28 January 2011
Time for the World Bank Group to take human rights seriously

Corporations can have an enormous negative impact on the rights of individuals and communities. Through its research, Amnesty International has exposed how these impacts can range from community livelihoods being threatened or destroyed to forced evictions carried out to make way for extractive operations.

 

The World Bank Group, among other functions, finances the activities of corporations in developing countries. This is done through an agency called the International Finance Corporation (IFC). The IFC frequently supports industries of a particularly invasive nature, such as oil, gas and mining projects. These industries are often associated with environmental damage and human rights harm.

 

The IFC must make sure it has strong safeguards to prevent human rights abuses as a result of its operations.

 

Unfortunately the World Bank Group is refusing to take human rights seriously. In May 2011 the IFC will adopt new policies to manage social and environmental risks associated with the activities it supports. Not only is the IFC proposing to adopt safeguards that are inadequate to prevent negative human rights impacts, but it is REFUSING to even make a commitment to respect human rights.

 

As an institution that claims to be committed to fighting poverty and improving people’s lives, and which is governed by member states that have international human rights obligations, this is entirely unacceptable.

 

You can find Amnesty International’s full analysis of the IFC policies here.

 

Corporate actors cannot be let off the hook for their negative impact on human rights. Take action and tell the head of IFC it is time to take human rights seriously now!

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