World Bank breaks its own rules as 3.4 million people are forced off their land

Residents of the Badia East slum in Lagos, who were evicted last year when the area was razed to make way for a World Bank-funded project.

The World Bank has repeatedly violated its own policies on protecting the rights of indigenous people by funding projects that forced nearly 3.4 million slum-dwellers, farmers and villagers from their homes and jobs over the past decade, according to documents seen by the Guardian.

The projects, into which the bank channelled more than $60bn (£40bn), aimed to boost electricity and water supplies and expand transport networks in some of the world’s poorest countries. But they have resulted in more than 1.2 million people in Vietnam being displaced over the past decade, as they made way for dams and power plants funded by the organisation. In addition, more than 1 million people in China were displaced by about $12bn of bank investment.

The bank has said its goals are to end extreme poverty and reduce income inequality worldwide.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other outlets, including the Guardian, reviewed more than 6,000 World Bank documents as well as interviewing current and former bank employees and government officials involved in bank-funded projects.

In many cases, the organisation did not follow internal policies and safeguards requiring it to monitor evictions caused by its projects and provide resettled people with new housing options and job prospects, the investigation showed.

In addition, many of the projects are fossil fuel-based, such as the coal-fired Tata Mundra power station. Since his appointment as president of the bank in 2012, Jim Yong Kim has committed the bank to addressing the challenges of climate change and reducing reliance on fossil-fuels. This week, he called for fossil-fuel subsidies to be scrapped and for a carbon tax to be introduced.