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IMF Meetings Bring Hope, Despair

This was a year like no other for the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank Annual Meetings, which took place virtually earlier this month. A crush of panels, briefings, and townhalls painted a searing picture of the havoc the Covid-19 pandemic…
Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva participates in a panel discussion on post Covid-19 recovery and resilience during the 2020 Annual Meetings at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, October 13, 2020.  
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Independent Review Recommends Funding to Address Harms

An external review of the World Bank Group’s private funding institutions found that social and environmental abuses caused by their development projects went largely unaddressed, leaving victims without remedies. The review focused on the…
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Need to Turn Progress into Effective Reform

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has justifiably given itself high marks on implementing the anti-corruption framework it adopted two years ago. In an internal review published last week, the IMF celebrates real progress. But the report and…
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Economic Reform Shouldn’t Come at Expense of People in Poverty

As poverty increases, inflation skyrockets, and unemployment soars, Lebanon is facing the worst economic crisis in its history. Last week, the government began formal negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to discuss a …
People wave a Lebanese national flag during a protest in Central Beirut December 11, 2006.
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Empower Monitoring Groups to Track Corruption Using Covid-19 Funds

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has responded to the collapse of the global economy from the Covid-19 pandemic with an unprecedented speed and scale of spending. Since March 26, it has approved over US$8 billion in emergency…
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Russia, US Block Opening Up Discussions on Restrictions

Incendiary weapons drew widespread condemnation at last week’s annual meeting of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but interventions by Russia and the United States will keep the issue off the agenda next year. …
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Reforms Need to Target the Underlying Soviet-Era System Encouraging Forced Labor

Despite a slew of steps taken to curb the practice, forced labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields remains widespread, according to a recently released report. The Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF), which has been monitoring…
Women carrying bags of cotton to be weighed and loaded onto a truck in Jizzakh region during the 2016 cotton harvest. The government typically requires people to meet a daily quota of cotton picked, from which the costs of food and transport are deducted.
News

Hundreds of Cases of ‘Disappearances’ and Torture Reported Under al-Sisi’s Government

Instead of protecting its citizens from torture and forced disappearances, the Egyptian government prefers to criticize and attack groups calling for investigations. Human Rights Watch published evidence several weeks ago…
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World Bank President Jim Kim Should Press to Eliminate Labor Abuses

Despite recent reforms, systematic forced labor was still rampant in 2017 in Uzbekistan’s cotton sector, new research shows. A report by the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF), a German-based nongovernmental…
A woman picks cotton during the 2015 cotton harvest, which runs from early September to late October or early November annually.
News

US Supreme Court Challenge Calls Legal Immunity Into Question

The private sector arm of the World Bank has long come under fire for funding projects that run afoul of human rights. But, because it enjoys full legal immunity in the United States, it has not been possible for anyone to hold the…
Police officers stand in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., January 19, 2018.
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New Policy Aims to Assist Countries in the Fight Against Corruption

The International Monetary Fund has unveiled a new blueprint for tackling the global scourge of corruption, conceding that its approach to the issue has been “uneven” in the past. The new policy isn’t perfect, but, if…
International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters building is seen during the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington, U.S., October 14, 2017.
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Human Rights Are ‘Also Your Job’ World Bank Gathering Told

Last week the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein reminded a room of World Bank economists that human rights are “also your job,” and called on the institution to “marry human rights and economics…
Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, addresses the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland February 26, 2018.
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Amid Ongoing Bombings, More Protection Needed for Education

In areas of Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Syria’s capital Damascus held by anti-government armed groups, schools have closed for fear that Syrian and Russian warplanes will bomb them. Instead, local residents have opened informal schools…
Children walk through the rubble of the Tamayuz (“Excellence”) kindergarten in the town of Hamouriyeh after it was hit by a Syrian-Russian airstrike on November 8, 2017. © 2017 Private
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Draft Sidesteps Instructions to Prevent Harm From Bank Projects

The World Bank has spent the past four years overhauling the rules it applies to prevent or mitigate social and environmental harm from the development projects it finances. But human rights are all but absent in its new rules. …
Members of the Boeung Kak Lake community in Cambodia demonstrate at a police blockade in December 2012 on the second day of community activist Yorm Bopha’s trial.
News

Missed Opportunity to Affect Much Needed Reforms

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on Wednesday approved a US$500 million loan for a crucial piece of a network of pipelines owned largely by the Azerbaijani government that will transport Azerbaijani gas to Europe. The bank made…
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Some Students, Teachers, Medical Workers Released

The recent release of 200,000 university students and some teachers and medical workers from forced labor picking cotton in Uzbekistan came shortly after World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s first meeting with the country’s new president, Shavkat…
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Bank Should Make it Safe for People to Share Views

When things go wrong with World Bank Group’s projects, it is often members of the community impacted who expose these problems. But they do so at their own risk. Finally, one of the bank’s accountability bodies is taking steps to make…
Members of the Boeung Kak Lake community in Cambodia demonstrate at a police blockade in December 2012 on the second day of community activist Yorm Bopha’s trial.
News

Violence against Rohingya Risks Country’s Development

The World Bank eagerly reengaged in Burma, also known as Myanmar, the moment the country began to open up and military rule was replaced with a military-backed elected government. Now the World Bank invests more than US$2 billion in the…
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