IWGIA: Letter to the World Bank related to ongoing review of Safeguard Policy
IWGIA has sent a letter to the World Bank related to the review of its Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies. By proposing an alternative approach to applying its safeguards on Indigenous Peoples the bank disregards international law on indigenous peoples rights and undermines achievements and standards of regional human rights mechanisms.
The ongoing safeguard policy revision process raises great concerns that the World Bank Environmental and Social Safeguards will be seriously weakened, posing considerable threats to indigenous peoples and their rights.
In an unprecedented move, the World Bank proposes that governments can request the World Bank to engage in an “alternative approach” whereby it can ‘opt-out’ of requirements designed to protect indigenous peoples from unintended and negative consequences from development activities funded by the World Bank.
The proposed ‘alternative approach’ allowing for opting out of applying the safeguards for indigenous peoples would be a major setback for indigenous peoples around the globe, in particular on continents like Africa and Asia, where many government continue to violate indigenous peoples' rights while at the same time denying their existence – and where the opt out clause would play into the hands of those repressive governments.