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  • Title: AgriSol Land Deal in Tanzania Creates Uncertain Future for Over 160,000 | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: AgriSol Land Deal in Tanzania Creates Uncertain Future for Over 160,000.. July 12, 2012.. Source:.. In Depth Africa Magazine.. View Original.. OAKLAND, CA – A new report by the Oakland Institute, Lives on Hold, exposes the consequences of Iowa-based AgriSol Energy LLC’s plans to lease more than 800,000 acres in Tanzania.. The project initiated in 2007-2008 has moved forward without public debate or consent, and will evict more than 160,000 long-term residents of Katumba and Mishamo, who remain in the dark over compensation and relocation plans.. The AgriSol land deal is a part of Kilimo Kwanza, or Agriculture First, the Tanzanian government’s scheme to promote agricultural development through public-private partnerships.. In June 2011, the Oakland Institute revealed how Iowa-based Bruce Rastetter, CEO of AgriSol Energy, leveraged the involvement of Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to provide legitimacy to this deal.. Initially masquerading the project as responsible agricultural investment, the university completely withdrew any support or association with it in February 2012 under growing public pressure.. While AgriSol claims to have halted operations in Katumba and Mishamo until the refugees have been relocated, Lives on Hold depicts how the relocation is to be accomplished.. “Caught in the crossfire of this egregious land deal are more than 160,000 newly naturalized Tanzanians–former Burundian refugees who fled civil war more than 40 years ago.. Initially promised citizenship, the residents still await their papers, conditional on them vacating their homes and lands in order to make way for the foreign investor.. The residents have been banned from cultivating crops including perennial crops such as cassava or building new homes and businesses, leaving them with no other option but to consider moving.. This is how the situation will be resolved for AgriSol,” said Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute and coauthor of the report.. A Katumba resident, a farmer and house builder, who’s name has been withheld to ensure his safety told the research team: “I’m greatly disappointed by the decision that forbids us from making progress.. Our livelihoods, activities have been stranded.. ”.. Lives on Hold documents how the residents of the Katumba settlement contribute to the economic and agricultural well-being of the region.. While initially referred to as “abandoned refugee camps” by AgriSol, OI’s field work depicts the Katumba settlement as a thriving community with well-established homes, farms, places of worship, and businesses.. Yet the policy of Kilimo Kwanza is being misused to subject the villagers to human rights abuses, which range from the burning down of houses and crops and violation of their freedom of speech to inequities in social services.. Amid the announcement of relocation in a town hall-style meeting with the authorities in 2010,  ...   which will affect the health of the people downstream and also wildlife in the area.. The protected forest reserve and its biodiversity will be sacrificed for a large-scale plantation for exports.. The Oakland Institute is asserting that the needs of the Burundian Tanzanians in Katumba must be met clearly, efficiently, and fairly while preserving one of the world’s most important and fragile waterways and landscape.. Earlier this month, an Iowa-based group, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, filed an official conflict of interest complaint against Rastetter with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, and are lobbying for Bruce Rastetter to be removed as Iowa Board of Regents President Pro Tem.. The Oakland Institute first exposed AgriSol’s land investment deal in June 2011.. View the June 2011 report and related documents here.. * The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank, bringing fresh ideas and bold action to the most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of our time.. ###.. We need your help to prevent deals like this from ever being on the table.. Donate.. That the AgriSol deal has gone sour is just one example of how research with a purpose can change the world.. That’s what we do at the Oakland Institute.. The Oakland Institute research has been critical in empowering local communities and decision makers in many countries so they can make informed choices about the investment they need to develop their agriculture and overcome hunger and poverty.. By providing information and analysis, sponsoring radio programs in local languages, and hosting events on the ground around agricultural investments, the Institute is working to ensure people have a say in their own future.. This work has already resulted in popular mobilization in countries such as South Sudan and Sierra Leone as well as increasing awareness for many decision makers across the world.. We are committed to a world free of hunger, which requires policies and investments that will benefit the people, not just a handful of businessmen, investors, and politicians.. It is our mission to unearth and publish information that propels activism and builds change.. To continue this work, we look to individuals and foundations that are committed to the same work and goals for support.. We hope that we can count on your continued support and ask you to make a generous gift to the Institute today so we can continue our shared work and build coalitions to make real change.. Find the full report.. here.. Contact.. the oakland institute.. P.. O.. Box 18978.. Oakland, CA 94619.. info@oaklandinstitute.. org.. Your tax-deductible donation allows us to conduct independent research, analysis, and advocacy to facilitate democratic participation in critical policy decisions that affect our quality of life..

