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Statement to the World Bank and its Member States from African Civil Society Groups on the Review of the World Bank Safeguards

[W]e civil society groups from Africa wish to make known to our governments, the World Bank’s shareholders, and the World Bank President the following concerns...[T]he inputs of African civil society organizations are not reflected in the text. While the Bank and its shareholders state that they value civil society input and a participatory approach, we see a lack of sincerity in this regard when the voices of civil society are not taken note of. From the outcome, this was not a consultation, but a monologue...[W]e see certain views and agendas which would seek to weaken the safeguards’ protection of people and the environment being attributed to “African countries.” These arguments include the following – 1) that human rights are not rooted in the African region; 2) that safeguards are not needed because national laws and regulations are sufficient to protect communities and the environment; 3) that those with informal land tenure are squatters and not deserving of resettlement protections; and 4) that Africa does not have indigenous peoples or that indigenous rights run afoul of our constitutions.It is clear that these positions are not reflective of the positions of civil society from African nations. It is also the case that they do not have a basis in regional law and development practice. Here we respond to these false arguments attributed to “African countries”...

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