Int’l rural peoples movement slams Widodo’s Bali crackdown

The Peoples’ Coalition on Food Sovereignty condemned the Widodo government’s continuing attacks on the Peoples Global Conference in Bali, Indonesia. The Coalition said that despite securing permits and holding dialogues, the Widodo government canceled their permit yet again. The venue of the said event also canceled without warning under an unclear pretext.

On Monday, the Peoples Global Conference, an independent initiative of peoples movement and institutions against IMF-WB, protested the canceling of their permit along with the banning of all public activities in Bali, in time for the start of the IMF-WB Annual meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali. After a dialog with the police officials, the permit was given back but yesterday the permit was yet again revoked by the police.

The PGC was supposed to start today with an open for public Open Space event and continue with the Plenary on October 12-13. The Open Space Event of the Conference was canceled today due to the second permit cancellation.

The PGC also revealed in a press release that terror-tagging posters, implicating the event,were also being circulated online and delegates received threatening text messages that admonishes them to desist.

“This is deplorable! Despite all the rhetoric of inclusivity and investing in human capital, the Widodo government and the IMF-WB have continued to attack our conference. Why is Widodo so adamant to stifle dissent? This government so afraid of its farmers and fishers airing their grievances on the massive land and resource grabbing to the world,” said Roy Anunciacion, PCFS global secretariat.

More than a hundred international delegates and hundreds of local activists are set to takepart in the PGC. The event was set to hold a meeting of about 50 civil society organizations and peoples movements from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe to discuss the impacts of the IMF-WB policies in their countries and regions.

One controversial topic to be discussed is the role of the IMF-WB on the massive land and resource grabbing in the global south including Indonesia. Farmers, indigenous peoples, peasant women, and fishers from Kenya, Bolivia, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Cambodia, and the Philippines will also share their country’s rural struggles.

“This government is hellbent on keeping the public and the world in the dark about its massive land deals for oil palm plantations, the continuing burning of forests, its multi-billion investments in dirty coal power plants, and the rampant killings of land and environment defenders!” said Anunciacion.

A World Bank report noted that 90% of investments in Indonesia in 2017 alone were in coal projects, including two coal mega power plants worth US$6.4 billion[i].

“The IMF-World Bank, on the other hand, is having a heyday hiding behind the Widodo government and letting it do the dirty work in silencing the voices of the peoples of the global south. Chronic poverty and famines are ravishing the rural peoples lives and livelihood and the IMF-World Bank is largely to blame!” Anunciacion added.

The Coalition cited that the World Bank Group have directly funded land deals spanning at least 900,000 hectares and provided securities financing to over 700,000 more in Africa, Latin America, South and South East Asia including famine-stricken Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“We call on all our members, networks, and allies, to expose and oppose the Bali crackdown and hold the IMF-World Bank accountable for its historical role in enabling landgrabs and rural peoples’ ruin,” concluded Anunciacion. ###


[i] Private Participation in Infrastructure. World Bank. 2017

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