Oct 16, 2014 by Coalition
From October 10–12, 2014 the World Bank and International Monetary Fund held their joint Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C. Scores of activists, community leaders and civil society organisations from across the world participated in meetings, panels and actions to affirm the importance of strong human rights protections for communities who are affected by Bank-financed development projects. Presented below is a snapshot of the week as it unfolded, starting with the Civil Society Policy Forum sessions and culminating in a walk out and demonstration in front of the Bank.
On Monday, October 6th, Inclusive Development International Oxfam, Heinrich Boll Foundation, and Forest Peoples Programme hosted a roundtable discussion with the World Bank on “Safeguarding Land, Housing and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.” The session focused on the draft Social and Environmental framework in the context of World Bank operations and protecting land, housing, and indigenous peoples’ rights. Four case studies on the adverse impacts of Bank projects in Kenya, Cambodia, Laos and Guatemala were presented prior to the discussions.
On Tuesday, October 7th, the Bank on Human Rights Coalition (BHRC) hosted a Human Rights Due Diligence Workshop. The Coalition is developing a toolkit for incorporating human rights within the standard social and environmental assessment framework of development finance institutions. The workshop aimed to bring together coalition members and impact assessment experts to discuss key policy and methodology issues.
Later in the day, a roundtable discussion between civil society and the Executive Directors of the World Bank highlighted growing concerns that the new draft for social and environmental safeguards would be a “dilution” of existing protections for at risk communities. Safeguard policies are intended to protect against any “undue harm” to people and their environments as a result of Bank-financed development projects. Civil society members from Egypt, the Philippines and India reiterated the centrality of human rights in designing and implementing new policies. Soumya Dutta (Indian Peoples Science Group) delivered copies of a statement signed by many BHRC members and over 300+ civil society organisations from around the world highlighting crucial concerns in the current draft of the safeguards policies and consultation process.
The conversation continued at the panel “What Role for Human Rights in the World Bank’s Safeguards Review?” on Wednesday, October 8th, organised by Urgewald and featuring representatives from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Human Rights Watch, the World Bank Group and the Nordic Trust Fund. Panelists debated how lending practices within multilateral lending institutions could be strengthened through a rights-based approach.
At the joint Civil Society Town Hall, President Jim Kim responded to appeals to engage more effectively and transparently with civil society and announced an extension of the present consultation period with civil society partners.
On Thursday, October 8th, Bank on Human Rights and member organizations, Bank Information Center and Center for International Environmental Law co-hosted a strategy session for civil society organizations to build and coordinate efforts to strengthen the World Bank safeguards. Organisations pooled their resources and identified key areas of advocacy, alliance building and analyses that would be effective in introducing changes to current policies.
At a panel titled “The World Bank and the Infrastructure Agenda in the Latin-American Region. Challenges and Opportunities for Civil Society”, Mariana Gonzalez Armijo from FUNDAR Centro de Analysis e Investigacion, presented an analysis of infrastructure financing in Latin America and the Caribbean, while BHRC coordinator, Gretchen Gordon discussed the human rights issues these investments pose.
Later that evening, Bank on Human Rights Coalition and the International Accountability Project hosted a reception for their partners in D.C. and allies from across the globe.
On Friday, October 9th, BHRC members and allies issued a press release urging the Bank to “make an explicit commitment to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights in all of [its] activities”. Read the full statement here.
Medha Patkar (Narmada Bachao Andolan) in a video appeal invited people to join a planned demonstration outside the World Bank on Saturday.
On Saturday, October 10th, the World Bank held a consultation session on the new draft environmental and social framework with civil society groups. Civil society representatives demanded that the Bank demonstrate a deeper commitment to the ideals of inclusion, participation and human rights in the review of social and environmental safeguards. After expressing frustration with the consultation process and dismay at Bank officials’ apparent lack of commitment to truly progressive safeguards policies, dozens of activists and civil society representatives walked out in protest and joined the demonstration outside the Bank. A statement was delivered to Bank officials, noting that:
“We, the hundreds of people’s movements and organizations present here from around the world, and the many thousands we represent back in our countries, are rejecting this current draft of safeguards. The protections you now seek to dismantle, the safeguards that we fought for over decades — do not belong to you, they are not yours to throw away, they belong to the world and its vulnerable people.”
