Activists to mount global protests versus IMF-WB

August 31, 2006
Singapore Democrats

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Freedom from Debt Coalition
31 Aug 06
http://qc.indymedia.org/news/2006/08/8290.php

Various movents, networks, non-governmental organizations and local community groups from seventy-four countries will dramatize these protests in an internationally-coordinated event, dubbed “Global Actions against International Financial Institutions (IFIs)” on September 14-20, in time for the Annual and Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund – World Bank Group in Singapore next month, said Lidy Nacpil of the Jubilee South.

Social movements and citizens groups worldwide have pledged to mount vigorous actions against the role, policies and operations of two of the most influential and powerful institutions in the world, according to an international anti-debt movement.

Various movements, networks, non-governmental organizations and local community groups from seventy-four countries will dramatize these protests in an internationally-coordinated event, dubbed “Global Actions against International Financial Institutions (IFIs)” on September 14-20, in time for the Annual and Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund – World Bank Group in Singapore next month, said Lidy Nacpil of the Jubilee South.

“The culprits are coming back to the scene of the crime,” said Nacpil, referring to the “mess” these institutions, particularly the IMF, created during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which brought down the economies of several countries in the region.

“There is no debate among progressive movements and groups that the IMF and the World Bank cannot be allowed to operate the way they have been doing for over 60 years. Profound, if not radical, changes have to take place,” Nacpil said, adding:

“These changes cannot happen without the active public intervention and pressure on these institutions as well as on the governments that control them.”

Nacpil also revealed that a total of 350 organizations from 74 countries have already signed their statement and call for a week-long global actions against IFIs.

Wilson Fortaleza of the Freedom from Debt Coalition – Philippines said the IMF and the World Bank, as well as its regional counterparts, have miserably failed to address global poverty.

“Their imposed programs and policies on the peoples of the South have induced poverty, not reduce it,” stressed Fortaleza, adding: “That is why we are encouraging everyone to organize different forms of protests and direct actions in their respective countries against these institutions.”

Fortaleza stressed that their demands include:

Immediate and 100 percent cancellation of multilateral debts as part of the total cancellation of debts claimed from the South without externally imposed conditionalities;

Open, transparent and participatory External Audit of the lending operations and related policies of the International Financial Institutions, beginning with the World Bank and the IMF; and,

Stop the imposition of conditions and promotion of neo-liberal policies and projects.

IPF vs IMF-WB

As the IMF and the World Bank are scheduled to hold their meetings at Suntec, Singapore, civil society organizations (CSOs) are also organizing a parallel venue where activists can hold their own activities and actions that articulate critiques, express protest and assert alternatives to the role, policies and operations of these institutions, Nacpil said.

With more than 30 international and regional organizations convening the forum, the IPF will be held in Asrama Hajji Center, JL Engku Putri Batam Centre, Proponsi Kepulauan Riav, Batam Island, Indonesia. The site is a 40-minute ferry ride from Singapore.

Activities in the IPF include: plenary sessions in the mornings; seminars, workshops and strategy meetings in the afternoons; and, cultural and multi-media events in the evenings.

There will be special events on the 17th of September: Plenary Session on Illegitimate Debt; and, the Asian People’s Tribunal on Poverty and Debt.

A march/rally is scheduled at the IPF site as well as in Singapore on September 18, a day before the two-day formal plenary session of the IMF-WB Annual Meeting in Suntec, Singapore.