Many Haitians recently filed a complaint with the World Bank, outlining their concerns about a new mining law that the World Bank is supporting. Last week, the World Bank Inspection Panel refused to consider the complaint, though World Bank acknowledged the Haitians’ concerns as legitimate. Now that Parliament, which had opposed the new law, isn’t functional, many fear that Martelly will pass the law by decree. This would leave both Haitians and the environment vulnerable to the human rights violations and damage common in mining areas.
Part of the press release is below. Click HERE for the full text.
Center for Human Rights and Global Justice
February 17, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
World Bank Refuses to Consider Haitian Communities’ Complaint about New Mining Law
Complaint Office Recognizes “Legitimate” Concerns, Rejects Complaint on Technical Grounds
(NEW YORK, SAN FRANCISCO, PORT-AU-PRINCE Feb. 17, 2015)—Last week, the World Bank Inspection Panel refused to consider a complaint from Haitian communities about the Bank’s support for development of the mining sector in Haiti. Communities affected by mining activity and the Justice in Mining Collective, a group of six Haitian civil society organizations, submitted the complaint in early January, alleging violations of their rights to information and participation and threats of human rights abuses and environmental harms. The Inspection Panel—an office established to address complaints from people affected by World Bank-sponsored projects—recognized that the complaint raised “serious and legitimate” concerns and that the mining industry presents significant risks. The office nevertheless denied the complaint on narrow, technical grounds. The complainants expect to receive a copy of the decision in French today.
Communities’ concerns about the development of the mining industry stem in part from their experiences with mineral exploration to date. Farmers report that they have lost crops and watched fertile land turn barren; they allege that companies have entered and operated in their communities without seeking permission; and they contend that they have nowhere to bring their concerns. Now, the World Bank’s complaint office has declared that it will not investigate their grievances. “For the Panel to recognize that our concerns are legitimate and yet refuse to register the case, it is as if the lives of Haitian people do not matter to the World Bank,” said Peterson Derolus, Co-Coordinator of the Justice in Mining Collective.
Click HERE for the full text.