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European IFI watchers meet in Brussels

Added 17 Mar 2014
Last week the European network of IFI (International Financial Institutions) watchers – the EuroIFI network – met in Brussels for its 23rd biannual meeting. The meeting was hosted by 11.11.11, the coalition of NGOs, unions, movements and solidarity groups in Flanders – a EuroIFI member.

The topics of this year’s meeting included the on-going safeguards review of the World Bank and a broad discussion of the IFC, the World Bank’s private lending arm, and other Development Finance Institutions. Several southern CSO partners participated in the meeting and presented ongoing work on Regional Development Banks such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The issues addressed will be among the topics discussed both in the official meetings and the civil society events organised in Washington in mid-April.

The EuroIFI meeting included several partners from the global South, such as Mr Yoni Rivas, the Secretary General of the Movimiento Unificado Campesino del Aguan (MUCA) - a farmers' movement struggling for land rights in Honduras. Yoni shared with the group the latest on the human rights situation in the Aguan Valley, where over 100 people have been assassinated due to land conflicts and more than 4,000 campesinos have been 'criminalised' for campaigning for access to land. The meeting offered its support and solidarity to MUCA and Plataforma Agraria's struggle for justice, and backed the calls from more than 70 CSOs for the World Bank Group to halt loans to Corporacion Dinant, whose palm oil plantations have sparked conflict and human rights abuses in the valley.

Yoni also told the meeting that on 10th March, human rights defender and lawyer Ms Marlen Cruz, who had been working with MUCA, was arrested for the alleged crime of 'usurpación' at La Posta de la Pavana, in Southern Honduras. She was accused of participating in the occupation of land. Marlen has worked in CODEH, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights. Her colleague and fellow lawyer Antonio Trejos Cabrero, who had won back land from Dinant for the campesinos, was assassinated in September 2012. Marlen Cruz has worked against the eviction of campesino communities by the Sugar Plant AZUNOSA and the Honduran Sugar Company CAHSA.

The Guardian covered the issue. The resulting article can be read here