Category: Uncategorized

Do communities affected by internationally financed projects have access to remedies?

Posted on July 21st, by hlids in Uncategorized. No Comments

By: Kristin Beharry

Traditional justice is expensive and difficult to attain. The cost of litigation in time and money, judicial corruption, fear of retribution, and other barriers push the most marginalized out of the sphere of national courts. Among the most marginalized are those harmed by internationally financed projects. From herders in Mongolia to farmers in Liberia, communities affected by projects financed by international financial institutions have little judicial recourse for violations of their environmental and human rights by large corporations; however, that does not necessarily mean that they have no recourse.

International financial institutions (such as the World Bank, International Financial Corporation (IFC), and Asian Development Bank), and many export credit agencies and private corporations have their own accountability offices, mandated to hear complaints from affected communities. In the last 20 years, these accountability mechanisms have grown exponentially, from only the World Bank Inspection Panel in 1994 to 52 different accountability offices in 2014. Accountability offices provide communities with an outlet to voice their complaints through various pathways: (1) by entering a mediated problem-solving process with the project company, or (2) by initiating a compliance review where the financial institution’s investigators evaluate the environmental and social due diligence and impacts of … Read More »

South Sudan’s Three Year Anniversary: No Cause for Celebration

Posted on July 14th, by Ishita Kala in Uncategorized. No Comments

This week South Sudan celebrated its three year independence anniversary after voting to secede from Sudan on July 9, 2011. Though 99 percent of the population voted for secession, South Sudan’s transition to independence has been far from smooth. Struggling with economic collapse, civil war, and famine, South Sudan has faced a slow development trajectory and, in fact, has topped Foreign Policy’s 2014 Fragile States Index (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/fragile-states-2014), passing long-time number one Somalia.

Before secession the region of South Sudan contained almost seventy-five percent of Sudan’s oil reserves and prior to independence South Sudan was producing 350,000 barrels of oil per day. Following independence oil was expected to comprise almost 98% of the country’s economy. However, South Sudan, which under Sudan had never developed significant infrastructure, did not have the requisite pipelines or refineries to independently produce and sell their oil. Sudan charged exorbitant fees for use of these facilities attempting to preserve the scheme, which occurred when the countries were united, under which the north and south equally split the profits from the oil. To combat this price gauging South Sudan halted oil production in January 2012. Though this eventually led to negotiations with Sudan, it also resulted in enormous inflation … Read More »

Access to justice for women and engaging informal justice mechanisms

Posted on July 8th, by Akhila Kolisetty in Uncategorized. No Comments

Access to justice for women and engaging informal justice mechanisms

Akhila Kolisetty

 In the U.S., approximately one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. The statistic is similar around the world, but the legal and institutional infrastructure to adequately prevent such violence and provide sufficient redress to victims is often completely absent in many developing countries.

In rural Sierra Leone, for instance, I witnessed a woman run to the nearest police station immediately after being beaten by her husband, and with a large open wound on her head.  Despite the clear evidence of assault, the police took little action to investigate the crime.  In part, this was because they lacked training, capacity and even the resources to attempt to locate the accused, who had fled by then to a nearby city. Because they lack the funding and resources (including an adequate salary), police sometimes ask complainants for bribes to continue the investigation or money for travel and equipment – which means that victims are essentially funding the police, rather than the government.  Clearly, cost is a huge barrier for victims who come from poor families or rural regions who live on under $2 a day. Beyond this, the police … Read More »