The World Bank has admitted to not protecting poor people who were displaced by infrastructure development projects across the world that the bank backed, reported The Huffington Post. The World Bank, by its own standards, must assist people unsettled by such programs with finding new housing and jobs.
HuffPo reported that:
This conclusion, announced by the bank on Wednesday, amounts to a reversal of its previous efforts to downplay concerns raised by human rights activists and others working on behalf of the dispossessed — people evicted from their land, sometimes in violent ways, to make way for World Bank-financed initiatives.
In short, the World Bank helped remove these people from their land and homes, and simply shirked their responsibility to help these displaced people find new homes and jobs. The bank reportedly had no idea how many people had been removed and admitted to its failure of “keeping track” of which projects displaced these people.
With the announcement, the World Bank introduced a plan intended to fix this problem.
Although the bank has set guidelines to address the issue of “involuntary resettlement,” it has taken few strides to enforce and apply similar guidelines in the past. Some of the World Bank’s critics believe that the bank’s admittance to failure is merely a diversion tactic.
“The purpose is to distract people,” said Ted Downing, president of the International Network on Displacement and Resettlement.
According to Reuters, there are approximately 500,000 individuals who have been displaced by 218 World Bank-supported projects. Granted, this estimation was arrived at using limited data collected by the World Bank, and the bank has no clear answer about the actual number. This incompetence indicates a clear failure of internal oversight.
Natalie Fields of the Accountability Counsel, which represents people disputing with the World Bank, said the proposed plan looked “slapped together.” She also said the bank didn’t “include measures to hold bank staff accountable for not doing a better job of identifying and helping displaced people.”
The World Bank cannot be trusted to regulate itself concerning the displacement of poor people the world over. An outside group needs to be tasked with monitoring the World Bank to ensure that those removed from their homes get helped.