The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Human Rights

The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Human Rights

Developing Standards of Transparency, Participation and Accountability

Sanae Fujita

The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are two of the world’s major institutions conducting development projects. Both banks recognize the importance of transparency, participation and accountability. Responding to criticisms and calls for reform, they have developed policies that are designed to protect these values for people affected by their projects. This original and timely book examines these policies, including those recently revised, through the prism of human rights, and makes suggestions for further improvement. It also analyzes the development of the Banks’ stance to human rights in general.

Introduction

Sanae Fujita

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, development studies, law and development, law - academic, asian law, human rights, law and development, private international law, politics and public policy, human rights

Extract

The activities of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) have a significant impact on people’s lives and their human rights. The obligations of the IFIs regarding human rights have been a hotly debated issue over the last few years, notably in the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights and the Commission on Human Rights which adopted several resolutions and decisions regarding the negative effects of Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) on the full enjoyment of human rights. In addition, the negative influences of the World Bank’s development projects – such as involuntary evictions and serious environmental and social impacts – also have been criticised. From this perspective, this book argues that human rights standards should be developed in order to hold IFIs accountable for their decisions and for the impacts of their operations. As the Special Rapporteur on the right to food has observed: “These organizations are so powerful today that they have enormous influence on the policy and programmes of national governments, particularly in the poorer, weaker countries that are heavily indebted to the international financial system.” Thus, I argue in support of Reinisch who observes that: If it is true that “with power comes responsibility” then it is only logical to demand human rights observance by those non-state actors which are now as powerful as some states and may thus violate human rights in the same way as states.