Argentina causes WTO scandal: Critical NGOs banned and possibly denied entry on the border

Original Publication Date: 
8 December, 2017

Petter Slaatrem Titland, leader of the Norwegian organisation Attac Norway, is now held on the border to Argentina on his way to the WTO summit.

- How can the Norwegian foreign minister negotiate in the WTO on behalf of the Norwegian population while Norwegian civil society is denied accreditation to the summit and entry into Argentina, said Titland in a comment earlier today.

This happens as Argentinian authorities have withdrawn accreditations to the summit for several NGOs, including Attac Norway. Mr. Titland was accredited along with other civil society organisations for the WTO summit. Last week he and other international NGO representatives received a message from the WTO administration that the Argentinian authorities for "unspecified reasons" had withdrawn their accreditations. As he already had left Norway for Brazil, he continued to Argentina as planned today.

He had not received any message from the Argentinian authorities that he would be denied entry into the country.

There is no formal reason given to the NGO representatives as to why their accreditations are denied; however, in a statement Argentinian authorities cite "security concerns" and claim accreditations are withdrawn due to posted "incitements to violence and chaos" in social media. (

This claim is a blatant lie. Among the accused NGOs one can find regional and international labour union umbrella organisations, Friends of the Earth International, Oxfam Germany and several academics and lawyers. The claims about Attac Norway have no connection to reality. Attac Norway receives funds from the Norwegian government for its information campaigns on trade politics, tax havens and related global issues, and is explicitly non-violent.

This withdrawal of accreditations for NGOs by the host country on this scale is unprecedented in WTO history, and a scandal. It seriously undermines the legitimacy of the negotiations and the WTO, and is a failure for Argentina as a host country.

A spokesperson for the Argentinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Reuters that they find the blacklisted persons and organisations "more disruptive than constructive", and that they are denied participation in the summit for this reason (on this basis). (

In other words, they admit that these organisations are shut out since they are critics of trade policies and this might "disrupt" the negotiations.


Petter Slaatrem Titland, leader of Attac Norway, currently denied entry to Argentina
Phone: (+) 47 950 38 128

Also available for comment:

Helene Bank, chairperson for the Norwegian trade campaign organisation Handelskampanjen.
Phone: + 47 92 66 75 18

and Heidi Lundeberg, + 47 92415316,