Jessica Evans on Human Rights Defenders at Risk by the World Bank
07 July 2015
By Salil Tripathi, Senior Advisor, Global Issues, IHRB
Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently published a report which highlights the risks of reprisals human rights defenders face when they oppose projects financed by the World Bank. The report outlines how, in several projects around the world, security forces and government officials have threatened, arrested, or initimidated human rights defenders who challenge development projects that the World Bank has funded.
Some projects involve companies, and others government agencies. The World Bank and the International finance Corporation (the World Bank Group's private sector lending arm) have performance safeguards, compliance mechanisms, including an inspection panel and the office of an ombudsman, which provide guidance on how the projects should be designed, and how the borrower is expected to operate. But the record of cases the HRW has unearthed shows that the systems are not working, and human rights defenders are at risk.
IHRB's Salil Tripathi spoke to Jessica Evans, the Washington-based senior researcher and advocate who has been working on international financial institutions (IFIs) at Human Rights Watch. She has investigated violations in which the World Bank and other IFIs have been implicated. In the conversation Evans talks about how widespread the practice is, whether the safeguards are effective or not, and what the World Bank Group can do in the wake of the emergence of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the BRICS Bank which China and other developing countries are in the process of developing.
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