08/26/2020, 17.04
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Beijing’s Asian bank violating human rights, harming the environment

NGOs accuse the AIIB of not respecting its social and environmental pledges. In India and Bangladesh, entire communities have been forcibly relocated to build new infrastructures. The European Union calls for respect for international standards.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) violates human rights and does not respect the environment, this according to human rights groups meeting at a Manila-based NGO forum on Asian development banks

China set up the AIIB in 2016 as an alternative to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, dominated by the United States and Japan.

The brainchild of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the development bank, which has 103-member, is designed to promote his Belt and Road Initiative, the large investment plan that seeks to revive the ancient Silk Roads between China and Europe, and make Beijing the hub of world trade.

Opposed by the US, the AIIB has so far approved almost US billion in loans in about 20 countries. However, some 25 case studies indicate that the Beijing-headquartered bank has not lived up to its pledge of funding only socially and environmentally sustainable projects.

Several AIIB-funded projects have led to the forced removal of entire communities, with hundreds of people losing their livelihoods.

In some cases, people received little or no compensation, after they were forced off their land to build a road in India and a power plant in Bangladesh.

In one case last June, 103 families in Bengaluru (Karnataka, India) were moved into makeshift accommodations because of the construction of the local metro rail. This was done after many residents had lost their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak.

AIIB-funded projects have also damaged the environment. In the case of the Bhola power plant in southern Bangladesh, construction caused flooding in the surrounding area, and resulted in the death of two workers.

Accusations from environmentalists and human rights groups are nothing new for AIIB, and they are not alone. The European Union has on several occasions expressed doubts about its actions, this despite the fact that some of its members have joined the institution.

To make this point, at a hearing of the European Parliament in May 2019, the EU European Commissioner for the Economy Pierre Moscovici said that the AIIB should comply with internationally-recognised financial, social and environmental standards.

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