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Rhetoric and Reality: The World Bank Development Policies, Mining Corporations, and Indigenous Communities in Latin America

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Relying on critical legal approaches, in particular TWAIL and the work of Indigenous scholars, this paper analyzes the extent to which the World Bank's notion of "development" and its promotion of the expansion of market-based legal reforms in Latin American countries have benefited transnational corporations (TNCs) to the detriment of Indigenous Peoples. It argues that the World Bank's policy-based lending programmes and market-oriented legal framework since 1980 have contributed to an expansion of corporate mining activities, which have caused not only forced displacement and further impoverishment of numerous Indigenous communities but have also directly contributed to the destruction of their cultures and the environment they inhabit. Furthermore, the World Bank's normative operational policies and practices on issues affecting Indigenous Peoples have provided a legal framework and mechanisms that "manage" affected Indigenous communities in ways that further the dispossession of their lands and natural resources.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia, University of Warwick School of Law


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