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Development banks and human rights defenders

Increasingly, individuals, communities and civil society organisations who speak out about development activities are finding themselves under attack.

In this reality of the criminalisation of human rights and environmental defenders and the shrinking space in which to be active, development banks have a responsibility to ensure that their activities do not cause or contribute to human rights violations, and they must take necessary measures to identify and address human rights risks.

Bankwatch has witnessed cases where critics of projects, companies or governments that receive the support of development banks have faced various forms of repression. Below are just two such stories, one from Macedonia and the other from Ukraine.

That is why over one hundred and forty civil society groups are calling on international financial institutions to respect human rights and to do everything within their powers to support an enabling environment for public participation in which people are empowered to engage in crafting their own development agendas and in holding their governments, donors, businesses, and other actors to account.