Civil society calls boycott of IMF/WB meetings

September 15, 2006
Singapore Democrats

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Nadia Hadad
INFID
Indonesia
15 Sept 06

163 Organizations from Around the World in Solidarity with Those Banned & Deported

Civil society organizations today announced a boycott of all official events at the IMF-World Bank Meetings in Singapore.

The boycott has been endorsed by 163 organizations from all parts of the world, and includes many organizations that have long assumed prominent roles in civil society interactions with the international financial institutions.

This call comes in response to news that the Singapore government has barred entry to a number of civil society representatives, including many who had already been accredited to attend the meetings by the IMF and World Bank.

About 20 people have been deported or “refused entry” to Singapore. The Singapore government also pressured the Riau Province (Indonesia) government to cancel alternative events on the neighboring island of Batam, but the Indonesian government has allowed them to proceed.

“Our boycott is a response to egregious hypocrisy,” said Ana Maria Nemenzo, President of the Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines, and one of those informed in advance that she would not be allowed into Singapore despite receiving accreditation to the meetings.

“While World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz prepares to launch his new good governance and anti-corruption initiative, he fails to promote those very principles for his own institution as it meets in Singapore. Civil society has long been unsatisfied with their marginalization by these institutions, but this takes that problem to a new low. The events of the last week, including the blacklisting of 28 pre-accredited civil society representatives and an unknown number of others from around the globe, expose the Bank’s failed commitment to transparency, accountability and basic civil rights. ”

Both Wolfowitz and IMF Managing Director Rodrigo Rato have said they are unhappy with the Singapore government’s actions, but the civil society organizations, which had planned on using the space in Singapore to advocate for reduced IMF/World Bank involvement in economic policy-making and in dubious infrastructure development projects, have been far from satisfied with the response.

“These institutions are most comfortable in countries without respect for civil liberties and human rights,” said Sameer Dossani of 50 Years Is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice. “They came under fire the last time they held the meetings outside Washington – in Dubai in 2003 – and could not have been in the dark about Singapore’s track record when they chose it.

Certainly the announcement in January that protesters would be caned made clear the sort of atmosphere that would surround these meetings.”

While 163 organizations have formally endorsed the boycott, a number of other organizations are supporting the effort in different ways.

Many civil society groups not on the list of endorsers, for example, have cancelled meetings that had been scheduled with the IMF and World Bank.

“The World Bank and IMF cannot escape their complicity in this draconian crackdown,” said Shalmali Guttal of the pan-Asian organization Focus on the Global South. “Not only did they knowingly choose Singapore, but Singapore’s attitudes perfectly reflect the global economic system they impose and oversee — one that benefits a few elites while condemning millions to the everyday structural violence of poverty.

Dissent and civil rights threaten elite control. Indeed, World Bank and IMF support for despotic regimes has a long, sordid history, and includes massive aid to Marcos in the Philippines, Soeharto in Indonesia and Mobutu in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo).”

Despite the Singapore government’s efforts to cancel it, the International People’s Forum Against the World Bank and IMF opens today at the Asrama Haji Center in Batam, Indonesia and continues through the 17th.

CALL FOR THE BOYCOTT OF WORLD BANK-IMF ANNUAL MEETINGS

September, 2006

We the undersigned representatives from civil society organizations and social movements call for a boycott of the official programme at the World Bank and IMF 2006 annual meetings in Singapore.

In order to stifle dissent and any possible protests at the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings, the Singapore Government has resorted to draconian security measures. These include the Singapore Government’s statement in January that protesters at the IMF and World Bank meetings would be caned, and the special surveillance measures in public and private spaces that the government has put in place specifically for the Annual Meetings.

In recent days, the Singapore Government has also applied pressure on the government of Riau Province in Indonesia to cancel the International People’s Forum scheduled to take place in Batam.

The government has also drawn up a “blacklist” of individuals who will not be allowed access to Singapore. These include civil society representatives who have already been accredited by the World bank-IMF to the Annual Meetings, as well as those who have already obtained visas, or require no visa to enter Singapore . The Singaporean government has advanced no clear or valid reason for denying these people access, nor has it publicly released the “blacklist.”

