The following article was published in the May-June 2015 NewsNotes.
“Evicted and Abandoned: The World Bank’s Broken Promise to the Poor” is a global investigation that reveals how the World Bank has regularly failed to follow its own rules for protecting vulnerable populations. Contributors to the research include the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the Huffington Post, the GroundTruth Project, the Investigative Fund, the Guardian and more than 20 other news organizations.
In recently released reports, the ICIJ-led reporting project has identified the following key findings:
- Over the last decade, projects funded by the World Bank have physically or economically displaced an estimated 3.4 million people, forcing them from their homes, taking their land or damaging their livelihoods.
- The World Bank has regularly failed to live up to its own policies for protecting people harmed by projects it finances.
- The World Bank and its private-sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, have financed governments and companies accused of human rights violations such as rape, murder and torture. In some cases the lenders have continued to bankroll these borrowers after evidence of abuses emerged.
- Ethiopian authorities diverted millions of dollars from a World Bank-supported project to fund a violent campaign of mass evictions, according to former officials who carried out the forced resettlement program.
- From 2009 to 2013, World Bank Group lenders pumped $50 billion into projects graded the highest risk for “irreversible or unprecedented” social or environmental impacts — more than twice as much as the previous five-year span.
Read more stories in the “Evicted and Abandoned” series.