Friends of the Earth State:Singaporean Crackdown Jeopardizes World Bank Credibility
SINGAPORE - September 14 - The World Bank's credibility is in jeopardy. Most of the 500 campaigners accredited to attend the Sept. 19-20 Singapore World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings, usually attended by hundreds of campaigners, will boycott their meetings with the Bank.
As of today, the boycott that Friends of the Earth International and others called for has been joined by more than 80 social, environmental and small farmers' organizations from around the world.
They will boycott all meetings planned with the World Bank in Singapore, to protest the city-state's expulsion and ban of international activists who were officially accredited by the World Bank to attend the meetings.
"The World Bank's demand to Singapore to accept the banned campaigners is too little and comes way too late. The Bank ignored calls not to choose Singapore for its Annual Meeting while knowing that a ban on protests was likely to be put in place. What is happening in Singapore is another blow to the little that was left of the World Bank's credibility" said Longgena Ginting, who coordinates Friends of the Earth International's Financial Institutions campaign.
Singaporean authorities set up a list of at least 28 people to be banned from Singapore because they would pose a 'security risk'. These campaigners were accredited by the IMF and World Bank.
"In solidarity with those denied entry into Singapore and denied the exercise of their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and association, we will stay away from all meetings and seminars in the official programme at the World Bank and IMF 2006 annual meetings," the groups said in a joint statement.
Friends of the Earth International considers the Singaporean government's ban a grave violation of the principles of democracy and good governance.
CASES OF DEPORTATIONS AND DETENTIONS:
Chona Ramos from GCAP Asia and Booby Diciembre from Jubilee South , who were organizing the International Peoples's Forum (a Sept. 15-17 event due to take place in Batam, Indonesia, in parallel to the World Bank/IMF meetings) have been deported from Singapore. Filomeno Santa Ana, an established economist and academic on development finance and economic governance from the Philippines is currently being detained by the Singaporean immigration authorities at Changi international airport, as is a representative of ActionAid Vietnam.