Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Open letter to Singapore PM on WB-IMF meeting

Participants at the SAPA (Strategic Action Planning for Advocacy) meeting in Bangkok have written an open letter to the Singapore Prime Minister to address their concerns about possible restrictions and threats (including caning for protesters) being made by Singaporean authorities regarding civil society actions at the World Bank and IMF meeting in Singapore. From FORUM-ASIA:
We consider statements such as the one reportedly made by Mr Wong Kan Seng, Singapore Home Affairs Minister, that certain civil society actions may “attract severe punishment, including caning and imprisonment”, as veiled threats towards civil society.

The World Bank – IMF meeting in September is not a meeting that concerns only Singapore. Its deliberations and decisions will affect millions of people in hundreds of countries. Hence it will bring thousands of activists from all parts of the world to Singapore, and the eyes of the world will be on this country.

This will be an excellent opportunity for Singapore to display its respect and commitment to uphold universally-recognised human rights standards, particularly freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Restrictions on peaceful civil society actions of any kind and threats of using cruel, inhumane and degrading punishments such as caning will only erode Singapore’s credibility in the eyes of global civil society.
(Thanks Alwyn Chan)

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