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  • Title: Iowa Firm Accused of Displacing Tanzanians for Profit | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Iowa Firm Accused of Displacing Tanzanians for Profit.. July 11, 2012.. IPS.. WASHINGTON, Jul 11 2012 (IPS) - A major U.. S.. energy company, AgriSol Energy, is accused of engaging in land grabs in Tanzania that would displace more than 160,000 Burundian refugees who have lived there for decades, according to a.. report.. by the Oakland Institute, an organisation focused on environmental issues.. An ethics complaint from the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) states that AgriSol is benefiting from the forcible eviction of the refugees, many of whom are subsistence farmers, and leasing the land — as much as 800,000 acres — from the Tanzanian government for 25 cents per acre.. “All duty and tax free,” the Iowa CCI adds.. The project could net AgriSol, led by co-founder Bruce Rastetter, as much as 300 million dollars a year, according to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.. Larry Ginter, a retired hog farmer from Rhodes and a member of Iowa CCI, said in a telephone conference that he was “outraged at the exploitation of the farmers there (in Tanzania).. “This is an old pattern that has been going on for years,” he adds about AgriSol.. “This is a classic case of colonialism, and is theft of the highest order.. A spokesperson for AgriSol Tanzania denies those allegations and claims that the government had been the one that had instigated the movement of refugees.. “We did not evict them,” Henry Akona, director of communications for AgriSol Tanzania, told IPS.. “Perhaps it has been mishandled,” he said, regarding the movement of refugees.. “But it’s unfair for the Oakland Institute to mix AgriSol into it.. The company’s website states that the project is delayed at the settlements of Katumba and Mishamo “until the situation is resolved”.. The Tanzanian connection.. The AgriSol project was supported by the Tanzanian government under an initiative called Kilimo Kwanza — meaning “Agriculture First” — that was launched in 2009 by the Tanzania National Business Council to “promote agricultural development through public-private partnerships”.. The “public-private” partnership would, currently and in the future, aid ArgiSol in three different types of production: large-scale crop cultivation, such as food grains, beef and poultry production, and soy and maize production.. AgriSol was set to launch a 100-million-dollar investment in Tanzania over the next 10 years.. The stated aim of the programme, according to AgriSol was to, “help stabilise local food supplies, create jobs and economic opportunity for local populations, (and) spur investment in local infrastructure improvements.. The demands that ArgiSol made included such lopsided conditions that AgriSol would effectively “pay less for land in Tanzania than for a Starbucks coffee in the United States,” according to Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute.. Mittal, who conducted field research in Tanzania, said these policies have been supplemented by aggressive moves to stymie local businesses.. “The people on the ground have been told they can’t build new businesses,” she said.. “They  ...   to some Tanzanians, however, this process has been particularly unfavourable to the local population.. “It’s like someone climbing a tree and finding a poisonous snake— and below him there’s a crocodile in the water,” said Sembuli Masasa, an inhabitant of the Katumba district in Tanzania, according to the report.. “If he stays on the tree, the snake will bite him.. If he goes into the water, the crocodile will get him.. That’s the situation we’re in.. Children of the corn.. The corruption allegations against Rastetter are not confined to Tanzania.. In June, the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement lodged a complaint against Rastetter, calling for his removal as the head of the Board of Regents, which has control over the public school system in Iowa, including Iowa State University.. Rastetter was appointed as a member of the Board of Regents by Governor Terry Branstad in 2011, a few months after Branstad’s campaign, and was soon promoted to president pro temp.. Rastetter had made multiple contributions to Branstad’s campaign worth more than 160,000 dollars, and was the largest single contributor to Branstad’s campaign, according to the Daily Iowan.. “I didn’t support Gov.. Branstad to be a regent,” Rastetter flatly told The Daily Iowan in 2011.. “I supported him personally and raised money for him because I believed he would make a positive difference in Iowa.. Rastetter, managing director at AgriSol, and the CEO at several other agriculture-based firms, had no specific education or training in education before receiving his position on the board of regents.. Rastetter had been a large donor at Iowa State University.. According to the Iowa State University Foundation, Rastetter has made a total pledge of 2.. 25 million dollars to Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.. Initially, Iowa State University had trumpeted the project with AgriSol as a responsible agricultural investment, similar to other agricultural endeavours they had previously undertaken.. “In the fall of 2009, AgriSol Energy contacted ISU to ask if we would provide advice and assistance on planning a small-farmer education program similar to our Uganda project,” Wendy Wintersteen, dean of Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, explained in a statement.. “As in Uganda, an effort in Tanzania would focus on human nutrition, child survival, clean water and food security.. According to Mittal, Rastetter was instrumental in enlisting Professor Kevin Kimle, who holds a chair which Rastetter donated in 2009, and Eric Peterson, a member of advisory board of the College of Agriculture at Iowa State University and General Manger of Summit Farms, one of Rastetter’s companies.. They were both allegedly influential in getting Iowa State University to go forth with the Tanzania project.. In February, the university withdrew support from the project, citing the public pressure over the venture.. Iowa State University’s withdrawal, however, has not stopped AgriSol from pursuing other academic partners.. Ohio State University has also been approached for a partnership, according to Mittal..

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  • Title: Iowa Company Linked to Refugee Abuses In Tanzania | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Iowa Company Linked to Refugee Abuses In Tanzania.. July 10, 2012.. CorpWatch.. AgriSol, an Iowa company, has been linked to plans to evict 160,000 Burundian refugees from Katumba and Mishamo in western Tanzania, according to.. “Lives on Hold,” a new report by the Oakland Institute.. Kilimo Kwanza which translates as “Agriculture First”.. is a recent Tanzanian government initiative to promote a “greener revolution” through agricultural modernization and commercialization via public-private partnerships.. The program was launched in August 2009 by Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete.. Enter Agrisol Energy LLC's - an Iowa-based investment company that specializes in agribusiness.. The company’s goal is to find “underdeveloped global locations that have attractive natural resources but lack best-in-class agricultural technology, farming techniques, equipment and management.. ” The company opened talks with the government to start large-scale crop cultivation, beef and poultry production, and biofuel production in three “abandoned refugee camps” - Lugufu in Kigoma province (25,000 hectares) and Katumba (80,317 hectares) and Mishamo (219,800 hectares), according to company business plans.. A.. 2011 investigation by the Oakland Institute.. , a California based NGO, revealed that the refugee camps were not abandoned but very much occupied by Burundian refugees who have lived in the area for 40 years.. Agrisol does not deny this.. Henry Akona, AgriSol Tanzania's director of communications, says that the company officials were initially told that plans had been made to move the refugees from the settlements.. ".. We were considering those areas a few years ago.. , but we have suspended any plans because the land is occupied," Akona told the Daily Iowan.. "We should have done better homework.. ".. Oakland Institute profiled Sembuli Masasa, the father  ...   Akona disputes charges that the company is responsible for the fate of the Burundians.. “AgriSol has absolutely nothing to do with the refugees in Katumba and Mishamo,” he told the Daily Iowan.. The Oakland Institute report has created a storm in Iowa, notably for Bruce Rastetter, CEO of AgriSol Energy who worked with Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Ames, Iowa, to get support for the deal.. Faced with growing questions, the university pulled out in February 2012.. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a community group in Des Moines, Iowa, has.. filed an official conflict of interest complaint against Rastetter.. with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, and are lobbying for Bruce Rastetter to be removed as Iowa Board of Regents President Pro Tem.. The Tanzania project is part of a new phenomenon that activists are calling.. “land grabbing.. ” GRAIN, a global agricultural think tank based in Barcelona,.. estimates that at least 50 million hectares of good agricultural land – enough to feed 5 million families in India – have been transferred from farmers to corporations in the last few years alone.. Economists say that governments have to be very careful about inviting corporations to manage vast swathes of land in poor countries.. “If it’s done properly, and if African governments take care of their countries and their populations, this can be a big benefit,” says Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University told Dan Rather reports.. “If they in effect give away these valuable resources, then what happens is these scarce resources benefit some other part of the world.. And.. Africa is left even worse off than it was before..

