Following ongoing criticism from Honduran and international civil society groups (see Observer Winter 2014, Spring 2014) the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank’s private sector arm, published an April updated version of the action plan on its controversial investment in palm oil company Dinant. The plan follows a January report of the IFC’s accountability mechanism, which revealed violations of multiple performance standards in the IFC’s loan to the company that had been linked to assassinations and forced evictions in the Bajo Aguan region (see Observer Winter 2014). In the new plan the IFC has now committed to consult with local communities about the specific issues and steps covered in the action plan, as well as guaranteed third-party verification of some of the plan’s activities. However local farmers groups have called for an independent commission to look into human rights abuses in the area. Dr Juan Almendarez, director of Friends of the Earth Honduras commented: “The World Bank, through the IFC’s policy of favouring biofuel corporations and private banking in the Aguan region of Honduras, far from ending poverty sinks peasant families, and the garifuna people in a hell of poverty and injustice in violation of human rights.”
EarthRights International examines how the Jam v. IFC case has helped to shift the landscape of accountability for international financial institutions by successfully challenging their claim to “absolute” immunity in US courts, potentially opening IFC up to further legal challenges in future.
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