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In involuntary resettlement for China projects, the World Bank ignores its own guidelines

Press Advisory, Human Rights in China
May 31, 2006

For some years now, the World Bank has been promoting the People’s Republic of China as a model of “best practice” for the developing world in the contested area of involuntary resettlement. This evaluation has been widely repeated, and most recently has been adopted in several papers commissioned by the World Commission on Dams (WCD http://www.dams.org), a body mandated to conduct an independent review of the “development effectiveness” of big dams and water projects around the globe. Today Human Rights in China releases three documents, two articles from the Spring 2000 China Rights Forum and comments on a WCD report, that challenge the image of China as resettlement model. These documents are released as the Bank’s board meets today to discuss the report of an Inspection Panel tasked to assess whether proper procedures and guidelines were ignored in the assessment of the resettlement component of the China Western Poverty Reduction Project slated for Dulan County, Qinghai Province. This Inspection Panel was only initiated after a ground-breaking request from the International Campaign for Tibet raised serious questions about whether Bank policies and safeguards were applied in the feasibility studies and environment assessments for this project. But as the attached documents show, by its own admission the World Bank effectively waives its own guidelines in its work on resettlement in China, while ignoring evidence contradicting the favored image of China as resettlement paragon, most notably the stream of reports about corruption and malfeasance associated with the Three Gorges Dam.

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