News / 9 April 2014

Ploumen: speak up for human rights at the World Bank!

The U.S. is not always in the front line when it comes to the protection of human rights and the environment in developing countries, but there are exceptions. The Netherlands has recently joined the ‘climate initiative’ of President Obama, which aims at ending the public funding of coal plants. But the U.S. is going even further than that: under the ‘Appropriations Bill’, U.S. directors at international financial institutions have to vote against projects that support large dams and industrial logging or mining projects in tropical forests. We are calling on Dutch Minister Ploumen to follow the U.S. example!

Human rights at the World Bank

Yesterday, Minister of Trade and Development Ploumen discussed the Dutch agenda for the coming spring meetings of the World Bank in Parliament. Both ENDS has sent a letter to Minister Ploumen in which we ask her to push for the inclusion of human rights in World Bank policy. Unfortunately, the World Bank regularly invests in projects that harm people and the environment. "A prominent example is the controversial Inga 3 Dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo", says Pieter Jansen of Both ENDS, who is closely monitoring the investments of the World Bank. "Despite significant negative effects, such as the displacement of a large part of the local population, the World Bank has recently decided to support this project."


No legal liability
"It is strange that national governments can be prosecuted before a national court or before the International Court of Justice in The Hague if they violate human rights, but that the World Bank is still not legally liable for the damage caused by its projects to people and the environment in developing countries. People who are affected by World Bank-funded projects can only rely on the social and environmental rules that the bank applies to itself, the so-called 'safeguards'.  At the moment the Bank is visibly relaxing these safeguards. We ask the Minister to prevent the dilution of the safeguards and to promote the introduction of human rights in the policy of the World Bank.”


Read the letter to Minister Ploumen (in Dutch)

Read the issue paper by Bank Watch

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