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Singaporean government intensifies crackdown on civil society

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The Singaporean government plans to bar the entry of a number of civil society members accredited by the IMF and World Bank to engage them during their meetings in Singapore. FORUM-ASIA is extremely alarmed at these reports, and urges the Singaporean government to allow these accredited civil society representatives to enter the country and engage with the IMF and World Bank as originally planned.FORUM-ASIA is extremely alarmed at the reports that the Singaporean government now plans to block the entry of civil society members who have been accredited by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank into Singapore to attend their annual meetings to be held from 19–20 September in Singapore.

Despite repeated requests by civil society groups all over the world and even the World Bank, Singaporean authorities earlier imposed severe restrictions on peaceful activities by civil society activists in relation to the meetings, which then compelled activists to seek alternative venues. The only concession made at that time by Singaporean authorities was that those accredited by the IMF and World Bank would be allowed to participate in activities at the venue of the actual meetings. However even this is being reneged.

We understand from the IMF and World Bank that these individuals have been cleared to attend the Annual Meetings by their respective governments and that they have been accredited according to standard procedures. Blocking the participation of such individuals based on purely speculative grounds is completely unacceptable. The IMF and World Bank have also highlighted that such a course of action would not be consistent with the Memorandum of Understanding between the IMF-World Bank and the host government.

Civil society have already been marginalised from the annual meetings through restrictions on indoor activities by non-Singaporeans and a total ban on peaceful outdoor activities.

We call on the Singaporean government to allow all the civil society representatives accredited by the World Bank and IMF to enter Singapore and participate in the annual meetings at the minimum.


For more information, please contact Ruki Fernando, Coordinator of Human Rights Defenders Programme of FORUM-ASIA (+66-4-0991538 / [email protected]).