Skip to main content

World Bank's new safeguard policies "ignore" human rights, other development banks will follow suit: NGOs

By Our Representative
Top civil rights groups across the world have sharply criticized the World Bank’s new set of environmental and social safeguard policies, approved by its board of directors on August 4, saying they were “frustrated and disappointed” that the Bank “couldn't agree on stronger policies to fully guarantee the rights of communities affected by the projects they fund.”
Head of Oxfam International’s Washington office, Oxfam International, Nadia Daar, has said, the approval of the policies is the culmination of a four-year long process, and “they will impact not just the Bank's lending, but the policies of other development banks around the world that look to the World Bank to set the standard.” The Bank had released its final draft on July 20.
The Bank Information Centre (BIC), which is the world’s most important watchdog lobbying with the Bank on environmental and social safeguard issues, has said that “experience has shown that sustainable development cannot be achieved through projects that impoverish communities and destroy the environment.”
“At a time when the Bank intends to finance more high-risk projects in high-risk contexts, the safeguards should provide heightened protection and vigilance”, BIC says, adding, “Instead, the Bank has proposed increasing ‘flexibility’ and relaxed requirements.”
BIC particularly objects to what it calls “clear time-bound requirements with vague language, loopholes, flexible principles and reliance upon ‘borrower systems’ instead of Bank safeguards to determine what social and environmental standards a project must meet.”
Korinna Horta of Urgewald in Germany says, the new policy “reflects a race to the bottom in a shameful scramble to eliminate requirements for careful environmental and social due diligence, and fails to take the lives and livelihoods of affected communities into account.”
Adds Stephanie Fried of the Ulu Foundation, a US environmental organization, “By diluting the Bank’s due diligence requirements, eliminating requirements for borrower compliance and clear accountability structures, and introducing vague language throughout the draft, the Bank has effectively dismantled thirty years of environmental and social protections for the world’s most impoverished and vulnerable peoples.”
Washington-based Human Rights Watch says, the new World Bank policy has “refused to acknowledge its human rights obligations in its new policy framework”. Jessica Evans, senior international financial institutions researcher at Human Rights Watch, emphasizes, “In refusing to acknowledge its rights obligations, the World Bank anticipates it will be able to violate human rights without consequence.”
“Rather than using this review of key environment and social policies to advance human rights and cement its role as a leader in development, the World Bank has done the opposite”, Evans says.
Human Rights Watch says, information it received from World Bank sources suggested that its management “opposed language that would require the bank itself to respect human rights throughout its operations”.
However, it praised the Bank for certain changes: “The new framework was in development for four years and includes some important reforms, including commitments to avoid discrimination and protect labor standards. It also requires governments borrowing from the bank to obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples who traditionally own, occupy, or use land or natural resources that will be adversely affected by a proposed project.”

Comments

TRENDING

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”