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The record of intl. financial institutions on business & human rights

"The Record of International Financial Institutions on Business and Human Rights," 2 May 2016

As lenders to both governments and corporations, International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have the sway and responsibility to prevent and address human rights abuses perpetrated by businesses... This article...describes how IFIs do very little to encourage or support governments to protect their people from corporate abuse, shy away from human rights due diligence, and, with the exception of their independent accountability mechanisms which capture a tiny fraction of their mistakes, fail to ensure remedy for abuse...

To date, no IFIs ensure that the environmental and social due diligence of companies that they finance encompasses human rights due diligence to identify, prevent, and mitigate potential adverse rights impacts of their activities... Alongside this, the IFIs themselves do not comprehensively and continually analyze social risks... The World Bank, which lends more than other IFIs to governments...is [for example] more often associated with deregulation than supporting governments to properly regulate business conduct...

With the institutions themselves claiming immunity from suit in almost all jurisdictions, and with the local justice systems in many of the places where IFIs invest being inaccessible or ineffective...accountability mechanisms are often the only place to which communities can turn to seek redress beyond appealing to the company directly... [However] the outcome rarely provides adequate remedy or results in systemic changes within the company responsible or the financing IFI...

Now is the time for the World Bank to lead on human rights...by integrating human rights due diligence into its policies and practices, embedding it in its technical advice as well as its budget support and project lending. Both existing and emerging IFIs...can then follow suit. [refers to Nicaragua Sugar Estates and Dinant]

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