James Wolfensohn recently replied to an NGO letter of last summer requesting clarification of what the Bank planned to do to implement a human rights agenda.
Following a visit to the UK by activists from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey UK groups have sent relevant UK ministers a memorandum outlining 10 sets of issues, including assessment, consultation and compensation as well as corruption, debt and legal issues. They are demanding a response before the IFC takes a decision to move the project into its decision-making cycle (posted 18 Nov. 02).
The Bank is taking a softly-softly approach to human rights despite announcements earlier in the year that it wanted to clarify its position.
The World Bank has been very active at the Johannesburg summit.
An agreement between oil multinationals and the government of Turkey for an IFC-backed pipeline exempts the companies from obligations under Turkish law that may threaten the project’s profits, including environmental, social and human rights legislation.
The Bank’s own Inspection Panel has backed many of the complaints by non-governmental organizations about a major oil pipeline in West Africa.
The United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report 2002 has called for more democracy and accountability of international financial institutions.
The World Bank and the IMF are bound by obligations enshrined in international human rights covenants, and must incorporate human rights considerations in the formulation and review of their Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs).
IFC plans for a joint project with the Shell oil company in Nigeria have been condemned by Niger Delta-based community organisations and international human rights groups.
In a letter to Bank President, James Wolfensohn, the Japanese Network for Indonesian Democracy, called for the Indonesian Consultative Group meeting, scheduled for 17-18th October in Japan, to be postponed until the human rights situation improved.