HRDs being interviewed by journalists


Protection International joins over 200 organizations urging development banks to prioritize human rights in the global finance summit – Finance in Common

4 September 2020

3 September 2020,

In a letter addressed to the French Development Agency, over 200 organizations around the world are calling for the principles of a human rights-based and community-led development to be included and prioritized both in the agenda and the outcomes of the Finance in Common Summit, a high-level gathering of all Public Development Banks, which will take place in Paris on 9-12 November.

You can download the full letter in English

From November 9th to 12th, 2020, the French Development Agency will convene the first global summit of all Public Development Banks (PDBs). Gathering PDBs from around the world aims to provide a collective response to global challenges, reconciling short-term responses to the COVID-19 crisis with sustainable recovery measures, and redirecting financial flows towards sustainable development objectives.

The summit is highly relevant and timely, but for a truly comprehensive and inclusive dialogue, it should draw lessons from the past to shape the strongest future with the full participation of the communities impacted by PDB projects and supporting civil society organizations.  In many instances, PDB-supported activities have exacerbated poverty inequality, and human rights abuses such as reprisals against human rights defenders and forced evictions, without meaningful redress for affected communities. The summit should include reflection and discussion on the importance of respecting international human rights standards in achieving sustainable recovery goals, including addressing human rights abuses widely documented in PDB-supported investments and projects. The summit should contend with the challenges of increased investment from PDBs lacking robust standards for human rights, social and environmental protection, climate change, and anti-corruption, or where those standards exist, how to address failures to follow them in practice.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and aggravated the failures of the health, social, and economic systems, requiring a deep rethinking of the way governments, PDBs, and other actors operate. Several grassroots community groups and organizations have been calling on PDBs to ensure that the funding and support they provide for the Covid-19 response, and during the economic recovery period, respect human rights and lead to economic, social, and environmental justice for those who are most vulnerable. A new impetus in attaining the core principle of “leave no one behind” is needed.

We welcome the opportunity to engage with PDBs during the summit to better serve the principles and goals of international human rights standards, the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), transparency, and accountability.  To that end however, and as a matter of credibility and efficiency, it must be a priority to ensure human rights and community needs are explicitly discussed and part of the joint declaration foreseen at the end of the summit. As stated by OHCHR  last year:

“with the most pivotal decade of SDG implementation ahead of us, human rights are not only the right way but the smart way to accelerate progress for more equitable and sustainable development. Development is not just about changing the material conditions …. It is also about empowering people with voice … to be active participants in designing their solutions and shaping development policy. … Empowering people means moving beyond purely technocratic solutions and treating people as passive objects of aid or charity. People are empowered when they can claim their rights and shape the decisions, policies, rules, and conditions that affect their lives.”

As SDGs are at the core of the summit, human rights and the participation of communities are then key. That requires adapting the agenda and the expected outcomes. Our recommendations for ensuring an inclusive event follow:

1. Human Rights should be reflected in the core agenda of the summit, attendance, and participation. As conceived, the research conference and summit do not appear to provide specific space for human rights defenders and community representatives. Commitment to public participation and protection of civil society space has long been recognized as essential to ensuring effective development. Human rights and grassroots organizations, human rights defenders, and communities should guide the future of the development model and therefore should be involved in organizing,  contributing to the agenda, and participating in the summit. It is a matter of priority to have human rights defenders and communities directly impacted by PDB activities at the table.

2. The principles of human rights-based and community-led development should be included and highlighted in the expected deliverables of the summit including research papers and collective statements. We encourage governments and PDBs to commit to reinforcing and strengthening the principles of human rights-based and community-led development in PDBs’ mandate and governance; policies and practices; internal culture and incentives; what projects and activities they support and invest in; and how they work with other PDBs, governments and key actors. These commitments should lead to improvements, such as: 

3. Full and free participation of directly affected communities in all PDB-supported activities and projects, and free prior and informed consent for indigenous peoples. Innovative approaches will have to be developed to address the closing space, risks, and challenges for communities, human rights defenders, and civil society to meaningfully participate in decisions that impact their lives, livelihoods, environment, and resources. Zero-tolerance policies against threats and reprisals by PDBs and their clients should be a basic requirement.

