In response to various inquiries by parties investigating the human rights abuses carried out during construction of Chixoy Dam, the World Bank (WB) conducted a mission in 1996 to examine the status of the compensation and resettlement program. They concluded that the Bank had no remaining obligations, but considerable problems remained with regard to INDE’s responsibilities (Guatemalan National Electric Institute). They also helped negotiate an array of initiatives, including additional land and a program to provide title to people who had been resettled.
The WB has done a number of other project-specific initiatives since that time, including providing technical assistance in agricultural development for one of the pieces of acquired land. As for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), they have recently been involved in a reforestation project in the Chixoy watershed, a project which should have been undertaken as part of the initial dam construction process over 20 years ago.
No comprehensive effort whatsoever has been taken to address remaining problems or consider the damages associated with the massacres. Admitting that they (the WB and IDB) had knowledge of the massacres during construction of the dam would be a form of admission of guilt. The various institutions involved in the Chixoy Dam Legacy Issues Study find it difficult to believe that this is at all possible.
Even if it were, when a world financial institution funds a government project, it is their responsibility to make sure the funds are used properly, to perform due diligence in all aspects of the project (both socially and environmentally), and not allow human rights abuses to be carried out in relation to the project.
Posted By Carmen Morcos (Guatemala)
Posted Jul 25th, 2004