Vol. 5 Num 159 Sun. October 31, 2004  
Front Page

Planned immunity to WB protested
Alliance of 56 NGOs call it against constitutional rights

Speakers at a rally yesterday strongly protested the government's move to provide immunity to the World Bank for its activities in Bangladesh.

As a public organisation, the World Bank and its auxiliary organisations must remain accountable to the common people for its activities, speakers said at the protest rally in the city organised by Alliance Against World Bank Immunity, an association of 56 NGOs.

"It is the constitutional right of the people of Bangladesh to sue the World Bank and seek justice if and when affected by any of its activities," said the alliance coordinator Aminur Rasul, reading out from a written statement in the rally.

The government is going to table a bill titled The International Finance Organisations (Amendment) Act 2004 in the current session of parliament to provide the WB and its auxiliary financial organisations immunity from any legal action.

According to the International Financial Organisation Order 1972, the World Bank is already enjoying various privileges including tax rebate, the alliance coordinator said.

"Once the bill is passed into law, it will debar any aggrieved citizen or the country itself from seeking legal redress against any of WB activities even if it violates people's fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution," Rasul read out from the statement.

The government must not yield to any undemocratic pressure of the WB and International Monetary Fund, as it is a 'government of the people and by the people,' said Quazi Faruque, general secretary of Consumers Association of Bangladesh.

No other country in the world has given such immunity to the WB, said advocate Mizanur Rahman, adding that its demand for blanket immunity in Bangladesh goes against its own organisational rules and regulations.

Placards carried by the alliance activists read that the WB and IMF exploit the poor in the name of free trade and that Bangladesh should not be the 'springboard of WB and IMF'.

Speakers also demanded immediate review of the immunity enjoyed by the Asian Development Bank.