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News :: Globalization : Human Rights : International
Civil society groups denounce Singapore government, IMF-WB for barring activists
13 Sep 2006
Jubilee South and the Freedom from Debt Coalition of the Philippines, two of the proponents and lead organizers of the International Peoples Forum vs the IMF and World Bank, denounce the latest move of the Singapore government to prevent the exercise of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.
Click on image for a larger version

Philippine-Protest-vs-WB.jpg
The Freedom from Debt Coalition and its President, Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, has been named by the Singapore government as one of at least 20 organizations and representatives in a list of those prohibited from entering Singapore.

Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South said that the eventual number of banned organizations and representatives is likely to be far longer than 20.

“The named organizations and individuals received accreditation from the World Bank and IMF early in the process. Others who were notified of their accreditation just recently may also suffer the same fate. Furthermore, the list furnished to the World Bank by the Singapore government includes only those who have received accreditation. We also suspect that other participants of the International Peoples Forum who did not apply for accreditation for the official events may likewise be barred from entry to Singapore,” Nacpil said.

The Singapore government also exerted pressure on the local authorities of Batam to prohibit the International Peoples Forum vs the IMF and WB from taking place in Batam, a city of Indonesia that is 45 minutes by ferry from Singapore.

According to Nacpil: “We decided to hold the IPF in Batam because we already anticipated that the Singapore government would not allow such a gathering. The IPF would be a convergence of activities such as workshops, seminars, forums and outdoor peaceful actions such as a public concert. These activities are not even unusual in most countries. We were astounded by the arrogance of the Singapore government in attempting to intervene in the policies of another country. Obviously the leverage used was its huge economic presence in Batam. We welcome the recent move of the national government of Indonesia to allow the IPF to take place in Batam. But Singapore pressure has already cost us – the permission from the Government of Indonesia comes with the restriction that no outdoor activities will be allowed.”

The IMF and WB have expressed their concern about the Singapore ban on accredited civil society representatives. But there are mounting voices of dissatisfaction over the response of these institutions.

“To begin with, the IMF-WB should not have chosen Singapore as a venue of its Annual Meeting,” Nacpil said, adding: “They cannot shirk away from bearing part of the responsibility for these serious violations of basic civil rights. The appropriate response now should be the cancellation of the IMF and WB meeting in Singapore unless all the accredited participants are allowed entry.”

Meanwhile, Jubilee South clarified that the event in Batam is just one of the activities included in the calendar of the week-long internationally coordinated global actions against IFIs. More than 400 organizations from 74 countries worldwide already signed are ready to mount colorful and creative activities and protest actions, most of which will take place from September 14-20.

“These attempts to curtail the voices and initiatives of social movements and NGOs ban will surely lead to more intensified actions in these 74 countries,” said Wilson Fortaleza, Vice President of the Freedom from Debt Coalition.

“Here in the Philippines we have scheduled several mobilizations these coming days, including a picket tomorrow at the World Bank Forum on Corruption and Good Governance at the Shangrila Hotel in Makati. Up next would be the Singapore Embassy,” Fortaleza said.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2006

http://www.freedomfromdebtcoalition.org



1st set of Phootos: 12 Sept 06 - Protest against WB at Makati Shangri-la
2nd set of Phootos: 13 Sept 06 - Picket at Indonesian Embassy
3rd set of Phootos: 13 Sept 06 - Picket at Singaporean Embassy

[_0_]] More Photos: http://www.freedomfromdebtcoalition.org/gallery/



_________________________________________________

STATEMENT by Ana Maria R. Nemenzo

President of Freedom from Debt Coalition

News has reached me in the Netherlands that I have been banned by the Singapore authorities from entering their country to attend the WB-IMF Annual Meetings "based on security and law and order considerations." This, despite my accreditation as a representative of the Freedom from Debt Coalition.

I strongly protest this action, and find the reasons behind it most vexing, if not ridiculous. This exposes the anti-democratic character of the Singapore regime that has been chosen by the WB-IMF as the host country. Rather than eliminate them, the ban in fact will invite more protests. The Singapore authorities should save itself from further embarrassment.

This incident challenges WB-IMF rhetoric on openness to dialogue with civil society organizations and good governance.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2006

http://www.freedomfromdebtcoalition.org
Click on image for a larger version

Picket-Indonesian-Embassy.JPG
Click on image for a larger version

Picket-Singapore-Embassy.JPG
See also:
http://www.freedomfromdebtcoalition.org
http://www.freedomfromdebtcoalition.org/gallery/

This work is in the public domain
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