Activists say might take legal action against Singapore
By Koh Gui Qing
BATAM, Indonesia (Reuters) - Activists are considering legal action against Singapore, accusing the government of violating human rights after police held members incommunicado before deporting them, an activist said on Saturday.
Lidy Nacpil said several NGOs that gathered on the Indonesian island of Batam are considering taking legal action in international courts or appealing to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
Singapore, which is hosting the annual World Bank-IMF meetings, initially blacklisted more than two dozen activists who had been accredited to attend the event.
The government said late on Friday that it would allow 22 of the 27 blacklisted activists to enter, following strong criticism of its actions by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
"The point is we have to show that we are serious, that they can't get away with this," Nacpil said on the sidelines of a three-day forum in Batam, a short boat ride from Singapore.
"We are still in the exploratory stage as to what our options are," added Nacpil, international coordinator of Jubilee South, a network of non-governmental organizations.
She said NGOs including Jubilee South and the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) were discussing the "appropriate action" to take.
"The fact is that they detained all these people without giving them a chance to inform their colleagues or their family" or to make any telephone calls, she said.
Singapore police declined to comment.
Jakarta-based INFID is an umbrella group of more than 100 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Indonesia and abroad. The group lobbies governments on issues affecting Indonesia.
© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.
All this, in the full glare of the international limelight, with every major news outlet keenly following everything going on in the light of the World Bank/IMF meeting?
Well done, Singapore.
Yawning Bread is right, it really and truly is embarrasing to be a Singaporean.