ASIA-PACIFIC NETWORK OF ENVIRONMENT DEFENDERS LAUNCHED AMID POLICE CRACKDOWN VS IMF-WORLD BANK COUNTER CONFERENCE IN BALI, INDONESIA
October 12, 2018
The Asia Pacific Network of Environment Defenders (APNED) officially launched its formation amid a siege by Indonesian police and public authorities against the People’s Global Conference Against IMF-World Bank (PGC), the CSO-led parallel activity to the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank happening from October 9 to 14, 2018 in Bali, Indonesia where APNED is participating.
The APNED is a regional campaign solidarity network founded by 45 civil society groups and peoples’ organization across 13 countries united in defending and reclaiming the rights of environment defenders, and their communities to life and the right to live in harmony with nature. The launch was held under the auspices of the PGC to highlight the impacts of IMF-World Bank investments to human rights and the environment.The PGC has been experiencing continuous harassments and threats from Indonesian police and authorities since last week:
●Late last week, the Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI), the contracted venue of the PGC is cancelling the event allegedly due to some “urgent renovations”, but organizers found out later that the local police has been intervening and has been harassing the RRI administration to not allow the event;
●With negotiations and further pressure, the police agreed for the PGC to proceed with RRI but last minute on October 10,the RRI cancelled again and this time with intervention from the national police;
●PGC organizers able to secure a hotel to transfer the activity, but in the morning of October 11, the hotel cancelled again the event claiming the event needs to have a permit from the national police;
●Also on October 10, the office of Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation -Bali (YLBHI-Bali), one of the local organizers of PGC affiliated with APNED, was attacked by community militia, scaring away the volunteers and staff helping out with the PGC;
●With the current events, PGC delegates decided to conduct a protest action inside the Bali International Convention Center where the IMF-World Bank meetings are being conducted where they also, in particular, international delegates, experienced harassment in the form of non-uniform men constantly taking photos without consent.
APNED defenders in Indonesia aimed to highlight the harassment, denial of proper consultation, and other human rights violations perpetrated against local Bali communities opposing the expansion of the 380-megawatt Celuka Bawang coal-fired power plant. The drive for coal is pushed by aggressively expanding tourism infrastructure development in the island, including a $16-million tourism infrastructure project payrolled by IMF-World Bank itself.
The PGC is being organized by local and international organizations to raise the local issues and impacts brought upon by IMF and World Bank investments in their countries. The continuing harassments that the PGC and its delegates are experiencing from the Indonesian police is a concrete violation of people’s right and and an expression of how afraid the IMF-World Bank and the Indonesian government to expose the violations committed to the environment and the communities.
Delegates came from all over the world to raise concerns on environmental and socio-economic impacts of IMF-World Bank investments to their communities. This include indigenous and environment defenders that are set to publicly launch APNED in the PGC’s OpenSpace activities, but due to recent events, the launch was affected as well as the conduct of the whole PGC program.Despite repression, PGC delegates including the APNED and their supporters are high in spirit and are ready to continue the fight and demand upholding of people’s democratic rights, and freedom of expression and assembly.
We will not be silenced. Environment defenders are united and one in the struggle. We will not let the IMF-World Bank’s neoliberal globalization go unpunished.##DefendersUnite #StopTheAttacks #StopThePlunder #BubarkanIMFWB