BRIEF

World Bank Group Fact Sheet: Honduras and Indigenous People

May 11, 2016


We deplore the high level of fear and violence in Honduras. Berta Caceres was one of dozens of environmental activists who have been killed during the last six years. We urge the Government to address the deep-rooted land conflict in the region and bring this violence to an end.

We know that strong environmental and social policies are key to achieving our goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. This makes it all the more important that voices of people like Berta are not silenced.

Some Civil Society Organizations are presenting a distorted portrayal of comments World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim made during an April 6, 2016 speech at Union Theological Seminary in New York. The World Bank feels the need to set the record straight.

  • In his remarks on April 6, Kim called Ms. Cáceres’ murder “incredibly tragic,” and he stated at that event that “our commitment is to hear the voices of the Berta Cácereses of the world. We have to hear those voices.”
  • Referring to the impacts of involuntary resettlement in the development of infrastructure, Kim stated, “If we are doing something that’s really bad, and it’s really offending or really taking livelihoods away, tell us what it is, we will stop it and we’ll try to make it right. Because this work -- you cannot do the kind of work we are trying to do and not have some of these incidents happen. We just have to be honest when it happens, admit it, and then try to fix it as best we can.” To suggest that Kim was referring to Ms. Cáceres’ murder is dishonest and reprehensible.

Some organizations have called for the World Bank to withdraw funding for the construction of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric Project in Honduras.

  • But the World Bank Group has never invested in the Agua Zarca project. Several years ago, an investee fund of our private sector arm, IFC, considered financing the project. However, no investment was ever made.

For decades, the World Bank has expressed that human rights and development are intertwined.

  • Human rights principles essential for sustainable development are consistently applied in our work to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.
  • For over 20 years, Bank policy on Indigenous Peoples has referred to their dignity and human rights.
  • Human rights principles are prominently embedded in our proposed draft Environmental and Social Framework to enhance the bank’s safeguard policies through explicit requirements for nondiscrimination, meaningful consultation, effective public participation, property rights, accountability, transparency and good governance.
  • Through this commitment we help enhance the lives of the disadvantaged and the vulnerable.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“I was horrified by the senseless killing of Berta Cáceres. Ms. Cáceres was a tireless advocate for indigenous people, and her loss is palpable. We note the arrests in this crime that sought to silence one of the strongest voices for indigenous people in Honduras. We offer our deepest condolences to the family, colleagues and friends of Berta Cáceres and our full support to Honduras in its efforts to address the development challenges related to violence and indigenous peoples.” – World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------