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The World Bank’s commitment to development can and should go beyond financing mega-projects and proactively support smaller, inclusive projects likely to create employment while advancing human rights and environmental protection, a United Nations rights expert has urged.

“Progress cannot be measured only by increases in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but must also encompass the enhanced enjoyment of human rights and a higher standard of living,” said the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas.

“I have gathered numerous examples of human rights violations which have been alleged in connection with projects the World Bank has financed, including mass evictions and involuntary resettlements, land-grabbing, pollution, the destruction of livelihoods, forced and child labour, and sexual abuse,” said Mr. de Zayas, who has highlighted many such cases in his full report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.