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  • Title: Report Aligns Tanzania Strife, Ag Objective of Rastetter Firm | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Report Aligns Tanzania Strife, Ag Objective of Rastetter Firm.. July 9, 2012.. Des Moines Register.. But AgriSol denies any tie between its efforts and abuses of refugees.. A new report alleges Tanzanian refugees are suffering ongoing human rights abuses, in part because of relocation efforts that have coincided with a push by an agriculture company with Iowa ties to lease land in the country.. Some of an estimated 162,000 refugees in Tanzania have had their homes and crops burned by government security officials and been arbitrarily arrested and denied free speech, according to the Oakland Institute, a California think tank.. The report does not link the agriculture company, AgriSol Energy Corp.. , to any abuses it observed.. Iowa Board of Regents member Bruce Rastetter is managing director of the company.. A company spokesman said the Oakland Institute report misrepresents the effects of AgriSol’s efforts.. AgriSol has said it wants to lease more than 800,000 acres in Tanzania for large-scale farming operations.. Critics have called the deal a “land grab” because the company would lease land for 25 cents an acre and could one day make big profits.. The report is the latest in a series of criticisms of the deal.. Last month, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a grass-roots community organizing group, filed an ethics complaint concerning Rastetter with the state.. The group accused Rastetter, an agriculture and energy entrepreneur and top Republican Party donor, of using his Board of Regents membership to advance the land purchase deal.. The board oversees Iowa’s public universities, and Iowa State University was initially involved as an adviser on the project.. ISU announced in February that it would drop its advisory role.. An AgriSol spokesman, in response to the report, said the company  ...   deal had been reached.. Akona, however, said substantial parts of the government’s deal were agreed to a year earlier.. Given that negotiations involved the United Nations and two foreign countries, he said, it makes no sense that AgriSol swooped in at the last moment to alter the resettlement deal.. “(The report) is confusing the culmination of a long negotiation process with the beginning of an investment process.. There was a small overlap, but the refugee issue was quite long, and the investment was only beginning,” Akona said.. “The agreement, which is a very complicated one between foreign governments and was completed with the help of the U.. N.. , took a very long time and didn’t happen overnight.. To say AgriSol caused that is simply a misreading of the facts.. Akona noted that the only land AgriSol leases so far is about 42,000 acres in the western region of Kigoma, a deal that was finalized in February.. A former refugee camp there has been vacant since 2009, he said.. The Oakland Institute describes itself as an independent policy think tank focused on national and international social, economic and environmental issues.. Its report said the refugees already face severe discrimination from Tanzanian citizens and have not been told where they’ll be relocated or how much they’ll be compensated.. The report also cited environmental concerns involving a refugee camp in the western region of Rukwa.. The settlement, in existence for 40 years, is in a forest reserve established within the last 15 years.. Critical river systems and wetlands are also nearby, the report said.. “The needs of the (refugees) must be met clearly, efficiently and fairly while preserving one of the world’s most important and fragile waterways and landscape,” the report said..

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  • Title: Report Alleges AgriSol is Associated with Human Rights Violations in Tanzania | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Report Alleges AgriSol is Associated with Human Rights Violations in Tanzania.. Daily Iowan.. "Lives on Hold," a report released today by the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the Oakland Institute, alleges that the Iowa firm AgriSol Energy is responsible in part for human-rights abuses against more than 160,000 refugees in Tanzania — an accusation that the agricultural firm vehemently denies.. AgriSol Energy Tanzania, the Tanzanian arm of AgriSol Energy, is named in the report as being indirectly responsible for the Tanzanian government's eventual relocation of the former Burundian refugees from the Katumba and Mishamo settlements to make room for a large commercial farm.. The chief executive officer of AgriSol Energy is Bruce Rastetter, who sits on the state Board of Regents.. But AgriSol Energy denies having any influence in the Tanzanian government's decision to relocate the refugees.. Reached in New York City, Henry Akona, AgriSol Tanzania's director of communications, defended the company and Rastetter.. "AgriSol has absolutely nothing to do with the refugees in Katumba and Mishamo," Akona said.. "We were considering those areas a few years ago, but we have suspended any plans because the land is occupied.. The report, researched by the California-based think tank Oakland Institute, contends that the Tanzanian government is burning down the refugees' homes and crops, violating their freedom of speech, and providing inequitable social services in an effort to force the refugees out of their homes.. Olivia Bueno, the associate director of the International Refugee Rights Initiative, located in New York City, said the issue between the refugees and the Tanzanian government is complicated because of international laws.. In regards to the alleged human-rights abuses, she said, there could be a legal challenge in theory, but the government has the right to tell them they need to move.. "On an international-law level, you cannot say they are breaking any laws," Bueno said.. "If they need the land for something else, it is not illegal [for the government to move them].. Today's report is the latest accusation directed at Rastetter by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.. Last month, the group filed a complaint against Rastetter with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, contending there was a conflict of interest involving Iowa State University with the Tanzanian deal.. The Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is calling for Rastetter's dismissal as the regents' president pro tem.. Iowa State walked away from its involvement with AgriSol in February.. The new report attempts to link AgriSol and Rastetter to the alleged human-rights abuses in Tanzania.. "This report shows that Iowa Regent Bruce Rastetter is responsible for ongoing human-rights abuses in Tanzania and is another black eye to the international reputation  ...   planning for resettlement after AgriSol expressed interest in the refugee areas.. Akona says this is not the case.. After its initial interest in 2008, the world economic crisis began, and AgriSol decided to hold off for a couple of years before making any decisions, Akona said.. However, he said, it still drew up potential plans for the settlements.. During this time, an AgriSol document described the settlements as "abandoned refugee camps.. According to "Lives on Hold," "It is likely that AgriSol referred to the proposed site [as] an abandoned settlement knowing its investment proposal could influence or accelerate the relocation.. But Akona claims the reference was simply a mistake; company officials believed the settlements would be vacated by the time they would revisit.. "We should have done better homework," Akona said.. The report goes on to allege that the Tanzanian government inflicted human-rights abuses against the refugees as they waited to be relocated.. In 2011, after 162,000 refugees were naturalized in a process to become citizens of Tanzania, the report claims the Katumba residents were ordered not to cultivate perennial crops or build new homes or businesses because of a forthcoming resettlement, putting their livelihoods on hold.. For example, one of the claims in the report says people who did not obey the demands saw their crops or homes destroyed.. "Lives are on hold, leaving residents with no other option but to move," said Anuradha Mittal, the executive director of the Oakland Institute and coauthor of the report.. The report also claims the refugees' freedom of speech has been violated when some were jailed for speaking out and arguing for fair compensation for the resettlement.. The refugees have also been living without adequate schools and hospitals for years, the report alleges.. AgriSol officials, however, maintain they were not aware of any human-rights abuses.. "If these [abuses] are happening, we are shocked and disgusted," Akona said on behalf of AgriSol.. The settlements were initially expected to close in 2009 following the relocation and naturalization process of the refugees, according to the report.. But with such a large number of refugees, the Tanzanian government reportedly needed more time.. AgriSol has moved on, Akona says.. While company officials haven't ruled out future development in the region, they have recently signed a lease in Kigoma — also in western Tanzania.. The Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is waiting on the outcome of its ethics complaint against Rastetter.. In a June DI article, David Goodner — a member of the group — said the regents won't officially address the complaint until their next meeting in August.. The regents can then throw the complaint out or move forward with an investigation..

