Reassessing the Prospects of a Human Rights Safeguard Policy at the World Bank

Journal of International Economic Law, vol 15: 823-841.

15 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2012 Last revised: 17 Sep 2012

See all articles by Suzanne Zhou

Suzanne Zhou

McCabe Centre for Law & Cancer; University of Cambridge - Trinity Hall; University of Melbourne

Date Written: October 5, 2010

Abstract

Despite 20 years of attempts to introduce human rights concerns into formal World Bank policy, and increasing recognition of the importance that human rights play in the its work, the World Bank has yet to adopt a comprehensive safeguard policy dealing with the relationship between its activities and international human rights law obligations. Two reasons have been given for this reluctance: the legal prohibition on political interference in the World Bank’s Articles of Agreement, and concerns about how effective or appropriate a safeguard policy relating to human rights would be in practice. In this article, I review the legal and institutional obstacles to the adoption of a human rights safeguard policy, and suggest that they can be overcome by using a dialogue-based form of safeguard policy that incorporates human rights obligations incumbent upon the Bank and borrower countries into the benchmarks for the development success of the project.

Keywords: human rights, World Bank, safeguard policy, conditionality, Articles of Agreement, constituent treaty

Suggested Citation

Zhou, Suzanne, Reassessing the Prospects of a Human Rights Safeguard Policy at the World Bank (October 5, 2010). Journal of International Economic Law, vol 15: 823-841. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2115474

Suzanne Zhou (Contact Author)

McCabe Centre for Law & Cancer ( email )

615 St Kilda Road
Melbourne, Victoria 3004
Australia

University of Cambridge - Trinity Hall ( email )

Trinity Lane
Cambridge, CB2 1TJ
United Kingdom

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Australia

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