World Bank and IMF Begin Annual Spring Meeting
April 9, 2014 by Remington Gregg, Legislative Counsel
Blocks from where D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms stand in mid-bloom, the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are holding their annual spring meeting. World Bank and IMF officials, government leaders, civil society organizations (including HRC), and key stakeholders gather to annually assess the progress of the two development organizations.
And today, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission held a hearing on the role that human rights play in World Bank’s policies. (The Lantos Commission advocates and promotes within the U.S. Congress and beyond the importance of defending internationally recognized human rights norms.) Barney Frank, the former Member of Congress, testified on a lack of policies within the World Bank to prevent development money from going to governments that do not respect human rights. As the former chair of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank had jurisdiction over the World Bank’s operations.
Frank warned the commission to be vigilant against American citizens, like Lively, who continue to export their hate to other countries. U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), co-chair of the Lantos Commission and longtime champion of human rights and LGBT equality, suggested that the Commission further explore the issue of exporting hate.
As HRC revealed in a recent report, anti-LGBT opponents like Scott Lively are now largely considered fringe extremists in the U.S., so they have taken their hate abroad. Lively, for example, first traveled to Uganda in 2002 to warn about the LGBT menace to that country and he returned in 2009 to headline a conference on “the dangers of homosexuality.” Many Ugandan activists believe that he was one of the inspirations for the harsh anti-homosexuality bill that was enacted in 2014, which punishes same sex intimacy with penalties that can include life in prison. While the World Bank recently delayed a $90 million loan to Uganda because of the passage of the anti-LGBT law, others nations that trample on the rights of LGBT persons are still receiving money from the Bank.
For its part, the World Bank has two ambitious goals: ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity for all. These twin aims cannot be accomplished if countries that receive World Bank money also fan a flame of bigotry and discrimination against their people. HRC will continue to advocate at the World Bank to ensure that the Bank includes human rights protections in its activities, and will work with Members of Congress and others to expose exporters of hate wherever they hide around the world.