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  • Title: Report Aligns Tanzania Strife, Ag Objective of Rastetter Firm | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: July 8, 2012.. Altoona Herald..

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  • Title: AgriSol Deal Would Have Benefited American Investors at Tanzanians Expense | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: AgriSol Deal Would Have Benefited American Investors at Tanzanians Expense.. July 5, 2012.. By Rekha Basu.. Iowans are regularly reminded of our role in helping to feed the world’s hungry, and from a technological perspective, we have certainly played an important role.. An Iowan launched the so-called Green Revolution, and the World Food Prize that he created annually honors others who have made important innovations in agriculture.. Iowa today is in the vanguard of the biotech revolution.. So it may be hard to contemplate the paradox that even as we have helped block world hunger, we might also inadvertently be contributing to it.. There is growing evidence around the world that high-yield technologies that require costly and potentially harmful chemical fertilizers and other inputs squeeze small farmers out in favor of large conglomerates, resulting in impoverishment or suicides.. Recent weeks have brought a few occasions to think about this.. Members of the Des Moines Occupy movement announced plans to protest the World Food Prize events this fall.. Instead of “pro-corporate agribusiness recipients who support GMO crops and the use of harmful pesticides and chemicals,” the prize should honor people “who advocate sustainable, safe, local agriculture in the U.. and abroad,” the group said in a statement.. Occupy also noted that corporate agribusiness has gone beyond controlling food supplies to also controlling “governments, laws, and patents.. That might sound like a conspiracy theory until you consider the Tanzania land deal negotiated by an Iowa Board of Regents member, which was the subject of a recent complaint to the state ethics board.. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement filed the complaint, alleging that Bruce Rastetter, the founder and managing director of AgriSol Energy Corp.. , had a conflict of interests with a deal involving Iowa State University.. AgriSol would have paid the Tanzanian government a mere 25 cents an acre for the right to cultivate 800,000 acres, by evicting some 160,000 Burundian refugee farmers.. For decades, they had been growing a variety of crops, producing more than  ...   and Life Sciences may have opened some doors for him there.. In 2007, officials traveled to Tanzania with him.. Even the person who had been in charge of the refugee camps was evidently co-opted into being a legal adviser to AgriSol.. Rastetter was appointed to the Board of Regents by Gov.. Terry Branstad after being his largest 2010 campaign contributor.. Rastetter recused himself from the project last September, and ISU later said it would stop advising AgriSol on the project.. But Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement asked for Rastetter’s resignation from the regents.. All this points to the broader potential for U.. companies, with compliant or even corrupt governments, to exploit small farmers in the developing world under the guise of helping them.. We may not be able to control what their governments do, but we should take a closer look at what our own companies pass off as “help.. Rastetter and others had claimed the deal would help Tanzanians improve their food production techniques.. But the large-scale, high-yield, monoculture model would not have suited the farmers it displaced in order for American investors to get rich.. Many Iowa small hog farmers lost their livelihoods when corporate agribusinesses like Heartland Pork displaced them.. Now, in the face of skyrocketing prices, some of the same principals have turned to Africa, where land can still be had cheaply.. Rastetter previously owned Heartland Pork.. It is hard to challenge corporate agriculture in this state.. It’s promoted by targeted state university research, and its principals fund the political campaigns of elected officials — who might return the favor with plumb appointments.. So it falls to grassroots groups like Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement to call for an investigation.. Some of its members lost their own hog farms to Heartland Pork.. Branstad won’t even wait until the outcome of the state ethics board complaint to voice his confidence in Rastetter’s judgment — a clear signal to the board.. But the board should show its independence by conducting a thorough investigation..