  • Identifying investments that are aligned with international human rights, climate protection, and SDGs, and reorienting investments towards sustainable development that respect these standards, while ensuring that the priorities and needs of marginalized persons are met.
  • Improving social and environmental requirements through the inclusion of human rights standards. PDBs and their clients should adhere to human rights principles and standards enshrined in international conventions. Safeguard policies and procedures should ensure that activities financed directly or indirectly by PDBs, respect human rights, do not contribute to human rights abuse, and contribute to equitable, inclusive development that benefits all persons.
  • Developing and improving transparency, monitoring, oversight, grievance, and accountability mechanisms to actively prevent PDB activities and investments from undermining human rights.
  • Ensuring private sector clients or partners also adopt high human rights and environmental standards and do not avoid or evade taxes.
  • Development of common guidance by PDBs on ex-ante human rights due diligence and impact assessments in project investments and in support for economic reform policies or programs. This includes the identification of contextual and specific risks, prevention and mitigation strategies, and remedies in line with international human rights norms. Ensure that these assessments are developed in close consultation with affected communities, and are updated iteratively based on changing conditions and new information.
  • Developing coordinated approaches to ensure that PDB-supported activities do not exacerbate debt or contribute to cutbacks in public expenditure that will negatively impact human rights or access to essential services for the most vulnerable.

As reiterated by the OHCHR, effective governance for sustainable development requires non-discriminatory, inclusive, participatory, and accountable governance. With the most pivotal decade of SDG implementation ahead of us — and in the context of intersecting health, environmental, economic, and social crises building greater integration and coherence between the development and human rights agendas will be key:

“Human rights are not only a guide on the right way to achieve SDG implementation, but the smart way to accelerate more sustainable and equitable development”. 

PDBs should open channels for the meaningful participation of communities, human rights defenders, and civil society groups in the appraisal, design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of their projects and activities, as well as in their decision-making processes. For these reasons, the agenda and the deliverables of the summit should duly reflect the centrality of human rights and community-led development to effective and sustainable development.


1. Japan

2. Abibiman Foundation Ghana

3. AbibiNsroma Foundation Ghana

4. Accountability Counsel USA

5. ACT Alliance Advocacy to the EU Belgium

6. ActionAid International International

7. Action contre la Faim France

8. Action Santé Mondiale France

9. Adivasi Nanjeewan Gathan Navjyoti Agua(ANGNA) India

10. Al-Haq Palestine

11. Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities Ghana

12. Al-Marsad- Arab Human Rights Center in Golan Heights Occupied Syrian Golan

13. ALTSEAN-Burma (Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma) Burma/Myanmar

14. Alyansa Tigil Mina Philippines

15. Ancien Rapporteur Spécial des Nations unies sur la situation des défenseurs des droits de l’Homme (2014-2020) France

16. Arab Forum for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (AFRPD) MENA

17. Arab Watch Coalition MENA

18. ARA e.V. (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Regenwald und Artenschutz) Germany


20. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) Thailand

21. Asociacion para el Desarrollo Integral de las victimas de la Violencia en las Verapaces, Maya Achi.- ADIVIMA- Guatemala, CA.

22. Asociación Unión de Talleres 11 de Septiembre Bolivia

23. Association Democratique des Femmes du Maroc (ADFM) Morocco

24. Association Green Alternative Georgia

25. Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons Indian Administered Jammu and Kashmir

26. Association Rwandaise pour la Défense des Droits de la Personne et des Libertés Publiques, ADL. Rwanda

27. Association Tunisienne pour le Droit de Développement Tunisia

28. Autistic Minority International Switzerland/Global

29. Bank Information Center USA

30. Bankwatch Network Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)

31. Both ENDS Netherlands

32. Bretton Woods Project UK

33. Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO) Uganda

34. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre Global

35. Bytes For All, Pakistan

36. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) Middle East and North Africa

37. Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR) Canada

38. CARE France France

39. Catholic Board of Education Odisha

40. Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) International

41. Center for Pan-African Affairs USA

42. Centre for Human Rights and Development Mongolia

43. Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur Manipur, India

44. Centre Libanais des droits humains (CLDH) Liban

45. Centro de Investigación y Promoción de los derechos Humanos Honduras Centro América

46. Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos – Perú EQUIDAD Peru

47. Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental, A.C. (CEMDA) México

48. Centro Nicaraguense de Derechos Humanos CENIDH Nicaragua América Central

49. Chairperson Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Organization Public Union Azerbaijan

50. Civil Society Institute NGO, Armenia Armenia

51. CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network) Bangladesh

52. Climate Action Network Europe

53. Climate Action Network International Mexico

54. CNCD-11.11.11 Belgium

55. CNS/ Asha Parivar India

56. Coalition for Human Rights in Development – Global

57. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) Commonwealth/India

58. Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (CEMSOJ) Nepal

59. Consejo de Pueblos Wuxhtaj Guatemala, Centro América

60. Convergencia por los Derechos Humanos (CAFCA, CALDH, CIIDH, ECAP, ICCPG, ODHAG, SEDEM, UDEFEGUA, UNAMG) Guatemala

61. Coordinadora de Comunidades Afectadas por la Cosntruccion de la Hidroelectrica Chixoy.-COCAHICH- Guatemala

62. Counter Balance Europe

63. Crude Accountability USA

64. Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies Syria

65. Defenders Protection Initiative -DPI Uganda /Africa

66. Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine

67. Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales Peru

68. Disabled People’s International (DPI) International

69. Displaced Kids Association Iraq

70. EarthRights International USA

71. Egyptian Center for Civil and Legislative Reform (ECCLR) Egypt

72. Environics Trust India

73. Eurodad (European Network on Debt and Development) Belgium / Europe

74. European Network on Debt and Development, Eurodad Europe

75. FIAN Austria Austria

76. FIAN Belgium Belgium

77. FIAN Germany Germany

78. FIAN International Switzerland for the Right to Food Switzerland

79. FIAN International International

80. FIAN Sweden Sweden

81. First Peoples Worldwide USA

82. FOCSIV Italy

83. Forest Peoples Programme Netherlands and UK

84. Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) Uganda

85. Foundation for the Conservation of the Earth Nigeria

86. Freedom from Debt Coalition Philippines

87. Freedom House Global

88. Friends of the Earth United States USA

89. Friends of the Siberian Forests Russia

90. Friends with Environment in Development East Africa

91. Front Line Defenders Ireland

92. Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN) Argentina

93. Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables (Fundeps) Argentina

94. Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD) Belgium/International

95. Global Initiative for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Global

96. Global Policy Forum International

97. Global Social Justice Switzerland

98. Global Witness Global

99. Green Advocates International Liberia

100. Haki Jamii Rights Centre Kenya

101. Heartland Initiative USA

102. Heinrich Böll Stiftung Washington, DC USA

103. HRM “Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan” Kyrgyzstan

104. Human Rights Center of Georgia Georgia

105. Human Rights in China (HRIC) China

106. iLaw Thailand

107. India Indigenous Peoples India

108. Indian Social Action Forum India

109. Indigenous Peoples Forum Odisha India

110. Inspire Girls Foundation (IGF) Uganda

111. Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense Latin America

112. International Accountability Project Global

113. International Dalit Solidarity Network South Asia

114. International Federation for Human Rights International

115. Internationale Liga für Menschenrechte Deutschland

116. International Rivers USA and Global

117. International Trade Union Confederation Global

118. International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific) Malaysia

119. International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) Denmark

120. Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society Indian Administered Jammu and Kashmir

