Internal watchdog finds link between World Bank financing and Ethiopian government's mass resettlement of indigenous group
The World Bank repeatedly violated its own rules while funding a development initiative in Ethiopia that has been dogged by complaints that it sponsored forced evictions of thousands of indigenous people, according to a leaked report by a watchdog panel at the bank.
The report by the World Bank’s internal Inspection Panel found that there was an “operational link” between the World Bank-funded program and the Ethiopian government’s relocation push, which was known as “villagization.” By failing to acknowledge this link and take action to protect affected communities, the bank violated its own policies on project appraisal, risk assessment, financial analysis and protection of indigenous peoples, the panel’s report concludes.
“The bank has enabled the forcible transfer of tens of thousands of indigenous people from their ancestral lands,” said David Pred, director of Inclusive Development International, a nonprofit that filed the complaint on behalf of 26 Anuak refugees.
The bank declined to answer ICIJ’s questions about the report.
Inclusive Development International’s Pred said it is now up to World Bank president Jim Yong Kim to decide whether “justice will be served” for the Anuak. “Justice starts with the acceptance of responsibility for one’s faults – which the Inspection Panel found in abundance – and ends with the provision of meaningful redress,” he said.
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