Mar 01, 2019 by members
The U.S. Supreme Court decided today that international organizations like the World Bank Group can be sued in U.S. courts for violating the human rights of local communities. Congratulations to the fishing and farming communities of Gujarat India, Machimar Adhikaar Sangharsh Sangathan fishe
Jan 21, 2019 by members
International Accountability Project (IAP) released a new set of community guides to help communities conduct their own research and in the process define their development priorities and aspirations. The “Community Action Guide on Community-Led Research” set of 3 booklets provides clear an
Nov 12, 2018 by CHRD
Groups encourage development of robust protocols for implementation given growing threats November 12, 2018 — Human rights groups and accountability organizations welcomed the International Finance Corporation’s recently released Position Statement on Retaliation Against Civil Socie
Sep 06, 2018 by CHRD
Around the world, as megaprojects and investments are imposed on communities without their consent or consultation, those working to protect their lands and resources, fight corruption, and defend human rights are under increasing attack. For this reason, the Coalition for Human Rights in
UN Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli Corpuz just released a hard-hitting report on “the drastic increase in attacks and acts of violence against, criminalization of and threats aimed at indigenous peoples, particularly those arising in the context of large-scale projects involving extrac
May 22, 2018 by CHRD
As the African Development Bank (AfDB) meets in Busan, South Korea from May 21-25 to discuss Industrialising Africa, Civil society Organisations (CSOs) from across the continent red flagged the Bank’s steer towards mega investments without a clear action plan for human centred inclusive development.
From February 28, 2018 to March 4, 2018 in Costa Rica, countries and civil society groups are negotiating the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean, also known as LAC P10. If adopted a
Jan 03, 2018 by CHRD
On December 22nd, the Coalition together with 30 organizations sent to the World Bank a joint submission with recommendations on the Bank’s Draft Guidance Notes for borrowing countries regarding how to implement the Bank’s new Environmental and Social Framework. The submission address
Dec 15, 2017 by CHRD
12-13 NOVEMBER 2017 PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA This is a communiqué reflecting the outcomes of the Development and Investment in Africa Workshop held on 12-13 November 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa, and organized by the Coalition for Human Rights in Development together with African Coalition for
Dec 11, 2017 by CHRD
[This article was originally published online in July in Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales’ 2017 Environmental Report. It is being reposted here in honor of Human Rights Day] Across Latin America and the world, governments and investors are pushing for a dramatic increase in
Oct 30, 2017 by CHRD
A UN report released last week (Oct. 25) highlights the growing attacks on human rights defenders in the context of business and investment activities, including development finance. “Through their financing and technical support, a complex range of public and private institutions continue t
Sep 27, 2017 by CHRD
On September 26, 2017, the Coalition for Human Rights in Development co-hosted a ‘Demystifying Development Banks’ webinar with a special focus on Asia, where many countries have been shown to be among the most dangerous for human rights and environmental defenders who confront infrastructure
According to Caio Borges, Prof. Karin Costa Vazquez and Supriya Roychoudhury, if question marks on the future of BRICS are repeatedly raised, the New Development Bank (NDB) is probably the most concrete avenue through which the grouping can deepen co-operation. The NDB’s stated commitment to su
Two of the primary backers of the Agua Zarca hydropower dam project in Honduras have officially announced their exit from the project following years of campaigning by local indigenous groups and criticism from international civil society organizations. In a press release issued on July 6, the D
Jul 07, 2017 by CHRD
Coalition Coordinator, Gretchen Gordon, recently participated in a webinar hosted by the CIVICUS World Alliance for the launch of their report, ‘State of Civil Society 2017.’ Gordon’s presentation, based on her guest essay accompanying the report, focused on how the private sector is playing a
Jun 29, 2017 by members
The World Bank is providing cover for a government system of child labor and forced labor in Uzbekistan, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch and the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights. The report, “‘We Can’t Refuse to Pick Cotton’: Forced and Child Labor Linked to World Bank Group Inve
Mar 08, 2017 by CHRD
Read the full report: English | Spanish | French Partnering with Communities to Defend Human Rights In 2016 the Coalition engaged in partnerships with communities around the world to connect community struggles with strategic resources and campaign support and to bring community expertis
Feb 14, 2017 by CHRD
This week 32 organizations called on the World Bank Board of Directors to urge them to ensure that the Bank takes all measures necessary to remedy harm caused to four Maasai villages displaced to make way for the Olkaria IV geothermal project in Kenya. The Kenya Electricity Expansion Project (KEEP)
