Bank boss meets rights groups

15 September 1998

Leading human rights NGOs met World Bank President Wolfensohn in June. NGOs presented papers on the Bank’s role in promoting labour standards; its relationship with NGOs; and post-conflict reconstruction issues.

Wolfensohn claimed that his objectives and those of human rights groups are identical, it is just a question of how the Bank should interpret its charter which constrains political activity. Wolfensohn cited the Bank’s education, health and judicial reform work plus its new policy on child labor as examples of activities in this area.

He agreed that the ILO is and should be the lead agency on these matters, and that the Bank would cooperate with it.

The Bank has considered the inclusion of labor law within WB contracts, following trade union campaigns, but argues that the WB cannot and should not do this.