World Bank Watch: Some quick updates on Batam and Singapore

Dear Friends,

Hope all are well. I am sure you have all seen the various emails flying around with information about the International Peoples' Forum (IPF) events in Batam Indonesia being cancelled, etc. Here is the latest information:

Because of pressure from the Indonesian cabinet (which came from pressure by Indonesian CSOs and movements), the Indonesian police has agreed to issue permit for the IPF in Batam. However, they have placed a LOT of restrictions. For e.g., the IPF can only be held for three days, no outside events like concerts, theatre, marches, etc. Plus the security risk has definitely increased because there are so called local "NGOs" who are tied with singaporean investors and the military, who had always opposed the IPF, and may now try and disrupt events through the usual means....

Singapre government has told the IMF-WB that there are 20 people whose participation in the WB-IMF annual meetings they object to because of "security and law and order considerations." All these 20 people are accredited to the WB-IMF official events. My name is on this list. I took accreditation because I wanted a visa. I never had any intention of going to the WB-IMF events, but the Sing govt does not know that! I even got my visa three weeks ago with no problem at all. So this blacklist must be a recent one.

The others on this blacklist are members from INFID (Indonesia), Freedom from Debt Coalition (Philippines) CRBM (Italy) and World Development Movement (UK). More might be added, who knows.

None of us were contacted by the Sing govt. But the WB-IMF civil society liaison contacted some of us and told us about this and that they have lodged a formal protest to the Sing govt about this... I don't know what the blacklist actually means--will they turn us away if we land in Singapore? Will they arrest us? No idea!!!

Our friends in the UK and Italy have gone to their govts and demanded that their Govts formally object to the blacklist. I don't want to do this with the Indian Govt because we are in battle with them about the way they collude and collaborate with the IFIs. So it seems a bit weird to me to then go to them for help... In any case, the blacklist is actually good for publicity and for us to draw attention to lack of democracy, etc etc...

What do you all think: should I make a fuss with the GoI? Or shall I let it be? It would be good for us to have a statement from India objecting to the entire blacklist development (not just for me). What do you think?

Do please get back to me as soon as you can with your views. And I willl keep updating you as things develop.

In solidarity, Shalmali Guttal

Shalmali Guttal
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