Dec 08, 2016 by CHRD
Global groups call for action to protect human rights in development Ahead of Human Rights Day, December 10th, the Coalition for Human Rights in Development joins with over 50 civil society groups around the world to call on financial institutions, governments and businesses to stand up for human
Dec 02, 2016 by members
This month, 18 human rights and environmental organizations called on the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the United States’ development finance institution, to strengthen its human rights due diligence. OPIC is presently revising its social and environmental polic
Nov 16, 2016 by CHRD
The Coalition for Human Rights in Development this week called on the Dutch Development Bank FMO to strengthen its commitment to human rights and to enact strong due diligence requirements to ensure that human rights are respected within FMO-financed activities. FMO is presently revising its Su
Aug 23, 2016 by members
In a recent blog titled “World Bank Covers Up Human Rights Abuses in Nepal: Silencing Community Voices“, the Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) together with Coalition member Accountability Counsel calls out the World Bank for ignori
Aug 08, 2016 by CHRD
On Thursday, the World Bank approved a new Environmental and Social Framework to replace its existing safeguard policies. Members of the Coalition for Human Rights in Development criticized the missed opportunity to adopt robust protections for the human rights of communities impacted by Bank
In an opinion piece in Foreign Policy magazine, Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, explains how the goal of sustainable development is under threat from growing restrictions on public participation in development and closing civ
Jul 25, 2016 by members
After a four year review process of the Environmental and Social Safeguards Policies of the World Bank, the World Bank Board approved the third, and probably final, draft of the new Environmental and Social Framework of the Bank. Last July 19, more than 50 organizations from 20 countries from the Gl
Jul 21, 2016 by members
Environmental activists and civil society groups in Macedonia working to defend their rights in the face of harmful development projects financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other development banks, are increasingly threatened and harassed. In an article
Jul 12, 2016 by members
Coalition member Human Rights Watch reports that three human rights defenders have lodged a formal complaint against the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) regarding forced labor in the Uzbek cotton industry. The complaint demands an investigation of forced labor l
The New York Times editorial board today called on the World Bank to “champion human rights” through its new safeguards policy framework presently under consideration by the Bank’s board of directors. The Times cited that despite the fact that the institution’s own re
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists recently reported that the World Bank has chosen to waive their policy protections for indigenous peoples in a Tanzania investment project, despite serious impacts on indigenous peoples in the project area. The Southern Agricultura
On June 16th, the Palestinian human rights organization, Al-Haq, urged the World Bank to explicitly address the need for human rights safeguards for investments in conflict-affected areas during the Bank’s ongoing safeguard policy reform process. The Bank has announced plans to increase inve
Jun 02, 2016 by members
Coalition member ESCR-Net is calling on leaders of OAS member states to address the financial crisis currently hindering the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ ability to operate as a key regional human rights mechanism. The crisis has already caused the IACHR to suspend its 159th and 16
Honduran social movements and indigenous peoples organizations this week called on the World Bank to in light of persistent attacks on human rights defenders, suspend financing in Honduras “until there are minimally just and realistic conditions for indigenous and small farming
May 26, 2016 by members
African civil society groups, including Coalition member Lumière Synergie pour le Développement, called on the African Development Bank this week to increase its accountability and engagement with civil society and to embrace pro-poor investment strategies that support public sector servi
May 20, 2016 – The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other top UN indigenous peoples experts sent a letter Friday to World Bank President Jim Kim and the Bank’s executive directors, challenging a proposal that would weaken protections for indigenou
May 11, 2016 by members
Coalition member Forest Peoples Programme has released a report on the impacts of deforestation and forest degradation on indigenous and local communities in the DRC, highlighting the human rights violations and socio-environmental impacts often caused by these activities. The report also c
May 04, 2016 by members
Peter Bosshard, interim ED of Coalition member International Rivers, explains how indigenous communities are particularly at risk of landgrabbing and face increasing repression, even death when standing up for their rights. Read the article here.
