Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Outdoor Protests, Part 2

Singapore, which is hosting the IMF/World Bank meet, is hogging the headlines for the wrong reasons.

There has been a growing call for Singapore to soften its stance on protesters. Singapore has so far barred 28 out of 500 protesters accredited by the two organisations from entering the country on security grounds.

Even the European Union has jumped into the fray, urging Singapore not to bar the activists.

According to a Reuters report out of Brussels, a statement from the Finnish EU Presidency said the activists had been accredited by the World Bank and should have the right to participate.

"The Presidency of the European Union is worried about the decision of the Singaporean authorities," it said. "The Presidency considers civil society participation an indispensable part of the World Bank and IMF Annual meetings."

The World Bank in a separate statement again urged the city-state to allow the activists into the country, saying the move by the Singapore government was a breach of an earlier agreement.

"This is a breach of the formal agreement we had with the government of Singapore, in a September 23, 2003 memorandum of understanding," an aide to World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said in a statement.

"We work with these representatives of civil society and we value their role -- even when we disagree with what they say," the World Bank said in the statement.

Singapore is not expected to back down. Furthermore, daddy understands that Singapore pledged 'reasonable' access to demonstrators in the MOU. The MOU didn't spell out all the terms that were deemed reasonable for protesters.

Obviously, Singapore has a narrower definition of what is deemed reasonable for demonstrators, activists or protesters in the country.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

lau kwee lah! hey u saw my unfinished piece!

Anonymous said...

now u can read!!

silver surfer said...

no man is an island unto itself, each is a part of mankind. every parting diminishes the whole. so, do not send to find out for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee (john donne). singapore, awake !! do not imagine the restrictions for your comfort, they diminish our freedom and liberty