Activists criticise civil society ‘restrictions’ at WTO meeting in UAE

Activists criticise civil society ‘restrictions’ at WTO meeting in UAE

Civil society organisations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in the United Arab Emirates this week have criticized restrictions on their participation, including alleging that some of their members had been briefly detained at the talks.

Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS), a network of civil society groups, said on Wednesday it had complained to WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala over several incidents of “detainment, confiscation of materials, and heavy-handed restrictions on lobbying by civil society” groups.

The WTO, in a statement, said the director-general had met with civil society representatives on Tuesday to discuss their concerns and had since spoken with the host chair of the talks to identify solutions.

A representative of the UAE Office to the WTO said: “NGOs have a strong presence at (the meeting) where there have been opportunities for all voices to be heard as the issues being discussed are of global importance.”

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