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World Bank publishes new draft of social & environmental policy framework; civil society raises concerns about inadequate human rights protections

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Article
27 July 2016

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

Author: Group of African civil society organizations

[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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Article
26 July 2016

Commentary: "World Bank undermines decades of progress on building protections for the rights of indigenous peoples"

Author: Forest Peoples Programme

With lofty ambitions to ‘shared prosperity’ and ‘full respect’ for human rights, it is a significant disappointment to see in the new draft that the Bank has failed to set high standards for protecting the rights and interests of indigenous peoples. The Bank has instead released a complicated, confusing and fundamentally weaker set of standards...The importance of this review is undeniable...In short: what the Bank does to its safeguard framework matters because others will follow its lead...And now that the latest draft of the proposed safeguard framework is released it is clear that 2016 represents a devastating low point in the Bank’s approach to the protection of social and environmental goods, and of the rights and interests of indigenous peoples in particular...

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Article
22 July 2016

World Bank's new policy framework ignores human rights - Human Rights Watch

Author: Human Rights Watch (USA)

"World Bank: Human Rights All But Absent in New Policy - Bank's Management a Key Obstacle", 21 July 2016

The World Bank has refused to acknowledge its human rights obligations in its new policy framework, Human Rights Watch said today. The bank’s third, and most likely final, draft of its new environmental and social framework, published on July 20, 2016, does not require the bank to respect human rights. Instead, it only references human rights in its non-binding “vision” statement...

“In refusing to acknowledge its rights obligations once again, the World Bank anticipates it will be able to violate human rights without consequence,” said Jessica Evans, senior international financial institutions researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Rather than using this review of key environment and social policies to advance human rights and cement its role as a leader in development, the World Bank has done the opposite.”

Sources inside the World Bank told Human Rights Watch that World Bank management opposed language that would require the bank itself to respect human rights throughout its operations... China, an increasingly influential World Bank shareholder, was the primary opponent of binding human rights requirements... Other key shareholders, including several European governments and the United States, have pushed for human rights requirements.

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Article
20 July 2016

Status of the Proposed Environmental and Social Framework

Author: World Bank

On Wednesday, July 20, the Committee on Development Effectiveness – a committee of the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors with oversight on policy issues – endorsed the third draft of the proposed Environmental and Social Framework (ESF) for full Board consideration. The document is scheduled for consideration on August 4, 2016.

Full draft

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