22 of the 27 Civil Society Organisation (CSO) representatives will now be allowed to enter Singapore for the IMF/World Bank meetings.But this surprising reversal from Singapore has come a little too late. From Bangkok Post:
The move comes after Singapore reviewed its decision based on input provided by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
However, the remaining five will still be subjected to interviews and may not be let in, if they attempt to enter the country.
In response, the World Bank says it is pleased with the Singapore government's decision.
It says it is notifying those affected of their change in status.
But it continues to urge Singapore to allow all persons accredited for the meetings to enter the country.
"Expensive travel plans have already been undone, and many CSOs are unable to fly to Singapore on a moment's notice," said Romilly Greenhill, senior policy analyst for Action Aid International.World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz had said earlier that Singapore's decision to ban accredited activists ahead of the World Bank and IMF meeting violated a previous agreement. He also called Singapore authoritarian. From Reuters:
"This gesture is, quite simply, too little too late," Greenhill said...
"The damage has been done," said Eric Gutierrez, international policy coordinator for the same group.
Positive reactions were also absent from the hundreds of activists on the Indonesian island of Batam, where CSOs opted to hold a forum after Singapore prohibited the gathering, as well as all outdoor activities, in the interests of security and preventing the violence that took place at the 2005 World Trade Organization Meeting in Hong Kong.
"I think the government really owes us an explanation for why there was a blacklist in the first place," Shalmali Guttal of Focus on the Global South said.
"Enormous damage has been done and a lot of that damage is done to Singapore and self-inflicted. This could have been an opportunity for them to showcase to the world their development process," Wolfowitz said in response to questions from civil society organizations at a town hall meeting in Singapore.(Thanks Mr Big, piperlee)
"I would argue whether it has to be as authoritarian as it has been and I would certainly argue that at the stage of success they have reached, they would do much better for themselves with a more visionary approach to the process."
Previously: Singapore breaks protest deal