analysis by CSOs are available here: https://ourworldisnotforsale.net/MC12.

On the TRIPS waiver on intellectual property rules to save lives during the Covid pandemic, civil society leaders urged countries to reject the counter-proposal DG text with its onerous new TRIPS+ provisions which would actually add new obligations to TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) on developing countries rather than save lives.

They also demanded a permanent solution to public stockholding, so that developing countries can achieve food security through increased production. They urged delegates to reject the anti-development fisheries text that is on the table, and to start again with a pro-development proposals. And they condemned the Green Room tactics and false promise of “WTO Reform” which is actually a developed country agenda to abandon multilateralism, consensus, and development architecture of the WTO. See https://ourworldisnotforsale.net/MC12 for analysis.

Chants from Demonstrators: 

It’s 2022
The third year of the pandemic
And still no affordable access
To vaccines, treatments and tests
As common public goods.

And at WTO
Still no TRIPS waiver
The fake waiver on the table
Fulfilling big pharma’s dreams
Is not what the world needs

The EU has been blocking
The real waiver
That India and South Africa proposed
And over 60 countries cosponsored.

The UK and Switzerland
Are making the bad text even worse

The United States
Said it supports the waiver
But has done NOTHING to achieve it.

Those who delayed
And watered down the waiver
Have blood on their hands

*Demonstrator dies*

A real TRIPS waiver
Covers vaccines, treatments and diagnostics
Covers all forms of IP

*Demonstrator dies*

No TRIPS+ conditions
No necessity tests
No notification requirements
No countries excluded
Allow all re-exports
Let non-WTO members benefit
10 years is the minimum

*Demonstrator dies*

WTO members:
Stand up to pharma!
And walk away!
Walk away!
From the DG’s text
It’s not a real waiver.

*Demonstrator dies*

COVID is not over
It continues to kill.
It continues to mutate.
While big pharma profits.

*Demonstrator dies*

People in the North
Have had multiple shots
And can get treatments
But in the South
COVID is likely
To be a death sentence.

*Demonstrator dies*

It’s 2022
The third year of the pandemic
And still no affordable access
To vaccines, treatments and tests
As common public goods.

*Demonstrator dies*

And now a moment of silence
And now a moment of silence
For the ongoing deaths
Caused by delay
Of a real TRIPS waiver!

*Moment of silence*

Bell to end the silence