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9 May 2016

Arpitha Kodiveri, The Wire (USA)

"Slamming the Justice Door Shut" - blog on US court ruling re absolute immunity of Intl. Finance Corp. for harms caused by projects

"Slamming the Justice Door Shut on the Fisherfolk of Mundra", 7 May 2016

The International Financial Corporation (IFC), a private lending arm of the World Bank group has lent $450 million to the Tata Mundra Power Plant...[T]he power plant...is causing destruction of the mangrove ecosystem and has increased the salinity of the groundwater, making it unfit for drinking or irrigation....The Machimar Adhikar Sangarsh Sanghatan (MASS) filed a complaint before the [Compliance Advisor Ombudsman] CAO in 2011 citing violations of the performance standards in the Tata Mundra project. The CAO...found that the IFC had failed to adequately consider the...social and environmental risks of the project...[T]he IFC ignored the findings and did not adopt any corrective measures. This led to the MASS filing a case before the district court in Washington DC...The March 28, 2016 judgment of the Washington district court confirms the absolute immunity of the IFC...The judgment poses a problem of access to justice for project affected communities...By granting absolute immunity and leaving it to the CAO to resolve any disputes which arise, the court has left project affected communities with no legal avenue to hold IFC accountable...