121. Joy for Children Uganda

122. Just Associates (JASS) USA

123. Justice for Iran Iran

124. Kenya Union of Hair and Beauty Workers (KUHABWO) Kenya

125. Koalisi Rakyat untuk Hak atas Air (KRuHA) Indonesia

126. Lao Movement for Human Rights Laos

127. Las abejas Mexico

128. Latin America Working Group (LAWG) USA

129. Latvian Human Rights Committee Latvia

130. Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) Nepal

131. Lawyers for Human Rights, Manipur India

132. Leadership Initiative for Transformation and Empowerment(LITE) Africa Nigeria

133. League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran – Iran

134. Lebanese Union of Persons with Physical Disabilities (LUPD) Lebanon

135. LGBT Centre Mongolia

136. Liga voor de Rechten van de Mens (Dutch League for Human Rights) The Netherlands

137. Ligue des droits de l’Homme – France (LDH) France

138. Lok Shakti Abhiyan India

139. Lumière Synergie pour le Développement Senegal

140. Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) Maldives

141. MANUSHYA Foundation Southeast Asia

142. Mekong Watch Mekong Region

143. Mitini Nepal South Asia

144. MONFEMNET National Network NGO Mongolia

145. Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil Brazil

146. Narasha Community Development Group Kenya

147. National Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NAFIN) Nepal

148. National Union of Domestic Employees Trinidad and Tobago – Caribbean

149. NGO Forum on ADB Asia

150. NGO “Youth Group on Protection of Environment” Tajikistan

151. NomoGaia USA and Global

152. Odhikar Bangladesh

153. Odisha Adivasi Manch India

154. Oil Change International Global

155. OPEN ASIA|Armanshahr Afghanistan

156. Oyu Tolgoi Watch Mongolia

157. Pakistan Kissan(Farmers) Rabta Committee United Kingdom

158. Partnership for Policy Integrity USA

159. Peace Brigades International Global

160. Phenix Center for Economic & Informatic Studies Jordan

161. Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) Philippines

162. Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) Philippines

163. Press Freedom Advocacy Association Iraq

164. Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, Northeastern University School of Law USA

165. Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER) México and Latinoamerica

166. Protection International Mesoamérica Mesoamérica

167. Psychological Responsiveness NGO Mongolia

168. “Public Administration New Initiative” NGO Mongolia

169. Recourse The Netherlands

170. Réseau Action Climat France France

171. Réseau Camerounais des Organisations des Droits de l’Homme (RECODH) Afrique

172. Réseau International des Droits Humains RIDH Genève, Suisse

173. Resonate! Yemen Yemen

174. Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) United Kingdom

175. Rivers without Boundaries Coalition -Mongolia Mongolia

176. Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition Eurasian continent

177. Sisters’ Arab Forum for Human Rights (SAF) Yemen

178. Social Initiatives for Growth and Networking (SIGN) India

179. Sri Lanka Nature Group Sri Lanka

180. Steps Without Borders NGO Mongolia

181. Studies and Economic Media Center (SEMC) Yemen

182. SUARAM Malaysia

183. Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression France

184. Tata Institute of Social Sceinces India

185. Tebtebba Philippines

186. The Lao Movement for Human Rights Laos

187. The PRINCESS center for girls and young women’s rights Mongolia

188. The Society of the Divine Word India

189. Thy Kingdom Come Foundation India

190. Tunisian Association for Governance and Social Accountability (GoAct) Tunisia

191. Tunisian Association for Local Governance Tunisia

192. Union for Civil Liberty Thailand

193. Universal Rights and Development NGO Mongolia

194. urgewald Germany

195. VedvarendeEnergi Denmark and international

196. Verein für sozial-ökologischen Wandel Germany and International

197. Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) Vietnam

198. Wedian Association for Social Development Yemen

199. Witness Radio – Uganda Uganda

200. Women Engage for a Common Future International

201. WoMin African Alliance Africa

202. Yemeni Organization for Promoting Integrity (OPI) Yemen

203. Yemen Observatory for Human Rights Yemen

204. Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation) Nepal

205. Public Interest Law Center (PILC)

206. Programme d’Appui à la Femme et à l’Enfance Déshéritée (PAFED)

207. Project HEARD

208. Equidad de Género: Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia

209. Environment Governance Institute

210. Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities

211. Human Rights International Corner ETS

212. Policy Alert

213.  Heinrich Böll Stiftung Washington, DC

214. FUNDACION CAUCE: Cultura Ambiental, Causa Ecologista