UN experts urge World Bank to adopt human rights standards on the eve of key gathering in Washington
OHCHR release, 18 April 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The UN Special Rapporteurs on extreme poverty, indigenous peoples, right to food, and foreign debt called on the World Bank to adopt human rights standards during the review of its environmental and social safeguard policies which apply to project finance. The review offers an important opportunity for broadening the scope of the World Bank’s safeguard policies in key areas related to human rights such as disability, gender, labor, land tenure, and the rights of indigenous peoples. The first consultation period concluded on 21 April, and a first draft of the revised policies is expected to be released for public comment in the next few months. For the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples James Anaya “this review is an opportunity for the World Bank to heed the call of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which provides that States, intergovernmental organizations, and UN specialized agencies, including the World Bank, shall promote respect for full application and realization of, its provisions.”“World Bank financed large-scale development projects often have an impact on land used by small-scale farmers, negatively affecting their right to food,” said the Special Rapporteur on the right to food Olivier De Schutter. In his view, “the updated safeguard policies must ensure that the voice of affected communities is more effectively heard, through inclusive and participatory impact assessments and through effective accountability mechanisms that provide effective remedies for any harm caused.” Read the release …

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