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  • Title: Land Grabs: How the Law Pushes People Off Their Land | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Land Grabs: How the Law Pushes People Off Their Land.. July 4, 2012.. Amandla.. By Tomaso Ferrando.. Subverting the classic vision of the private-public power relationships, some African countries are repeating the same motto that an East European newspaper used on the occasion of the visit of the German chancellor in 1999: 'We forgive the crusaders and await the investors’.. [1] As pointed out by Ulrich Beck, in fact, ‘in a global context where capitals are free to flow without restrictions and where competition among countries represents the rule rather than the exception, the threat is no more represented by the fact of being absorbed in the dominant paradigm, but of being left outside’.. It must be of no surprise, therefore, that ideologically and economically constrained participants of a global competition for investments, which are mainly subsidised by low interest rates and financial alchemies, are currently participating in a global regulatory race to the bottom where anything is on sale, included land.. In particular, there are two different legal ways through which investors can acquire different rights over land, depending on their counterparts and on the proprietary regime of the host countries.. Without making any reference to the distinction between private and public law, these two mechanisms could be called that of ‘public grabbing’ and ‘private grabbing’.. Independently from the chosen method, the current events and the historical comparison demonstrate that whether land in Africa is expropriated, declared void, or exposed to rising competition between small and commercial farmers, the fact that the regional population increased from 230 to 860 million between 1960 and 2010, that the average cultivated are amounts at 0.. 3 hectares per capita,[2] and that the global demand for land and production is far from refraining, make us affirm that the paradigmatic shift from small-scale farming to industrialized exploitation will inevitably impact on low income countries and the poorest and most vulnerable and marginalized segments of the populations.. If that is the reality of the facts, the history of Africa shows that displacement and migrations, mainly intra-regional, represent the solution to present or perceived risks, and thus what we have to expect.. PUBLIC LAND GRABBING AS DIRECT EVICTION.. Entering more into the details of the ‘public grabbing’, which on the basis of the available data seems to be the most diffuse,[3] the land at the center of the deal is considered by the host State as ‘public or national’ on the basis of its own legal order or expropriated on the basis of a declaration of 'public interest' or 'public necessity'.. In both cases, sovereign states maximize their internal power in order to define the content and boundaries of their internal legal system, giving meaning to broad concepts like 'public domain' and development, or drawing a series of lines that trace a clear distinction between legal and illegal occupation, used and unused land, available and not available land, and determining who has the right to see his/her property title formalized.. The way in which these sovereign actions are undertaken can lead toward very divergent paths, the two extremes of which are represented by the complete pursuit of the common good and the total subordination to the needs of the global market and of exogenous actors.. What I claim hereafter is that sovereign, trapped in the prisoner dilemma and in a ideological homogenization, is exercised by several Sub-Saharan African countries in a way that unequivocally tends toward the latter extreme, completely turning its back toward legal diversity and alternative forms of development.. WHAT 'PUBLIC' AND WHAT 'INTEREST' IN THE DECLARATION OF PUBLIC INTEREST?.. Taking as an example the 2012 report on villagization in Ethiopia by Human Right Watch provides the dramatic reconstruction of the ongoing process of resettlement that is taking place in the Gambella Region, and across the border between Ethiopia and Somalia, under the auspices of the Ethiopian government and its project of villagization for rural development.. Undertaken with the official goals of guaranteeing to relocated populations ‘access to basic socioeconomic infrastructures […] and to bring socioeconomic cultural transformation of the people’, the Gambella plan is part of a broader program of resettlement, that concerns 1.. 5 million people in four regions (Gambella, Afar, Somali, and Benishangul-Gumuz), more then 100,000 of which lived or are still living in the Gambella Region.. On the basis of the data presented in the report, the decision of the federal government to intrusively exercise its sovereign power over its land and population,[4] undoubtedly raises several doubts concerning the respect for national and international procedures in resettlements, the existence of the required Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the local population, the pledged voluntary character of  ...   therefore transforming the completed resettlement from legal to illegal, and that the idea underlying the possibility of compensation is that any plot of land is the same for farmers, disregarding the evidence that the fact that some land is commercially more attractive than other means that it is more productive, and completely ignoring all the anthropological and sociological studies that have demonstrated the unique relationship between land, culture and identity.. The clearest evidence is provided by the Gambella case: although the Ethiopian authorities affirm that the entire 'villagization' procedure is voluntary, entire households are moving back to their original villages, unequivocally demonstrating the fact that land is not a commodity that can be exchanged with any other available good.. By defining as 'national interest' or 'national good' land-related development projects that do not respect the idea of the right to development, that generate migration, and produce unresolvable violations of the fundamental rights of people and local communities, states abuse the rights that are conferred on them both by the international and national community.. If the distinction between internal and external sovereignty is artificial, and if internal sovereignty has to be exercised in respect of international law, in fact, the use of internal discretion in order to define as 'of national interest' projects which negatively impact local people and violate international obligations even when mitigation procedures are in place, is, therefore, an abuse of sovereignty that can be condemned in the appropriate fora.. In conclusion, as recently reminded by Liza Alden Wily,[11] the current rush to land does not represent anything new for our planet, nor is the use of sovereignty and legality as an instrument to perpetuate injustices and favor private accumulation.. The state as an instrument of capital interests is utilizing its prerogatives to provide the latter with cheap and disposable labor, land, and fiscal privileges.. Extending what Erik Hobsbawn had already affirmed in the '50s of the last century about public interest, we can thus conclude that in many circumstances sovereign prerogatives are ‘no more than the forces of profit-pursuing private enterprise’ which seek ‘to turn land into a commodity’, ‘to pass this land into the ownership of a class of men impelled by reason; i.. enlightened self-interest and profit’, and ‘to transform the great mass of the rural population into freely mobile wage-workers’ (1962, 184).. In a system of international and national law based on fragmentation and the maximization of national prerogatives in favor of selfish interests, the legal response can hardly succeed if it remains individual: What is needed is a network of local seeds of global resistance.. REFERENCES:.. [1] Beck U.. , 2010, 'Reframing Power in the Globalized World', Organization Studies 29(05).. [2] Int'l Fund for Agric.. Dev.. , Doc.. EB 2008/94/R.. 2, 'Policy on Improving Access to Land and Tenure Security', 17.. [3] Liz Alden Wily, 'Looking back to see forward: the legal niceties of land theft in land rushes', 39 Journal of Peasant Studies 751–775 (2012).. [4] Article 51 (1) of the Federal Constitution entrusts the federal government with the task of enacting laws 'for the utilization and conservation of land'.. Article 52(2)(d) gives regional states the powers and functions 'to administer land and other natural resources in accordance with Federal laws.. '.. [5] Article 1.. 1 of the Land Rent Contractual Agreement Made between Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Karuturi Agro Products PLC, signed 25 October 2010, states that: 'The scope of this Lease Agreement is to establish a long-term land leas of rural land for [the] development [of] palm, cereals and pulses farm on the land measuring 100,000 hectares (Itang 42,088 hectares and Jikao 57,912 hectares), located in Gambela Regional State, Nuer Zone, Jikao District and Itang Special District together with the lease certificate serial No.. EIA-IP 14584/07 with all rights of easement of amenities, fittings, fixtures, structures, installations, property or other improvements standing thereon, to the company incorporated for the purposes hereinafter mentioned by the lessee in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia'.. See Stebek E.. , op.. cit.. [6] 'A Proclamation to Provide for the Expropriation of Land Holdings for Public Purposes and Payment of Compensation', Proclamation No.. 455/2005, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.. [7] First report: E/CN.. 4/1999/WG.. 18/2; second report: A/55/306; third report: E/CN.. 4/2001/WG.. 18/2; fourth report E/CN.. 4/2002/WG.. 18/6 and E/CN.. 4/2003/WG.. 18/2.. [8] UN Economic and Social Council.. [9] UN Economic and Social Council, op.. Cit.. , p.. 9.. [10] Oakland Institute, 2011, 'Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa.. The Role of the World Bank Group', The Oakland Institute, Oakland, USA.. [11] Alden Wily, supra note 3.. Tomaso Ferrando is a PhD Student, Sciences-Po Law School, Paris.. http://pambazuka.. org/en/category/features/83076..

