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25 September, 2008

Hold World Bank accountable, says People’s Tribunal

India and the international community must join to hold the World Bank accountable for policies and projects that in practice directly contradict its mandate of alleviating poverty for the poorest, says the People’s Tribunal on the World Bank Group in India.

In a judgment, the tribunal says: “The evidence and depositions we have witnessed presents a disturbing and shocking picture of increased and needless human suffering since 1991 among hundreds of millions of India's poorest and most disadvantaged in rural areas and in the cities. It is clear to us that a significant number of Indian government policies and projects financed and influenced by the World Bank have contributed directly and/or indirectly to this increased impoverishment and suffering. All this has taken place while a minority of India's population that constitutes the middle class and rich has enjoyed the fruits of an economic boom.”

The following persons constituted the jury:

Amit Bhaduri, economist and social activist, he has authored many books and been

Professor Emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

Meher Engineer, Physicist and former Director of the Bose Institute.

Ramaswamy Iyer, Former Secretary of Water Resources, Government of India

Alejandro Nadal, Professor of Economics at the Center for Economic Studies, El Colegio de Mexico.

Bruce Rich, Program Co-Director and Staff Expert at Environmental Defense

Aruna Roy, Social activist

Arundhati Roy, Novelist, author and activist

Justice P.B. Sawant, Former judge of the Supreme Court of India

S.P. Shukla, Former Secretary of Finance, Government of India

Sulak Sivaraksa, Founder and director of the Thai NGO “Sathirakoses-Nagapradeepa Foundation”.

Justice H. Suresh, Former Mumbai High Court Judge

Justice KK Usha, first woman to be appointed to the position of Chief Justice of Kerala High Court.

See text of the JUDGMENT

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