World Bank urged to recognize human rights in its policies

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Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

The importance of human rights should be recognized by the World Bank in its new environmental and social policies, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

Philip Alston said on Wednesday the World Bank's safeguard policies, which are meant to protect vulnerable groups from its investment projects, seem to "avoid any meaningful reference to human rights."

The Special Rapporteur noted that Bank officials have defended its new approach on the basis that alternative sources of development financing are emerging, which do not require the same human rights safeguards.

A joint letter with 27 other independent human rights experts has been sent to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim raising the concern that Bank policies are moving in the opposite direction from progress.

Mr Kim has reportedly continually promised that a dilution of environmental and social policies will not take place.

Meanwhile, the UN experts are insisting that many vulnerable groups, such as the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community and people with disabilities, remain unprotected in Bank projects.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration:  1’12″

 

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