Sunday, September 10, 2006

IMF and World Bank rebuke Singapore

The Singapore government has said that it will shoot violent protestors. Let’s hope that this is an empty threat and that, for everyone’s sake, the authorities practice proper restraint.

IMF and World Bank rebuke Singapore
Financial Times
By John Burton in Singapore and Shawn Donnan in Jakarta
Published: September 8 2006

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank on Friday issued an unprecedented rebuke to Singapore over a ban on accredited activists invited to attend the annual meetings of the two financial institutions next week.

The IMF/World Bank suggested that Singapore had violated the terms of its agreement to host the event by blocking the entry of 19 civil society representatives, who allegedly posed a security threat.

"Singapore had promised to faciliate the entry of accredited representatives under the memorandum of understanding with us," a World Bank official said. The IMF/World Bank was only informed this week of Singapore's plans.
Article continued:

The crackdown is part of tough security measures that Singapore will implement during the September 11-20 meetings. The government will also ban all outdoor demonstrations and has warned it will shoot at violent protesters, citing the threat of terrorist attacks.

The incident represents a setback to the IMF/World Bank, which has sought to improve relations with non-governmental organisations that have accused them of conducting policies that have ignored the plight of the world's poor. A record 500 NGO representatives are accredited to attend this year's meeting...

Some NGOs alleged that the IMF/World Bank, which holds its annual meetings outside Washington every three years, had selected Singapore as the venue for this year's meeting because of its authoritarian reputation. Previous IMF/World Bank meetings have been marred by violent protests...

Among those banned by Singapore were representatives from the UK-based World Development Movement, Thailand's Focus on the Global South, the Freedom from Debt Coalition in the Philippines and the Forum on Indonesian Development (Infid).

The IMF/World Bank said these "individuals have been cleared to attend the annual meetings by their respective governments and we have accredited them according to our standard procedure."

"We strongly urge the Singapore government to act swiftly and reverse their decision on entry and access to the meetings for these representatives," the IMF/World Bank said in a joint statement…

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