Press release

The World Bank is deporting farmers form their farmland

19 September 2006 by La Via Campesina

Two Via Campesina activists were detained by the Singapore authorities last night at Changi international airport and were deported this morning to Jakarta. They were interrogated for 14 hours continuously. They were not doing anything criminal and they had come to Singapore without any intention of disturbing the people of Singapore. But the officers kept saying that they were just obeying orders. Irma Yanni and Achmad Ya’kub, both working for the Federation of Indonesian Peasant Unions (FSPI)/Via Campesina, entered Singapore to prepare a Via Campesina Press Conference. Other representatives were supposed to follow them to address the media, so the world could hear the peasant’s voice. Peasants are among the first victims of the World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.
policies. But they were silenced.

This incident clearly reveals the criminal character of the World Bank and the IMF. The twin institutions have deported millions of peasants from their farmland through their program of Market Assisted Land Reform (MALR) and other large projects. And instead of being listened to, farmers have been deported: the World Bank and the IMF are not able to create the conditions to listen to dissenting views.

Farmers Rally in Front of World Bank Office in Jakarta

On their return to Jakarta, both deported activists joined an action against the World Bank and the IMF that started at 10 AM. About 1000 people, led by peasant members of FSPI, labors group, youth organizations, environmental groups and other social movements, marched to the office of the Finance minister. The IMF meeting in Singapore had just nominated the Indonesian Finance minister, Sri Mulyani, “the best finance minister”. This clearly indicates that the Indonesian government is “the good boy of the IMF”. Yet recent statistics show that poverty is increasing inIndonesia. It is ironical that a minister whose policies have created poverty is granted this award.

The rally continued to the presidential palace, demanding Indonesia to stop its collaboration with the World Bank and the IMF and ended up in front of the World Bank’s office that is the largest office in South-East Asia. Protestors shouted: “Reject the IMF, Oust the World Bank!”. Several international farmers leaders members of La Via Campesina joined the rally, expressing their solidarity with the Indonesian people: they were coming from MST - Brazil, Paragos - Philipine, UNORKA - Philipine, KRRS - India, and Monlar - Sri Lanka.

Source : Via Campesina



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