The IMF and World Bank cannot escape responsibility for recent developments.

Knowing full well the authoritarian character of the Singaporean Government, they appear to have picked Singapore as the site of their Annual Meetings because they wanted to avoid the legitimate and peaceful street protests that have been staged at earlier World Bank-IMF and World Trade Organization meetings.

The choice of Singapore as a venue for the annual meetings has been consistently criticised by civil society organizations, yet the World Bank and IMF went on with their plans.

We condemn the Singapore Government’s repressive actions, and we also condemn the World Bank and the IMF for being complicit in these actions.

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 in Singapore.

We call on all social movements, civil society organizations and networks, and individuals to uphold the rights of peoples to freedom of expression and association, and to honour this boycott by staying away from the official meetings in Singapore.

Signatories:
INFID Indonesia
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) Philippines
Jubilee South
Focus on the Global South
Solidarity Africa Network
Campagna per la Riforma Della Banca Mondiale (Reform the World Bank Campaign) – Italy
World Development Movement, UK
Jubilee USA Network

50 Years is Enough: U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice

European Network on Debt and Development (EURODAD)

Greenpeace

Friends of the Earth International

Oil Change International

The Development GAP – USA

11.11.11 Coordination of the Flemish North South Movement (CNCD) – Belgium

A SEED Europe – Netherlands

Action Aid International

Action Aid International Sierra Leone

Africa Jubilee South

African Forum on Alternatives – Senegal

Altsean – Burma

Amigos de la PAZ en COLOMBIA y en el MUNDO

AMPG – Indonesia

Asia Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JS APMDD)

Asia Center for Human Rights

AsiaDHRRA

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development

Asia Pacific Resource and Research for Women (ARROW)

Asian Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)

Asienhaus – Germany

Association “Green Alternative” – Georgia

ATTAC Japan

BanglaPraxis – Bangladesh

Bank Information Center

BankTrack – Netherlands

BARRIOS, Inc. – Philippines

Blue Planet Project, Canada

Bretton Woods Project – United Kingdom (80 th name)

Burma.Initiative Asienhaus – Germany

Campaign for the Welfare State – Norway

CARAM

CAPPA – Indonesia

CEE Bankwatch Network

CELCOR-FOE – Papua New Guinea

Center for Encounter and Active Non-Violence – Austria

Center for Environment and Development (CED) – Cameroon

Centre for Civil Society Economic Justice Project, Durban, South Africa

Centre for Sustainable Agriculture – Sri Lanka

Centre national de coopération au développement (CNCD-11.11.11) – Belgium

Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” (CSMM)

Change Maker (Bangladesh)

CHRISTIAN AID– United Kingdom

Coalition for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM)

Community Development Library – Bangladesh

Cordination Nationale des Organisations Paysannes du Mali (CNOP) – Mali

CORE Centre for Organisation Research & Education – India

Creed Alliance – Pakistan

Debt and Development Coalition Ireland

Diakonia – Sweden

Dilena Pathragoda

Documentation for Action Groups in Asia – China

Economic Justice and Development Organization (EJAD) Islamabad – Pakistan

El Grito de Los Excluidos y Excluidas de Bolivia – Bolivia

Environmental Law Center/ “Armon” – Uzbekistan

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth-Nigeria – Nigeria

EQUATIONS – India

Fair Trade and Communication – Italy

Foro Ciudadano de Participación por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos Programa del INPADE, Argentina

Food and Water Watch – United States

Forest Peoples Programme, UK

FORUM-ASIA

Foundation for Gaia – United Kingdom

Foundation for Media Alternatives – Philippines

Free Burma Coalition, Philippines

Friends of the Earth-France – France

Friends of the Earth-Netherlands – Netherlands

Friends of the Earth-US – United States

Gender Action

German NGO Working Group on the ADB – Germany

Global Concerns India

Global Exchange – USA

Grupo Reflexion Y Solidaridad Oscar A. Romero – Cuba

Halifax Initiative Coalition – Canada

Human Rights Working Group – Indonesia

International Gender and Trade Network – Asia

Indian People’s Tribunal – India

Indigenous People’s Links (PIPLinks) – United Kingdom

Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation Branch of Surabaya – Indonesia

