World Bank Admits It Ignored Its Own Rules Designed To Protect The Poor

This story was reported and written with Sasha Chavkin and Mike Hudson from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.The World Bank, developed to fight poverty, has admitted that its failed to adhere to its personal guidelines for defending the poor individuals swept aside by dams, roads and other major projects it bankrolls. This conclusion, announced by the bank on Wednesday, amounts to a reversal of its preceding efforts to downplay issues raised by human rights activists and other people functioning on behalf of the dispossessed -- persons evicted from their land, from time to time in violent ways, to make way for World Bank-financed initiatives. It comes days right after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and The Huffington Post informed bank officials that the news outlets had found systemic gaps in the bank's protections for folks who shed homes or jobs due to the fact - - of improvement projects. The Globe Bank, which is controlled by the United States and other member nations, had failed to respond to the news organizations repeated requests more than the past various weeks for an interview with Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank Group, the parent institution. The news outlets have been pressing the bank for months for answers to concerns about how effectively it enforces its own social and environmental safeguards.The bank said in a news release that its conclusions followed internal audits conducted more than the previous two years.Human rights activists who have criticized the bank for its failure to reside up to its own requirements for years stated they were taken by surprise by the sudden release of the audits, and the banks avowals of reform. Natalie Fields, the executive director of the Accountability Counsel, a legal group that represents indigenous peoples in disputes with the World Bank and IFC, stated the plan to address the issues seemed slapped with each other. The reforms announced Wednesday dont include measures to hold bank employees accountable for not doing a far better job of identifying and helping displaced people today, she said. Its a positive that the bank is acknowledging problems, but in several respects this is the exact same old story, Fields said. They have come up with their personal strategy for how to address the difficulties, without consulting people who have spent years of their lives on resettlement, and devoid of consulting with the communities themselves.