Independent United Nations experts are advising the World Bank to include human rights standards in their criteria for giving loans and all other interactions with developing countries. The World Bank will hold a review in the upcoming months to discuss its social policies and is expected to adopt international human rights standards.
When the World Bank does not consider the human rights of a specific country before investing, the organization risks unintentionally hurting the extremely poor in that country. This happens because some development ends up benefiting the wealthy people while the poor suffer. For example, poor farmers may lose their land, and therefore livelihood, in order to build new housing structures that have been sanctioned by the World Bank.
The group advocating for human rights standards in the World Bank includes representatives for the Special Rapporteur (and its sub-groups on extreme poverty and human rights, rights of indigenous peoples, and rights to food) and the Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights.
As such, the World Bank can expect to hear arguments from this group urging them to consider issues like “disability, gender, labor, land tenure, and the rights of indigenous people” in the meeting. These suggestions will also be open for public comment. The goal of adding human rights criteria to World Bank standards is to ensure that the poor benefit development as well as wealthy people.
The World Bank will update its “safeguard policies,” its social and environmental policies, to make sure that the voices of the poor are not overpowered by the wealthy. This review, which will analyze the activities of the World Bank for the past two years, is a huge opportunity for the organization to begin to reach out to the world’s poorest.
– Mary Penn
Source: India Blooms
Photo: The Foundry