Initiative for International Dialogue (IID) – Philippines

Institute for Global Justice (IGJ), Indonesia

International Rivers Network

Jubilee Debt Canpaign, UK and Scotland

Jubilee Kyushu on World Debt and Poverty – Japan

Jubileo Sur Americas

KALAYAAN – Philippines

KEBANI, the other direction, Kerala, India

KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives – Canada

La Via Campesina International

Labour Union Of Electricity Generating Authority Of Thailand (LUEGAT), Thailand

Labour Union Of Metropolitan Electricity Authority (LUMEA), Thailand

Labour Union Of Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (LUMWA), Thailand

Labour Union Of Provincial Electricity Authority (LUPEA), Thailand

Labour Union Of Provincial Waterworks Authority (LUPWA), Thailand

Liberia Democracy Watch – Liberia

LOKOJ Institute – Bangladesh

Manasa – India

Manthan Adhyayan Kendra – India

Miembro del Observatorio Control Interamericano de los Derechos de los Migrantes (OCIM)

Migrant Care Indonesia

Mindanao People’s Caucus – Philippines

Minlara Peace Iveaveis

Movement for National Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) – Sri Lanka

National Center for Advocacy Studies – India

National Fisheries Solidarity – Sri Lanka

National Society of Conservationists/Friends of the Earth-Hungary – Hungary

NGO Forum on ADB

Observatorio de la Deuda – Spain

Odhikar

Officeshyuwa Think Net Field, Tokyo, Japan

Open Space, India

Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign – Palestine

PAPDA, Haiti

Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) – Philippines

Peasant Information Centre – Sri Lanka

Perceptions – India

PGFTU – Palestine

Programa Democracia y Transformación Global – Peru

Proyecto Gato – Belgium

PSI-Thai Affiliates Council (PTAC)

PSI-Thai Affiliates Council (PTAC) – Thailand

PSI-Thai Affiliates Council (PTAC), Thailand

Public Utilities Protection Network (PUPN)

Public Utilities Protection Network (PUPN)

Rede Social de Justica e Direitos Humanos – Brazil

REDES-Amigos de la Tierra – Uruguay

Rainforest Action Network – USA

Reseau Foi and Justice, Antenne de France – France

River Basin Friends – India

Rural Reconstruction Nepal

Sanlakas – Philippines

Savisthri Women’s Network – Sri Lanka

South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication -SAAPE

Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI) – Kenya

Sri Lankan Working Group on Trade and IFIs, Sri Lanka

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) Malaysia

Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, USA

Svaraj – India

Tanzanian Coalition for Sustainable Development – Tanzania

Terre des Hommes-France – France

The Berne Declaration – Switzerland

The Bretton Woods Project, UK

The Corner House – United Kingdom

The Council of Canadians – Canada

The Ecological Society Green Salvation – Kazakhstan

Think Center , Singapore

Trade Union Centre – Sri Lanka

Trade Union Centre, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Unnayan Shahojogy Team (Bangladesh)

WALHI/Friends of the Earth-Indonesia – Indonesia

Winnipeg Burma Roundtable – Canada

World Economy, Ecology, and Development (WEED) – Germany

World Forum of Fisher People

D R Jayatilake, Peasant Information Centre, Kurunegala, Sri Lanka

Denis Brutus, professor emeritus, University Pittsburgh, Jubilee South Africa, Jubilee South Africa

Hector F. Aguilar, CIRES-ILCIHB República Bolivariana de Venezuela

Herman Kumara, National Fisheries Solidarity, Negombo, Sri Lanka

Linus Jayatilake, Trade Union Centre, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Prof. H Sriyananda, Open University, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Dr. Lionel weerakoon, centre for sustainable agriculture, Sri Lanka

Mailie La Zarr – United States

Maurice Andre – France

Padma Pushpakanthi, Savisthri Women’s Network, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Prof. H Sriyananda, Open University, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Raja Kumar – India

Thomas Kocherry, World Forum of Fisher People

T. Cassidy – United States

Titi Soentoro – Thailand

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163 Organizations

15 Individuals

As of September 13 5:00 pm Indonesia Time