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World Bank accused of ignoring rights of the poor
The Times Of India, 30 July 2014, Pune: The National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) has stated that civil society organizations around the world are decrying a leaked draft of the World Bank’s proposed new policies to avoid harmful impacts from the development projects that it finances. Despite earlier commitments by bank president Jim Yong Kim that the policies would not be diluted and that safeguards on land rights would be strengthened, the proposed changes have removed essential requirements that are necessary to prevent displacement, impoverishment, and environmental damage. The draft policies are up for discussion by the bank’s board on July 30 ahead of public consultations.
“This draft effectively winds back the clock to the 1970s, when the bank had binding policies in place to protect the poor and the environment. We see nothing more than an open attempt by the bank to shield itself from accountability for the destructive impacts of the mega-projects it is planning.” said Madhuresh Kumar, national organizer of the NAPM.
Most shockingly, the draft policies provide an opt-out option for governments that do not wish to provide essential land and natural resource rights protections to Indigenous Peoples.
Joji Carino, director of the forest peoples programme, said ” We have engaged with social and environmental safeguard development with the World Bank for over twenty years and have never seen a proposal with potential for such widespread negative impacts for indigenous peoples around the world. The proposed ‘opt-out’ for protections for indigenous peoples, in particular, would undermine existing international human rights law and the significant advances seen in respect for indigenous peoples rights in national laws.”