”The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United
States executive director of each international financial institution
to seek to ensure that each such institution responds to the findings
and recommendations of its accountability mechanisms by providing
just comensation or other appropriate redress to individuals and
communities that suffer violations of human rights, including forced
displacement, resulting from any loan, grant, strategy or policy
of such institution.” United States Consolidated Appropriations Act 2014.
Forced Displacement, Reparation, and a US ban on financing international hydro-development… policy ramifications of new US law
Barbara Rose Johnston, Center for Political Ecology firstname.lastname@example.org
In January 2014, the United States Congress passed compromise legislation on the annual budget. Buried within its’ 1500+ pages is specific and far-reaching language that clarifies US obligations and related policy with regards to public funds invested in foreign contexts, including US investment in international financial institutions. Specifically, international financial institutions (IFIs) must ensure that a negotiated reparation agreement between the Government of Guatemala and communities affected by Chixoy Dam construction, forced displacements, and related violence is fully implemented; take demonstrative measures to ensure similar compliance to reparation agreements between residents of Boeung Kak lake in Cambodia and the Cambodian government; and, oppose financing for any activities that involve forced evictions or other violations of human rights in Ethiopia. This law also requires US representatives at IFIs to vote against “any financing to support or promote the expansion of industrial scale logging or any other industrial scale extractive activity into areas that were primary/intact tropical forest as of December 30, 2013” and any loan, grant, strategy or policy of such institution to support the construction of any large hydroelectric dam (as defined in “Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making (World Commission on Dams, 2000).” IFIs are also required to undertake independent outside evaluations of all of its lending to ensure that each institution “responds to the findings and recommendations of its accountability mechanisms by providing just compensation or other appropriate redress to individuals and communities that suffer violations of human rights.” This language was originally introduced as part of the Foreign Appropriations bill adopted by the Senate in the spring 0f 2013, following a series of meetings with representatives of affected communities, IFI staff, civil society advocates, and input from independent experts such as myself. Documentary evidence submitted in support of Senate deliberations demonstrated IFI failures to attend to the recommendations of internal and external compliance mechanisms and, thus, an unmet IFI obligation with regards to continuing human rights abuse.
The case of the forced displacement at Guatemala’s Chixoy Dam played an important role in garnering public attention and encouraging Congressional action. Financed by the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and other international institutions at a time when state-sponsored violence against its indigenous citizens was widely reported, the history of violence and massacres accompanying Chixoy Dam development received international media attention in spring 2013, with the highly publicized genocide trial of former dictator General Rios Montt and the related questions: Who financed these crimes against humanity? Who profited? And what remaining obligations exist to provide meaningful redress to victims and their families? At the height of the genocide, the sole source of funding for the military Government was achieved through internationally-financed hydro-development. Congressional action in this case and in the development-induced human rights abuse in Cambodia and Ethiopia reflects the obligation of the United States Government to insure that the expenditure of public funds do not violate national law, including US and IFI obligations to protect the environment and human rights.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 26 February 2014)
Resettlement News Issue #29
Hari Mohan has released our latest issue for January 2014, containing the following headlines:
- U.S. Pushes for Outside Oversight of World Bank, Opposes Push Forward ‘Big Hydro’
- A Victory Over 30 Years in Coming Reparations for the Victims of Chixoy Dam in Guatemala
- Under Pressure from Human Rights Groups ADB Admits Fault in Rail Project, Pledges Compensation
- Doing Dams Differently Can Mean Development for All
- International Consultation on Climate Change and Population Resettlement in San Remo, Italy, 12-14 March 2014
- Raising the Profile of Displacement/Resettlement NZASIA Conference, Auckland, November 2013
- Social Impact Assessment of Resource Projects Canberra
- Foreclosing the Future: The World Bank and the Politics of Environmental Destruction
Last Updated (Wednesday, 26 February 2014)
INDR names Jessie Connell as new Hot Issues editor on Environment and Climate Change-Related Displacement
How might decades of research about development-forced displacement and resettlement (DFDR) help inform responses to environment and climate change-related displacement? See the Editor Connell’s introduction to the new hot issue and join in this critical dialogue.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 26 February 2014)
India Enacts New Legislation to Protect Those Internally Displaced by Development Projects
INDR’s own Michael Cernea reviews in an OPED article on the Brookings Institution website on the new Act just adopted by India’s Parliament, entitled The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Act”(LARR) 2013. The new law repeals and replaces India’s 119 year-old, colonial Land Acquisition Act (LAA) of 1894, empowering farming families with the right of prior consent to land acquisition for some sub-categories of development projects, too narrowly defined, and increasing compensation rates for land up to four times the market value of land in rural area, and of up to two times the market value of land in urban areas. Importantly, the new Land Act legislates the mandatory incorporation of a resettlement and rehabilitation plan in each main project causing displacement. Additional comments on critical issues of policy and human rights are forthcoming in a second part of this two parts article.
Last Updated (29, Oct 2013)
Ad Hoc Committee on Mining and Sustainable Development
Critique of the Model Mining Development Agreement Project
How are, or should, the rights and lives of local people be considered when governments and mining companies negotiate secret agreements, granting companies access to the subsoil beneath them?
Such agreements are usually secret – non-disclosed to those “in the way” but they may threaten the existence of groups with ill-defined property rights. Tribal and indigenous peoples are especially vulnerable since Government may have an adversarial role with them before the mining deal is negotiated.
In 2009, the Mining Law Committee of the International Bar Association collected and analyzed over 50 existing mine development agreements to prepare a Model Mining Development Agreement (MMDA) as a tool, or set of tools, that can be used by mining companies and host governments for mining projects. As a compilation of existing agreements, the resulting protocol did not pay attention to critical social and local economic issues that are increasingly being considered by the sector, particularly when they seek financial guarantees form international lenders.
INDR President Ted Downing appointed a talented committee, an Ad Hoc Committee on Mining and Sustainable Development, to critically review the draft protocol. On 11 April 2013, the INDR Committee presented their preliminary findings to Luke Danielson, a member of the Mining Law Committee and their revised version will be published shortly on this page.
Learn more about mining and forced displacement:
Avoiding New Poverty: Mining-induced displacement and resettlement. Theodore Downing 2002. London: International Institute for Environment and Development.
Mining and Indigenous Peoples: Stakeholder Strategies and Tactics. Indigenous Peoples and Mining. Theodore Downing, Carmen Garcia-Downing, Jerry Moles and Ian McIntosh. 2003 IN Finding Common Ground:Indigenous Peoples and their Association with the Mining Sector. World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the International Institute for Environment and Development (UK). P. 11-46.
World Bank Sponsored Conference on Management of Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Benefit Sharing
Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI), Hyderabad in partnership with the World Bank is organizing a two day International Conference on Management of Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Benefit Sharing (MLARR) on 20th and 21st May 2013. It is organized by the talented World Bank’s Lead Social Development Specialist, Chaohua Zhang.
Conference offers a cross country experience on Land Acquisition, Resettlement, Rehabilitation and benefit-sharing in infrastructure investments. It offers an excellent opportunity for practitioners/policy makers throughout the world to gain timely insights on the diversity of policy/institutional reforms, experiences and approaches in dealing with land issues in infrastructure projects.
- To promote awareness and disseminate information regarding policy developments in Management of Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (MLARR)
- To promote knowledge about good practices in planning and implementation of resettlement programs.
- To share knowledge and experiences in benefit sharing across projects/sectors
- To foster mutual cooperation, collaboration, research and networking amongst regional organizations and governments in the field of MLARR.
Last Updated (Monday, 8 April 2013)