World Bank Investigates Impacts on Indigenous Peoples
In July 2013, the World Bank began investigating whether its $1.4 billion investment in Ethiopia’s Promoting Basic Services Project (PBS) is resulting in the “villagization” (forced relocation) of Indigenous Peoples. According to the Ethiopian government, the project is a voluntary process aiming to “increase access to basic services, improve food security, and bring socioeconomic and cultural transformation.”
Anuak communities are alleging that the project is resulting in forced population transfers and human rights violations, and that they are being removed from their fertile, ancestral lands to make way for foreign investment. This violates Bank policies which require “free, prior, and informed consultation leading to broad community support” from Indigenous Peoples relocated by Bank-funded projects.
Also in July 2013, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) began auditing its $18.2 million investment in Eco Oro Minerals (TSE:GSL) for a gold mine in the high altitude wetlands of Colombia, to ensure compliance with its Performance Standards. Indigenous communities are claiming that the mine will rupture fragile ecosystems and pose security risks to the region.