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  • Title: Mapping the Land Grab in Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Mapping the Land Grab in Africa.. July 3, 2012.. Good Food World.. Copyright by and reproduced with permission from Devon Peña, Professor of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle WA.. Corporations, Governments, Even Universities Are Enclosing Indigenous Territories.. For the past two years we have been tracking the voracious land grab that is unfolding across much of the two-thirds world including Africa, Asia, and South America.. These new enclosures are a destructive force associated with the plague of globalization and its marshaling and disciplining rationale of neoliberalism with its panacea of free trade and privatization.. There are many forces at work in this process and recent conferences have highlighted the usual suspects including the World Bank (WB).. A recent report in the British daily,.. The Guardian.. , succinctly describes the problem:.. The.. World Bank.. is helping corporations and international investors snap up cheap land in.. Africa.. and developing countries worldwide at the expense of local communities, environment and farm groups said in a statement released on Monday to coincide with the bank’s annual land and poverty conference in Washington DC.. My only objection to this type of otherwise clear and sympathetic analysis is the tendency to mischaracterize the land as “cheap” and any country that is not industrialized as “developing.. ” This reminds me of the same tendency that too quickly misjudges manual labor as “menial” or “cheap labor.. ” Neither land or labor are cheap; those definitions are matters set by political power and are not technical or necessarily accurate approximations of actual material conditions or cultural properties.. For indigenous peoples the land is priceless; it is the source of their livelihoods, cultures, ways of life.. The land is a relative; it is not for sale.. In most cases, especially wherever indigenous peoples have successfully inhabited their homelands against the pressures of conquest, colonialism, and globalization, these lands are indeed invaluable as repositories and sanctuaries of biological and cultural diversity – the sources of the true wealth of the planet.. The Guardian reporters, like most Western liberals, misspeak when characterizing African lands as cheap.. Just because neoliberalism cheapens the market value of the land does not mean it has been accurately valued.. Capitalists, like the Utopian socialists, as Marx rightly noted in The Grundrisse, know the price of everything and the value of nothing.. It is easy to imagine the rest of the usual suspects behind this land grab: Transnational corporations are of course the principal force driving the new enclosures.. Oil companies are certainly part of the land grab as are agribusiness, mining, timber, and certain manufacturing interests.. These are all usual  ...   the willing and unwitting complicity of governmental actors.. According to.. reports coming out of the recent Rio + 20 gathering.. , NGOs were disappointed that the issue of the land grab in Africa was not sufficiently addressed.. Those in attendance stated that “the acquisition of large tracts of African land by foreign corporations was contributing to further deforestation of valuable nature reserves.. ” Representatives of African NGOs were therefore appealing to the participants at the Rio +20 to take appropriate measures to stop land grabbing, but no concrete action plans were agreed to.. In the United States context, perhaps we need new strategies akin to the anti-apartheid movement that several decades ago pressured many universities to divest their holdings in companies doing business in South Africa? We need a movement that pressures Harvard and the rest of the universities to divest themselves of these lands and return them to their rightful stewards.. We need to demand a commitment from private and public universities to cease these enclosures and instead invest in the renewal of local food systems and ecological restoration to build a sustainable basis for solidarity economies.. The third of the Principles of Environmental Justice “mandates the right to ethical, balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of a sustainable planet for humans and other living things.. The twelfth Principle of Environmental Justice “affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring the cultural integrity of all our communities, and providing fair access for all to the full range of resources.. The land grab in the two-thirds world violates both of these principles.. It is way past the time for civil society to make this a major priority: The future of Africa hangs in the balance and as Africa goes so too goes the rest of the world.. As we can see from the map below, the land grab is shifting production away from crops destined for local consumption and toward crops that are for export or the production of bio-fuels.. In the meantime, more Africans go hungry and malnourished.. The land grab is obviously a threat to African food sovereignty and autonomy.. This map, based on the work of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) presents key aspects of the land grab as it is unfolding across Africa.. Dr.. Peña is the Founder and President of.. The Acequia Institute.. , the nation’s first Latina/o charitable foundation dedicated to supporting research and education for the environmental and food justice movements..

