[DEBATE] : Boycott press release and statement
s.guttal at focusweb.org
Fri Sep 15 07:53:40 BST 2006
Apologies for cross postings
The call to boycott all official events at the World Bank-Annual Meetings
was launched at a press conference at 10.00 am today, Sept 15 in Batam,
Indonesia. Pasted below and attached is the press release for the event.
Also attached is the boycott statement with a full list of signatories.
Please distribute widely and feel free to put up in your websites. Pls also
send to as many press and media contacts as possible.
Thank you and in solidarity
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15, 2006 (Friday)
Contact: Nadia Hadad, INFID: +62-81-113-2081
Jelson Garcia, Bank Information Center: +62-85-692-464-163
CIVIL SOCIETY CALLS BOYCOTT OF IMF/WORLD BANK MEETINGS
163 Organizations from Around the World in Solidarity with Those Banned &
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
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.
Focus on the Global South (FOCUS)
c/o CUSRI, Wisit Prachuabmoh Building
Phayathai Road, Bangkok 10330
Telephone: (66-2) 218 7363/4/5
Fax: (66-2) 255 9976
E-mail: s.guttal at focusweb.org
Web Page http://www.focusweb.org
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