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Mon Jan 13, 2014, 11:34 PM

World Bank's ethics under scrutiny after Honduras loan investigation

World Bank's ethics under scrutiny after Honduras loan investigation

Private lending arm lent millions to palm oil company accused of links to assassinations and forced evictions, audit reveals

Posted by
Nina Lakhani

Monday 13 January 2014 11.07 EST

The verdict could not have been clearer: the World Bank's private lending arm failed to comply with its own ethical standards when it lent millions of dollars to a Honduran palm oil company accused of links to assassinations and forced evictions.

This was the damning verdict by the World Bank's Office of the Compliance Adviser/ Ombudsman (CAO) on Friday. It had investigated whether a $30m (£18.2m) loan by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to Corporation Dinant, an agribusiness owned by one of Honduras's richest and most powerful men Miguel Facussé, was made after proper environmental and social due diligence.

The investigation was triggered by local NGOs accusing Dinant of direct and indirect involvement in a campaign of terror against campesinos, or peasant farmers, in the fertile Bajo Aguán valley in the north. Dinant claimed any violence was either unconnected to the company or legitimate self-defence.

The audit, one of the most critical issued by the Bank's internal watchdog, was unequivocal. The IFC failed to spot the serious social, political and human rights context in which Dinant operates, or if it did, failed to act effectively on the information; and failed to disclose vital project information, consult with local communities, or to identify the project as a high-risk investment.

More:
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2014/jan/13/world-bank-ethics-scrutiny-honduras-loan-investigation

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Reply World Bank's ethics under scrutiny after Honduras loan investigation (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jan 2014 OP
Judi Lynn Jan 2014 #1
Judi Lynn Jan 2014 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2014, 02:39 AM

1. World Bank Firm Backs Honduran Corporation Associated With Forced Evictions, Multiple Killings

World Bank Firm Backs Honduran Corporation Associated With Forced Evictions, Multiple Killings

John Glaser, January 13, 2014

According to Human Rights Watch, the World Bank’s private investment firm, International Finance Corporation (IFC), lent $15 million to Corporacion Dinant, a Honduran food company, despite indications that it was forcing people off their own land and controlled security forces that engaged in multiple killings.

“The IFC loaned millions of dollars to a project, even though it was known that its operations were already enmeshed in killings and other violence,” said Jessica Evans, senior international financial institutions researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch. “As President Kim urges World Bank staff to take on riskier investments, the Dinant case should serve as a warning about the pitfalls of investing without proper oversight.”

The CAO found that IFC staff had underestimated risks related to security and land conflicts, and that they did not undertake adequate due diligence even though the situation around the project and the risks had been raised publicly. Nor did IFC project staff inform other IFC specialists on such environmental and social risks about the problems that they knew were occurring.

The investigation stemmed from allegations that Dinant conducted, facilitated, or supported forced evictions of farmers in Bajo Aguán, Honduras, and that violence against farmers on and around Dinant plantations in the Bajo Aguán, including multiple killings, occurred because of inappropriate use of private and public security forces under Dinant’s control or influence.

More:
http://antiwar.com/blog/2014/01/13/world-bank-firm-backs-honduran-corporation-associated-with-forced-evictions-multiple-killings/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AWCBlog+%28Antiwar.com+Blog%29

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2014, 04:05 AM

2. WikiLeaks Honduras: US Linked to Brutal Businessman

WikiLeaks Honduras: US Linked to Brutal Businessman

Miguel Facussé, a biofuels magnate entangled with the drug trade, is waging a bloody war against campesinos—with American support.

Dana Frank October 21, 2011

Since 2009, beneath the radar of the international media, the coup government ruling Honduras has been collaborating with wealthy landowners in a violent crackdown on small farmers struggling for land rights in the Aguán Valley in the northeastern region of the country. More than forty-six campesinos have been killed or disappeared. Human rights groups charge that many of the killings have been perpetrated by the private army of security guards employed by Miguel Facussé, a biofuels magnate. Facussé’s guards work closely with the Honduran military and police, which receive generous funding from the United States to fight the war on drugs in the region.

