WTO approves Pirate Party observers at Bali conference
Headquartered in Brussels, NGO Pirate Parties International
represents members from 43 different countries worldwide. The
umbrella organization gathers the national pirate parties which
lobby for civil rights, freedom of information, direct democracy
and reform of copyright and patent law.
The World Trade Organization, which handles international trade
issues, has granted the NGO observer status, meaning it can send a delegation of
up to four people to the conference in Bali to lobby for the
goals of the international pirate parties movement.
Held every two years, the WTO Ministerial Conference is the supreme body of the organization, where decisions are made on commercial treaties.
“We are excited about the opportunity to reach out to the
participants of the WTO ministerial conference and provide them
with insights from those parts of the civil society that are
rarely represented at international summits,” PPI co-chairman
Gregory Engels said in a statement on the NGO’s website.
PPI has two primary issues which it will be advocating for at the
Dec. 3-6 conference: the signing of an international treaty
against surveillance, and the inclusions of provisions for free
licenses in the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property
Rights (TRIPS) treaty, according to a statement published on its
The US has repeatedly stood in the way of PPI of observer status
with the WTO, rejecting its application for admittance as a
permanent member in September. The World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO) has also rejected its observer status, after
complaints in September from Swiss, French and US delegations to
the organization were among those expressing concerns that they
don't support WIPO's mission.
Engels says he hopes that this will set the group on the path to
acceptance at other international organizations, such as WIPO.
“One of WIPO’s points of critique was that they were not aware
of any existing cooperation between UN bodies and international
political organizations. By being admitted to the WTO meeting we
have created such a precedent. This is definitely a door opener
for us,” Engels told TorrentFreak. He added that they had
already sent in a new application.
After the launch of the first Pirate Party in Sweden in 2006, the
movement spread worldwide and now encompasses countries such as
Iceland, Morocco, the UK and China. In this year’s German
elections, nearly 1 million people voted for the Pirate Party,
while in Iceland, the organization has three MPs in Parliament.
The Swedish Pirate Party also has two members of the European