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  • Title: Why Is the Government of Tanzania Backtracking from Its Commitment to Fully Grant Citizenship to Burundian Refugees? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Why Is the Government of Tanzania Backtracking from Its Commitment to Fully Grant Citizenship to Burundian Refugees?.. Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Newsletter.. Contributed by Zachary A.. Lomo, St.. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge.. In April 2010, Tanzania’s then Home Affairs Minister Lawrence Masha announced that the naturalisation of a group of the 1972 Burundian refugees – a process which had begun in 2008 – had ended, with more than 162,000 refugees being granted Tanzanian citizenship.. Tanzania was praised by many, including UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, for its ‘unprecedented generosity and courageous decision’.. [1].. By granting citizenship to these refugees, Tanzania not only maintained a long tradition of generosity towards refugees, inspired by its late first president, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, but also demonstrated its commitment to observing its obligations towards refugees under the 1951 Convention, particularly under Article 34 of the 1951 Convention.. Article 34 enjoins Contracting States to ‘as far as possible facilitate the assimilation and naturalisation of refugees.. ’.. The granting of citizenship to these 1972 Burundi refugees should mean that they will, upon completion of the process, cease to be refugees, as provided by Article 1 C (3) of the 1951, and will enjoy the full gamut of rights that Tanzanian citizens enjoy.. Indeed, Minister Masha, when welcoming the naturalised refugees as Tanzanians, emphasised what it means to be granted Tanzanian citizenship:.. ‘Effectively they have all the rights of every Tanzanian.. They are free to go anywhere and enjoy the full benefits of citizenship.. They are free to seek employment anywhere and are free to continue to live as normal Tanzanians.. ’[2].. But as is so often the case, there is a stark contrast between rhetoric and reality, and it seems the accolades may be premature.. According to one regional commissioner, Dr.. Rajab Rutengwe, the refugees being naturalised might not be given citizenship certificates after all.. Instead, ‘they will be given permanent residence certificates’.. [3] Moreover, Rutengwe is quoted as having ‘categorically rejected’ any suggestion that newly naturalised Tanzanians (NNTs) will be granted citizenship if they remain living in the two old settlements.. [4] Not surprisingly, and in line with their rights, the NNTs have expressed their wish to be allowed to move freely and choose where to live, including remaining in the settlements areas where they have lived for over thirty years.. [5] Citing security concerns, however, Commissioner Rutengwe argues that, ‘It is not proper and safe for our nation, according to their status (NNTs) they won’t be good to stay here’ (sic).. [6].. When the newly naturalised Tanzanians were refugees, the Government of Tanzania (GoT) argued that encampment of refugees was necessary for security reasons – as have other refugee-hosting African states.. Yet the same government is now contending that allowing naturalised refugees as Tanzanian citizens to remain in the camps has security implications.. Why this apparent contradiction?.. There are three possible explanations.. First, the statements are coming from a regional government official, suggesting that regional governments whose areas have been host to the 1972 Burundian refugees were not wholly supportive of their naturalisation or were not fully involved in the naturalisation processes.. This apparent lack of support at a regional level for the naturalisation process is consistent with the findings from my own field research in Tanzania in November 2008.. In a follow up meeting with a junior officer in the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA) in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), I had inquired about the principles underlying the GoT’s repatriation and naturalisation policies in light of the concerns of Burundian and Congolese refugees I had interviewed in Mtabila and Nyarugusu refugee camps.. The officer stated that, while Tanzania has an elaborate Refugee Act (although not as progressive as often claimed), policy, and structure in place, political pressure from regional governments was preventing them from effectively implementing policy decisions regarding refugees.. The structure for implementing the law and policies has two levels: national and regional.. The national level consists of the political executive branch: the president, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of HMA.. The regional  ...   the local and district administrations in Arua, Adjumani, and Moyo often resented the idea that they should be implementing policies, especially health policies on refugees, for which they took no part in formulating and which ignored the interests of their communities.. [7].. Second, the idea that naturalised refugees will have to relocate to other parts of Tanzania, while unacceptable to the refugees, appears to be deeply rooted in Tanzania’s own approach to citizenship.. Under its founding president, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, Tanzanians were forcibly removed from their home regions and relocated to other regions.. Chiefs from one region were moved to other regions.. Students from one region had to complete their secondary education in other regions.. These actions, while drastic, were taken in order to foster a sense of citizenship that transcended ethnicity.. [8] And Tanzania remains, at least for now, one of the few African countries where ethnicity has not featured prominently in national life, unlike in the majority of post-colonial African states.. Seen from this perspective, the insistence of the GoT to relocate the NNTs to other parts of the country is based on sound and tested principles of creating a truly inclusive citizenship.. However, the citizenship-fostering explanation for the GoT’s insistence that naturalised refugees relocate to other parts of the country, though plausible, is undermined by the third possible explanation: the existence of pressure from foreign multi-national corporations that have already bought large swathes of the land on which refugees were encamped for large-scale farming.. According to a study conducted by the Oakland Institute (OI), ‘over 4 million hectares (ha) of land have been requested by foreign investors for both agrofuel and food production in Tanzania.. ’[9] Of these, over 640,000ha have been allocated and 100,000ha leased.. This has had implication for both local Tanzanians and refugees, including those now naturalised as Tanzanian citizens.. According to OI’s report, one of the multi-national companies, AgriSol Energy LLC, an Iowa-based investment company that specialises in agribusiness and is represented in Tanzania by AgriSol Energy Tanzania and two other companies, has acquired land from three ‘abandoned refugee camps’: Lugufu (25,000ha) in Kigoma province, Katumba (80,317ha), and Mishamo (219,800ha) both in Rukwa province.. [10] In January 2011, in one of its proposals to the Prime Minister of Tanzania in which it identified areas of ‘Critical Government Assistance’, Agrisol mentions ‘refugee hosting area evacuation completion’.. [11].. In light of this, it is plausible to conclude that the pressure on naturalised refugees to relocate from their homes of over thirty years to other parts of Tanzania comes from multi-national corporations to whom the land had already been sold and who now want to utilise it.. Moreover, the withholding of the citizenship certificates and the idea of granting the naturalised refugees permanent residence instead of citizenship are veiled threats aimed at compelling them to relocate.. None of these reasons are compelling enough to justify withdrawal of citizenship or changing to permanent residence status.. Naturalised refugees as Tanzanians should be allowed to exercise their right and freedom to decide where to live.. ––.. [1] UNHCR, ‘.. UNHCR welcomes Tanzania’s decision to naturalize tens of thousands of Burundian refugees.. ’, 16 April 2010.. [2] Id.. [3] See, Khalfan Said, ‘.. Government backtracks as ex-refugees await citizenship papers.. ’, The Guardian Newspaper, IPPmedia, 19 May 2012.. [4] Id.. [5] See, e.. g.. , CSFM, IRRI, SSRC, ‘Going Home or Staying Home? Ending Displacement for Burundian Refugees in Tanzania’, Citizenship and Forced Migration in the Great Lakes Region Working Paper No.. 1, November 2008.. [6] See, Khalfan Said, ‘Former Burundi refugees in Katavi long for full citizenship’, The Guardian Newspaper, IPPmedia 21 May 2012, available at:.. http://www.. ippmedia.. com/frontend/index.. php?l=41808.. [7] On this aspect, see, e.. , Verdirame Harrell-Bond, Rights in Exile: Janus-Faced Humanitarianism (Berghahn Books, 2005).. [8] On this aspect, see, e.. , Godfrey Mwakikagile, Tanzania under Mwalimu Nyerere: Reflections on an African Statesman (New Africa Press, Dar es Salaam, 2006).. [9] Oakland Institute, Understanding land investment deals in Africa: Country Report: Tanzania, (2011) 2.. [10] Id.. at 20.. [11] Id.. , at 22..