New Wikileaks cables now reveal that the US embassy in Honduras—and therefore the State Department—has known since 2004 that Miguel Facussé is a cocaine importer. US “drug war” funds and training, in other words, are being used to support a known drug trafficker’s war against campesinos.

Miguel Facussé Barjum, in the embassy’s words, is “the wealthiest, most powerful businessman in the country,” one of the country’s “political heavyweights.” The New York Times recently described him as “the octogenarian patriarch of one of the handful of families controlling much of Honduras’ economy.” Facussé’s nephew, Carlos Flores Facussé, served as president of Honduras from 1998 to 2002. Miguel Facussé’s Dinant corporation is a major producer of palm oil, snack foods, and other agricultural products. He was one of the key supporters of the military coup that deposed democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya on June 28, 2009.

Miguel Facussé’s power base lies in the lower Aguán Valley, where campesinos originally settled in the 1970s as part of an agrarian reform strategy by the Honduran government, which encouraged hundreds of successful campesino cooperatives and collectives in the region. Beginning in 1992, though, new neoliberal governments began promoting the transfer of their lands to wealthy elites, who were quick to take advantage of state support to intimidate and coerce campesinos into selling, and in some cases to acquire land through outright fraud. Facussé, the biggest beneficiary by far of these state policies, now claims at least 22,000 acres in the lower Aguán, at least one-fifth of the entire area, much of which he has planted in African palms for an expanding biofuel empire.

More:
http://www.thenation.com/article/164120/wikileaks-honduras-us-linked-brutal-businessman#

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Facusse, sitting with Porfirio Lobo, Honduran President, and Cesar Ham, politician.

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Is the World Bank Funding Death Squads in Honduras?

Written by Annie Bird, Rights Action
Thursday, 08 November 2012 12:38

Massacro al Movimiento Campesino del Aguan: Guardie private di Miguel Facussè assassinano almeno 4 compañeros del MCA, vari feriti gravi e 2 desaparecidosThe Dinant Corporation and subsidiaries of the Jaremar Corporation, both Honduran African palm oil corporations blamed by campesino movements for the murder of approximately 80 campesinos in the Aguan river valley region since the June 2009 military coup, have received millions of dollars from the World Bank since the coup. Most recently, on November 2, 2012, Orlando Campos, Reynaldo Rivera Paz, and José Omar Paz - all former members of a campesino movement which contests rights to the “ Panama farm” against Dinant Corporation’s illegitimate claims - were killed in a drive-by shooting as they waited for a bus. The following day, in an unprecedented arrest of a death squad member, police officer Marvin Noe García Santos was arrested for these assassinations.

On August 13, 2012, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman [CAO] - internal agency of the World Bank that monitors compliance with Bank standards and safeguards - published its appraisal of a $30 million loan from the World Bank’s private financing arm, the International Finance Corporation [IFC], to the Dinant Corporation palm oil corporation of Honduras, and found that an audit of the Dinant loan should be conducted. This appraisal was “initiated by the CAO Vice-President in response to a letter submitted in November 2010 by Rights Action to the President of the World Bank Group in November 2010, and conversations between CAO and local NGOs.” It determined an audit of the World Bank loan’s social and environmental performance will be conducted.

On November 17, 2010, two days after five campesinos from the Movimiento Campesino del Aguan (MCA) were killed by security forces employed by the Dinant Corporation owned by Miguel Facusse, Rights Action sent a letter to the president of the World Bank charging that the Bank shared responsibility for the killings given that, one year before, on November 5, 2009, the World Bank released $15 million dollars to Dinant, the first half of the $30 million loan. This World Bank loan disbursement occurred while a military-backed junta controlled Honduras , in the aftermath of the June 2009 military coup, and brutal State repression was again becoming systematic throughout Honduras . For months on end, every single day, peaceful pro-democracy protests against the military coup took place in the streets of Honduras , and were violently repressed by the junta. Death squads began operating again in Honduras , targeting pro-democracy activists.

More:
http://upsidedownworld.org/main/honduras-archives-46/3958-is-the-world-bank-funding-death-squads-in-honduras

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