Non-governmental organizations are calling for clear consequences
Late last week the Singapore government banned over 20 representatives of development NGOs from entering the country during the WB / IMF annual meeting. The authorities cited threats to national security and the law and order as the reason.
“Such accusations are completely untenable and only serve to suppress critical expression of opinion and peaceful protest,” criticized Knud Vöcking von Urgewald. “In the Singapore press, Walden Bello was explicitly denounced as a potential violent criminal. Bello is one of those who has promoted the dialogue between civil society and the World Bank for years.”
In a letter (see below) to World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and IMF Director Rodrigo de Rato, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) demand clear consequences from the Singapore government’s refusal to grant properly accredited NGO representatives access to the IMF World Bank annual meeting. It is not enough to pay lip service to ‘good governance’ and democracy. “Such a violation of fundamental democratic rights cannot simply be accepted. If the entry ban is not lifted and all accredited NGOs are granted unhindered access, there must be no ‘business as usual’. Serious consideration must be given to the meeting not taking place this way allow.” Asks Daniela Setton from WEED. “If the World Bank is serious about dialogue and good governance,
There are indications that in addition to the entry ban for 19 representatives from INFID (Indonesia), CRBM, Freedom from Debt Coalition (Philippines), World Development Movement (UK) and Focus on the Global South, other NGO representatives will also not be issued visas for Singapore . “If the World Bank and the IMF give a police state the contract for the annual conference, then they must not be surprised if agreements are broken,” says Knud Vöcking. “What is particularly embarrassing for the World Bank is that good governance is one of the main themes of the conference.”
Just last week, the World Bank named Singapore the No. 1 company location in the world. “This shows where the World Bank really sets its priorities. Where democracy is suppressed in order not to hinder investment, tolerance must stop.” Asks Setton.
- Knud Vöcking, Urgewald, 0171 2832408
- Daniela Setton, WEED, 0179 7102094 (reachable in Singapore / Batam from 14/9 – 21/9)
- Ann Kathrin Schneider, International Rivers, 0163 475 1284