NDB project funding has been the subject of intrigue and concern among civil society organizations (CSOs) since the bank’s formal launch in Fortaleza, Brazil, in 2014. Yet news of these first ‘green’ loans has done little to ease their fears. The problem, CSOs say, is that since the NDB still lacks a
Apr 12, 2016 by members
As government ministers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa gather in Washington, DC for the third board of governors meeting of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) April 13 and 14, civil society groups in BRICS countries appealed to their governments and NDB management to operate
Apr 05, 2016 by CHRD
While the World Bank’s motto is to “End Poverty” and promote sustainable development, too often Bank investments disregard the human rights and priorities of poor communities, leaving them worse off. As the World Bank prepares to host finance ministers from across the globe
In a victory for indigenous and human rights activists, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) announced Friday the suspension of its financing of the Agua Zarca Dam. The Honduras dam project has been a focal point for international attention following the killing of h
Mar 30, 2016 by CHRD
In the face of rapidly shrinking civil society space and growing attacks on human rights and environmental defenders, sign this statement (English, French, Spanish, Arabic) on the Responsibility of International Financial Institutions to Ensure Meaningful and Effective Participation and
With the BRICS New Development Bank set to open its regional office in Johannesburg and approve its first set of projects for financing in the next weeks, South African civil society groups raise concerns about lack of transparency or consultation with potentially affected communities. The NDB h
Mar 16, 2016 by CHRD
The Coalition for Human Rights in Development submitted recommendations today urging the World Bank to amend its proposed Environmental and Social Framework to meaningfully address human rights. The submission addresses arguments that have been put forward against embracing human rights an
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, called upon the Government of Honduras today to “ensure the safety and protection of Gustavo Castro Soto”, a Mexican human rights defender, and to facilitate his return to Mexico as soon as possible. Cast
Mar 09, 2016 by CHRD
Follow this action alert to tell FMO, Finnfund, CABEI, Voith and Siemens to immediately pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam and to not get involved in any other projects on the land of the indigenous Lenca people. intlrv.rs/StopAguaZarca.
Mar 05, 2016 by CHRD
The Coalition for Human Rights in Development expresses our deep sadness and outrage at the assassination this week of indigenous leader and environmental activist Berta Cáceres. Berta was the coordinator and co-founder of the Council of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras, COPINH. She fought to d
The World Bank consultation on proposed new social and environmental new safeguards will end one month from today. The Bretton Woods Observer reports how civil society organizations around the world have been calling on the Bank to adopt a strong framework for the protection of human rights.
Feb 06, 2016 by CHRD
The final consultation period for the World Bank’s revision of its social and environmental safeguard policies will end on March 15th, 2016. Comments on the proposed draft safeguards framework can be submitted until that date to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find more inform
Feb 02, 2016 by CHRD
Yesterday, the U.S. Congress passed the Electrify Africa Act, promoting investment in access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. The Electrify Africa Act in part formalizes Power Africa – a U.S.- led initiative to work with African governments, the World Bank, African Development Ba
Jan 29, 2016 by members
Amnesty International argues that the recently launched Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), led by China, should draw on the experience of other development banks and implement strong human rights standards. The group raises concerns that the Bank’s development of an Envir
Jan 28, 2016 by members
January 28, 2016 – African civil society organizations called on African governments and public and private financiers today to find socially and environmentally sustainable solutions to Africa’s energy needs. The statement, signed by groups from 10 countries, was issued to coi
Dec 17, 2015 by members
December 17, 2015 – Nigerian civil society organizations met in Abuja, FCT, Nigeria as the World Bank consults with the Nigerian government regarding a large-scale revision of the Bank’s social and environmental safeguard policies. The groups called on the Bank to adopt strong req
Dec 08, 2015 by members
Over 180 civil society organizations from Latin America and the Caribbean call on their governments to prevent a weakening of human rights and development standards at the World Bank. The World Bank is presently holding consultations with its member State governments on a proposed revision of it
Nov 30, 2015 by members
November 30, 2015: On the heels of the meeting of governors of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), civil society organizations from BRICS countries and countries that will likely be impacted by NDB projects called on the Bank to open a transparent and participative process for the development of
Oct 13, 2015 by CHRD
The World Bank doesn’t require that its projects respect human rights, and has thus far refused to adopt such a requirement. Máxima Acuña de Chaupe and Elmer Campos travelled far from their families in rural Peru to attend the Annual Meeting of the World Bank, taking place in the capital city of Lima.
Oct 12, 2015 by members
Bank Information Center releases new informational video on the World Bank safeguards review. It is under 5 minutes long and meant to foster a general understanding of the review and its significance, and motivate people to send a note to their World Bank Director asking for the strongest possible
In a report to the UN General Assembly, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, characterizes the World Bank as a “human rights-free zone” and criticizes the institution’s current approach to human rights as “incohere
In 1999 residents of Hade, Kosovo were forced from their homes by Serbian commandos.They were able to return some time later and have been working tirelessly since then to rebuild their village and return to normal life. Now, they are being threatened to leave again, but this time the threat is comin
UN Special Rapporteur finds that human rights are being entirely left out of the debate around extreme poverty and extreme inequality, even though the human rights framework is imperative in resolving these issues. The report criticizes the World Bank, IMF and UN for failing to follow up on any rec
A report by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association discusses the importance of freedom of speech within natural resource extraction projects. Concludes the following: rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and association are essential to fair work on extraction of na
Jun 05, 2015 by CHRD
Civil society groups around the globe call on the World Bank to hold robust in-country consultations on its proposed new safeguard policies. Read the letter here.
