Vol. 5 Num 156 Thu. October 28, 2004  

Govt urged not to give immunity to WB
Political parties, NGOs threaten movement

Different political parties and non-governmental organisations yesterday called on the government not to pass any law giving immunity to the World Bank (WB).

They also threatened to launch a tough movement if any law in this regard is passed in the current session of parliament.

Economic progress will be jeopardised if the government grants immunity to the WB, political leaders and development activists said at a protest rally in the city.

They said the cabinet okayed a draft bill titled 'The International Financial Organisation (Amendment) Act 2004' on July 4 which will put the WB above law once it is passed in parliament.

Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon said the WB has no contribution to the development activities of Bangladesh.

Granting immunity to the bank would be counterproductive for the development of the country, he added.

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) leader Shirin Akhter said the bank is responsible for the closure of mills and factories in the country.

In the past two decades, no suggestion of the WB benefited Bangladesh, she said, adding that thousands of workers were rendered jobless instead.

"The WB always calls for transparency and accountability but now it is seeking immunity so that nobody can demand transparency in its activities," Shirin said.

Imamuddin, member-secretary of People's Health Movement, said the WB should refrain from interfering in internal politics.

Mohammad Zakaria of Action Aid Bangladesh, Aminur Rahman of World Social Forum, Workers Party leader Fazle Hossain Badsha and President of Trade Union Kendra Nurul Islam also spoke.

After the rally, the protester started marching towards the office of the WB, but police intercepted the procession in front of the National Museum.

Police intercept a protest procession of different political parties and NGOs at Shahbagh in the city yesterday as the demonstrators were marching towards the office of the World Bank. PHOTO: STAR