An ICIJ Investigation Evicted and Abandoned: The World Bank’s Broken Promise to the Poor

Rules Sidestepped in Tanzania

The World Bank’s board has granted a massive agribusiness project a waiver that exempts it from following the bank’s Indigenous Peoples Policy — sparking fears that the development lender is making an end run to resurrect a policy that it abandoned in public.

In the disappearing rainforests of Indonesia, a 9-year-old boy and his family cope with the trauma of eviction.

Mass evictions of the devoutly Christian Anuak people from Ethiopia were enabled by money from the World Bank, former officials say.

Explore data from 120 countries and get an inside look at how the World Bank has displaced millions across the globe.

Key findings

  • Over the last decade, projects funded by the World Bank have physically or economically displaced an estimated 3.4 million people, forcing them from their homes, taking their land or damaging their livelihoods.
  • The World Bank has regularly failed to live up to its own policies for protecting people harmed by projects it finances.
  • The World Bank and its private-sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation, have financed governments and companies accused of human rights violations such as rape, murder and torture. In some cases the lenders have continued to bankroll these borrowers after evidence of abuses emerged.
  • Ethiopian authorities diverted millions of dollars from a World Bank-supported project to fund a violent campaign of mass evictions, according to former officials who carried out the forced resettlement program.
  • From 2009 to 2013, World Bank Group lenders pumped $50 billion into projects graded the highest risk for “irreversible or unprecedented” social or environmental impacts — more than twice as much as the previous five-year span.

About this investigation

Evicted and Abandoned is a global investigation that reveals how the World Bank Group, the powerful development lender committed to ending poverty, has regularly failed to follow its own rules for protecting vulnerable populations.

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As a tribal group’s homes burned in Kenya, a former World Bank official says the bank shut down his efforts to help defend their rights.

Human rights advocates have criticized the bank for failing to speak up about the jailing of a former employee.

Rights campaigners claim the World Bank has repeatedly failed to intervene to stop its borrowers from cracking down on critics.

The villagers of Hade rebuilt after their homes were destroyed in the Kosovo War. Now Hade is again threatened with destruction – this time in the name of development. The government has been evicting villagers as the World Bank considers funding a new coal-fired power plant.

A violent land conflict in Honduras has drawn scrutiny because its corporate protagonist has been financed by the World Bank Group.

In India, fishing clans claim a giant power plant project backed by $450 million from the World Bank Group neglected to account for harm it would do to their livelihoods and way of life.

ICIJ’s Data Unit sifted through tens of thousands of pages to reveal the extent of people displaced by World Bank projects. Here we answer some frequently asked questions about the data, where it came from, and what does “displaced” actually mean?

Evicted and Abandoned

Explainer: What is the World Bank?

Evicted and Abandoned is a global investigation that reveals how the World Bank Group, the powerful development lender committed to ending poverty,…

Thousands of Anuak, a mostly Christian indigenous group from the rural Ethiopian state of Gambella, have fled from a brutal mass relocation program run by the Ethiopian government that former officials claim was funded using World Bank money.

Evicted and Abandoned

Key Findings

Over the last decade, projects funded by the World Bank have physically or economically displaced an estimated 3.4 million people, forcing them…

From the year the World Bank was founded to the number of journalists ICIJ worked with on the Evicted and Abandoned project, explore some of the key numbers.

Over the past decade, the World Bank has regularly failed to enforce its own rules when it comes to resettling displaced people, with devastating consequences for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet.

Gladys Chepkemoi was weeding potatoes in her garden the day the men came to burn down her house. She is one of thousands of Kenyans who have been forced out of their homes since the launch of a World Bank-financed program. They are not alone.

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The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is a global network of more than 200 investigative journalists in 70 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories.

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