May 04, 2015 by members
24 April 2015 MR. JIN LIQUN Secretary – General Multilateral Interim Secretariat Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Re: Letter of Introduction from NGO Forum on ADB on AIIB Safeguard Standards Dear Mr. Jin Liqun: We are writing to you on behalf of a network of 250 civil society organizati
May 04, 2015 by members
For Immediate Release May 1, 2015 With 57 nations already on board the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as prospective founders, a 250-member strong civil society network made an appeal to the newly-formed bank to adopt robust safeguards in its principles, policies and operations.
Apr 14, 2015 by CHRD
International Coalition Warns: World Bank Driving Hazardous Development WHAT: Demonstration – Civil society groups encircle the World Bank in “Caution” tape, demanding strong human rights safeguards WHEN: Friday April 17, 10:00 – 11:30am
Mar 30, 2015 by CHRD
March 30, 2015- The Bank on Human Rights Coalition issued the following submission to the staff and Directors of the World Bank as part of the Bank’s ongoing safeguards review: Key Human Rights Concerns and Recommendations regarding the World Bank’s Proposed Social and Environmen
In a letter addressed to World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues notes that “important aspects of the Environmental and Social Policy in general and the associated Environmental and Social Standard on indigenous peoples in particula
Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank January 30, 2015 Dear Mr. President, We are the Requesters, Anuak refugees and asylum seekers based in Kenya (Dadaab, Kakuma and Nairobi) and South Sudan (Gorom), who submitted a complaint to the World Bank Inspection Panel in September 2012. We have written
28 UN Experts sent a letter to World Bank President Jim Kim, to express their concerns regarding the Bank’s proposed new social and environmental safeguards. The letter criticizes the Bank for avoiding meaningful incorporation of human rights protections. Read the letter here.
From Scientific America, published on Monday, 1 December 2014. For all the flack the U.N. climate talks have taken over the past 20 years, one major achievement will be on display as the next round of negotiations open in Peru today. Climate change has been inextricably linked to social justice. The
Nov 25, 2014 by CHRD
This letter, signed by 50 organizations, was sent today to World Bank President Jim Kim and Executive Directors detailing lack of notice and restrictive access to participation in ongoing safeguards consultations. Thanks to all who contributed to the letter and signed on. Please help distribut
In a recent speech at the World Bank, entitled “Rethinking the World Bank’s Approach to Human Rights,” Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, described how the World Bank “stands almost alone…in insisting that human rights are mere m
Oct 11, 2014 by CHRD
For Immediate Release World Bank Group: Proposed Policy a Setback for Rights Development Cannot Succeed if it Harms Communities (October 10, 2014 Washington, DC) – Draft World Bank policies under consideration at the bank’s meeting on October 10-12, 2014 would dangerously roll back protection
From the Guardian, published on Monday 29 September 2014 09.36 EDT. World Bank accuses itself of failing to protect Kenya forest dwellers Leaked document says World Bank violated its own safeguards in dealings with Sengwer people evicted from their lands A leaked copy of a World Bank investigatio
By Narayan Lakshman The World Bank hit back at a wide coalition of NGOs on Wednesday saying that it was in fact broadening environmental and community safeguards. Fending off allegations that it was “watering down” environmental and community safeguards for its lending activities and possibl
The following is an excerpt from an article published in the Hindu on July 30th, 2014. World Bank rolling back safeguards: Leaked report By Narayan Lakshman The World Bank may be on the verge of rolling back a wide range of in-built environmental and community protections surrounding its developm
Jul 28, 2014 by CHRD
World Bank Safeguard Draft Rolls-Back Protections for People and the Environment Key Human Rights Concerns The World Bank has repeatedly committed to producing a new safeguard framework that results in no-dilution of the existing safeguards and which reflects prevailing international sta
May 21, 2014 by CHRD
As the World Bank prepares to release a first draft of its new safeguard policies, Bank on Human Rights members sent a letter to Bank President Jim Kim, calling for a policy framework that ensures that development projects respect communities’ human rights. Letter to World Bank Carta al Banc