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Letter to WB-IMF Re: Harassment of NGO Forum on ADB network members in Bali

Updated: Mar 25, 2019



World Bank

Dear Pres. Kim;

Good day.

We are writing to your office regarding the incident that occurred last October 11, 2018, during our Seminar on Environmental and Social Issues at Plagoo Hotel, Bali, Indonesia.

At around 3:30 PM on the date cited, 7 men in civilian clothing showed up and demanded for our passports they introduced themselves as immigration officers but only after they were asked. The 20 participants were demanded to surrender their passports under the guise of “surveillance and monitoring”, most of the passports were held for at least 4 hours.

The NGO Forum on ADB strongly condemns this show of threat and intimidation by the Indonesian authorities. Our civil society network underwent all the necessary protocols indicated by the World Bank to participate in the WB-IMF Annual Meeting. The Forum was holding the activity in a peaceful assembly and this was a clear threat in the continuing clampdown of CSOs. It is distressing that WB-IMF group cannot ensure the security and dignity of its invited guests.

Consequently, we urge the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund group to:

  1. The World Bank Group should protect this democratic space to those who voice out their dissent in the adverse impacts of development financing.

  2. The Bank raise this issue directly with the Indonesian Government, their partner and host of this meeting, which saw unprecedented intimidation of local civil society groups and cancellation of civil society events in an unacceptable manner. NGO Forum on ADB demands a full accounting for the decision-makers involved in this harassment of NGOs, including a report by the Bank on the result of the discussions on this topic with the government of Indonesia.

  3. When there are any forms of harassment, threat or intimidation, the Bank should take all necessary measures to prevent as well as mitigate further harm and strongly denounce such acts of repression either by the Bank itself or the host country.

  4. In addition, we urge careful monitoring of all planned World Bank projects in the country with specific attention to and reporting on the use of threats, intimidation or violence against local populations and civil society organizations with specific attention to the use of coercion in the context of meaningful consultation required for the World Bank in the implementation of its projects. If the Bank cannot guarantee meaningful consultation free of coercion for its projects, clearly investments will need to be reconsidered.

  5. Given the failure of the WB to ensure the safety of those who are attending their Annual Meeting events, there are clearly significant concerns about the safety of local organizations that would questions or concerns about WB projects implemented in Indonesia.

  6. The World Bank Group and IMF should ensure its commitments to fundamental human rights particularly the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association; and the right to freedom of opinion and expression that needs to be respected at all times.

We seek a full report from the World Bank regarding the unprecedented intimidation of civil society organizations and suppression of civil society events during the WB-IMF annual meeting and clarification regarding the manner by which the Bank will ensure this kind of incident never happens again.


NGO Forum on ADB

Endorsed by:


Accountability Counsel

Accountability Project

Action Paysanne Contre la Faim

African Ressources Watch (AFREWATCH)

Aksi! for gender, social and ecological justice, Indonesia

Bank Information Center (BIC)

BIC Europe


Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO)

Center for International Environmental Law

Centre for Human Rights and Development

Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN), Bangladesh

Community Empowerment and Social Justice Foundation (CEMSOJ), Nepal

COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peacebuilding

Conseil Régional des organisations non gouvernementales de

Crude Accountability

Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales

Développement signe

Economic & Social Rights Centre - Hakijamii

Equitable Cambodia

Forest Peoples programme

Friends of the Earth US

Friends with Environment in Development

Gender Action

Inclusive Development International

Indigenous Perspectives

Initiative for Right View (IRV)

Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA)

Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Kenya

Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center,.--Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRCKSK/FoE Phils)

Manipur Cycle Club

Manushya Foundation

Nadi Ghati Morcha, India

Nash Vek Public Foundation

Network Movement For Justice And Development (NMJD)

NGO "Youth Group on Protection of Environment"/YGPE

Oil Change International

Oil Workers' Rights Protection Organization Public Union

Open Azerbaijan Initiatives

Participatory Development Initiatives [PDI]

Rivers without Boundaries

Ulu Foundation


Download letter here.


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