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  • Title: Access for the Poor? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Access for the Poor?.. Bretton Woods Project.. World Bank's infrastructure approach under increased scrutiny.. As the G20 and the World Bank continue their push for increased investment in large-scale public-private led infrastructure projects, further scrutiny of the Bank’s track record puts its strategy in question.. The declaration from the G20 summit in Mexico in late June reconfirmed the group’s support for investment in infrastructure as "critical for sustained economic growth, poverty reduction, and job creation", and welcomed the "strong progress" on the implementation of the recommendations of the report of the G20-commissioned High Level Panel on Infrastructure (HLP) and the multilateral development banks’ (MDBs).. Infrastructure action plan.. (see.. Update.. 79.. ,.. 77.. ).. Furthermore, the G20 stressed that, while public financing of infrastructure projects "remains essential", it "should be complemented by private sector investment".. The G20 "welcome" the Business 20's (a G20 related event aimed at providing recommendations from the private sector) Green Growth Action Alliance, a new public-private partnership (PPP) initiative launched in June to address the "shortfall in green infrastructure investment".. According to Nancy Alexander of the German political foundation Heinrich Boell this "would dramatically scale up the use of public money to offset the risks of private investment".. A June report by Boell and NGO WWF, focusing on energy infrastructure in Africa, states that "often, PPPs leave the issue of universal access to poorly funded governments and under-financed utilities to solve.. NGO International Rivers questioned the approach of the G20 and the Bank in its May report.. Infrastructure for whom?.. While the report acknowledged the importance of infrastructure for prosperity, it noted that large, centralised infrastructure, especially large hydropower dams, more often benefit energy-intensive industries than the poor.. Furthermore, the report said that the focus on "increased public support for private infrastructure projects" is contrary to the Bank’s own findings.. A 2003 Bank assessment found that "the poor are often the last to benefit from increased access" and "tend to be overlooked" by private operators (see.. Update 36.. Furthermore, the Bank’s updated infrastructure strategy (see.. Update 79.. ) concluded that the results of "expected ‘trickle-down effects’.. have been slow.. The International Rivers report calls for infrastructure projects that are decentralised, participatory, transparent, accountable, carried out under "the strictest social and environmental safeguards" and addressing the basics needs of the poor directly, rather than relying on a trickle-down approach.. They should also be devised "to strengthen climate resilience rather than increasing climate vulnerability.. " While the report agrees that private enterprises "have a big potential to supply equipment" that address the needs of the poor, as investors they "play a minor role in developing infrastructure projects for poor consumers".. Instead, the report suggests that new funding mechanisms for innovative, small projects should be considered.. "Exemplary" projects questioned.. The G20 strategy is further criticised in a second June report by Boell and the US-based Ford Foundation, including criticism of the "exemplary projects", as defined by the HLP and the MDBs.. This identification is based on six criteria, including "regional integration" and "private sector potential", but none that explicitly refers to issues around poverty alleviation or environmental sustainability.. The report finds that centralised solutions are overemphasised, noting that  ...   the Bank’s director of sustainable development for Africa, Jamal Saghir, confirmed that the project "will draw power from Ethiopia’s national grid, to which.. Gibe III could initially contribute up to 20 per cent".. Ikal Angelei of Friends of Lake Turkana urged the Bank to consider projects that would help people in the region, rather than enable a dam that could destroy Lake Turkana: "People depend on the lake.. We need development projects that will benefit us, not kill us.. Another "exemplary" project is the highly controversial Grand Inga Dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo (see.. 70.. 67.. 56.. ), "with the objective of gradually developing its potential, and providing the necessary transmission links to ensure that the power produced can benefit both DRC and the surrounding region through power export.. " The dam is estimated to have a generation potential of "almost double that of the world's largest hydro-project", leading the HLP to draw the conclusion that it "offers the most cost-effective source of power currently available to Sub-Saharan Africa".. However, according to Interntational Rivers billions of dollars of aid money have already been spent on dams and transmission projects on the Congo River, yet 94 per cent of the population still has no access to electricity.. Zachary Hurwitz of the NGO said: "The G20 leaders should prioritise investments that directly address poor peoples' needs rather than using taxpayer money to pay for huge, high-risk projects whose private sector returns rarely trickle down.. The impacts of the Bank's role in hydro projects have long been criticised, with some cases yet to be rectified, such as its involvement in the Chixoy hydroelectric dam in Guatemala (see.. 54.. 47.. 43.. In December 2011 three organisations, including Rights Action and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, filed a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in a renewed attempt to hold the Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank accountable for human rights violations that occurred during the construction of the dam in the 1980s, claiming that no reparations or compensation have been provided.. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights held a hearing in late June to further assess the case.. In March, the Bank approved a $132 million loan for yet another controversial hydro project, Cameroon's Lom Pangar Dam.. NGOs, such as the US-based Bank Information Centre (BIC) and International Rivers, argue that the dam will have significant environmental and social impacts and make the country even more vulnerable to drought and climate change, due to its already high dependency on hydro power.. According to BIC, the dam "appears to respond to the energy demands of the expanding aluminium sector rather than the energy needs of the majority of the country's population lacking access to electricity.. " Furthermore, the benefits of Laos' largest hydroelectric dam, the Bank and Asian Development Bank funded Nam Theun 2 (see.. 63.. 59.. 45.. ), have been questioned, with a relocated villager claiming that they "are now living near the dam but.. have no electricity, no clean water".. However, the Bank has refuted this claim, arguing that "every household in those [resettlement] villages has an electricity connection and improved water supply..

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