Target: Kim Jong Kim, President of the World Bank
Goal: Demand the World Bank stop funding forced evictions, and follow through on its obligation to assist communities displaced by its projects.
The World Bank claims it is “working for a world free of poverty.” But the projects it funds around the globe, from pipelines and mines to dams and power plants, are doing more than just destroying the environment. Communities displaced to make way for these projects often see rises in hunger, unemployment, disease and death despite the World Bank’s obligation to aid them in resettlement.
It is absurd to evict some of the planet’s most vulnerable people from their lands in the name of fighting poverty. The World Bank is required to provide replacement housing, and to help the people it displaces find new means of supporting their families. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and others confirmed in a joint report that the World Bank’s projects have forced more than three million people from their lands since 2004, in many cases abandoning them.
Some World Bank-backed projects have funded regimes accused of human rights abuses, and continued to do so despite evidence of these terrible crimes. “The bank’s lapses have hurt urban slum dwellers, hardscrabble farmers, impoverished fisherfolk, forest dwellers and indigenous groups,” according to the report, “leaving them to fight for their homes, their land and their ways of life, sometimes in the face of intimidation and violence.”
The World Bank has shown increasing support for projects that involve mass displacement. These forced evictions and the lack of follow-through that accompanies them violate the World Bank’s own rules, not to mention basic human decency. Demand that the World Bank stop fueling the displacement of millions of people already struggling to survive.
Dear Mr. Kim,
Hundreds of non-governmental organizations, trade unions and farmer groups have confronted the World Bank regarding its role in mass displacement and environmental destruction. How can your organization fund violent evictions, fossil fuel projects and the corporate takeover of farming and still claim to work on behalf of the poor? How can you defend your position in the face of criticism from groups as diverse as these, featured stories in Huffington Post and elsewhere, and a scathing new report detailing 3.4 million people displaced by World Bank projects since 2004?
The report describes how the World Bank “[failed] to protect people moved aside in the name of progress” in Albania, Brazil, Ethiopia, Honduras, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Kosovo, Nigeria, Peru, Serbia, South Sudan, and Uganda. These are not isolated incidents; rather they demonstrate a clear disregard for the safety and livelihood of the displaced in violation of your own rules. They make a mockery of your “commitment” to raise the standard of living for the planet’s poorest.
I call on the World Bank to stop financing projects involving forced evictions, and to provide new homes and employment opportunities to those already displaced.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kounosu via Wikimedia Commons