World Bank/IMF: Singapore Government deports 23 activists, Annual Meeting mired in controversy

Singapore Government deports Indian activist and 22 others. World Bank/IMF Annual Meeting mired in controversy
The Singapore Government yesterday (13 September 06) deported Wilfred D'Costa and 22 others, who were in Singapore to attend the joint Annual Meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (September 13-19). D'Costa is the General Secretary of Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), which is a network of over 600 member organizations across India that works to 'resist globalisation, combat communalism and defend democracy'. He is based in Ahmedabad.

More than 16,000 delegates are expected to attend the week-long meetings in the island state. Singapore has already received considerable bad press for prohibiting protests and refusing to grant entry to some 28 activists whom the World Bank and IMF had accredited to attend the civil society events surround the annual meeting.

D'Costa was not aware that his name was on the blacklist. He has a 2-year multiple entry visa to Singapore but was detained by Singapore immigration authorities for 5 hours when he landed there on a Jet Airways flight early Wednesday morning. 'I was questioned by over fifteen Singapore airport police, my baggage rummaged through five times and several documents I had were photocopied. Publications on water privatization that I was carrying to distribute at meetings were confiscated', said D'Costa after arriving in Mumbai on the return Jet Airways flight.

D'Costa said he was not allowed to use the phone or the Internet. Authorities took his pictures and fingerprints and issued him a 'Notice of Refusal of Entry No. CA024424' citing that he was ineligible for the issue of a pass under current immigration rules. After which he was made to wait in a lock-up manned by Singapore Airport police for 6 hours. His visa was cancelled and he was made to board the Jet Airways flight to Mumbai through the backdoor.

'India is among the World Banks biggest clients and its policies and programmes have a devastating impact on the poor in India. The fact that the World Bank chose Singapore, which has a poor record of democracy and human rights, is a sign of its commitment to these issues and willingness to listen to critics. I equally blame the World Bank and IMF for the curtailment of my democratic rights. It clearly exposes the hollowness of the Banks good governance rhetoric', said D'Costa.

For more information contact Benny Kuruvilla at bennyk@focusweb.org
and +91.9820181191.
Wilfred D'Costa can be contacted at willyindia@gmail.com
and
+91.9825171919

Benny Kuruvilla
Focus on the Global South - India
A-201, Kailash Apartments
Juhu Church Road
Juhu, Mumbai - 400049
India
Tel:91.22.55821141/55821151
Tel Fax: 91.22.26254347
Email: bennyk@focusweb.org
Website: http://www.focusweb.org