World Bank Admits Link to Forced Evictions in Africa
February 23, 2015
The World Bank has failed to properly enforce its environmental and social guidelines regarding Indigenous Peoples in Africa. According to a leaked report obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Bank knew there was an “operational link’’ between its funding for an Ethiopian development initiative and the forced evictions of thousands of Indigenous Peoples.
Over the last decade, the World Bank created a health and education initiative that galvanized about $2 billion in funds. Members of the Indigenous Anuak people in Ethiopia’s Gambella region declared that the Ethiopian government was using some of the World Bank’s money in a program that supported forced evictions and allowed soldiers to beat, rape and kill Anuak people who refused to leave their homes.
Cultural Survival’s 2012 campaign successfully urged the governments of the US and UK, donor nations to Ethiopia, to recognize this link and pull funding for the projects that lead to the removal of Indigenous Peoples from their lands. The campaign highlighted the Anuak people’s forced removal to state-created villages, and how those who refused to leave their lands were met with violent attacks, rape, and torture.
According to a leaked watchdog report, The World Bank’s internal Inspection Panel admitted that there was an “operational link” between the World Bank-funded program and Ethiopian authorities’ eviction actions. The Ethiopian government has argued that the forced removal of Indigenous Peoples and the creation of villages, known as the “villagization” program, was designed to provide access to basic socio-economic infrastructures like food, healthcare, and educational facilities to the people who are being relocated and to bring “socio-economic & cultural transformation of the people.” Under this program, the Ethiopian government forcibly relocated approximately 70,000 Indigenous People from the Gambella region to new villages that actually continue to lack basic necessities and minimum health standards. The Bank’s failure to publicly acknowledge this “operational link” and to ensure the protection of affected communities means the World Bank violated its own policies based on project appraisal, risk assessment, financial analysis and protection of Indigenous Peoples, concludes the report. …Read More.