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Complaints highlighted: OPIC in Liberia and the IFC in Honduras

In January 2014, a group of Liberians filed a complaint with the Office of Accountability at the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), one of the financiers of Buchanan Renewables. The biomass project – funded by OPIC – proposed cutting down rubber trees for biofuel, revitalising family farms and creating sustainable energy for Liberia. Instead, the project harmed its intended beneficiaries, resulting in various adverse human rights impacts. This was documented, in part, by research conducted by SOMO. Assisted by Accountability Counsel , the complainants are seeking redress for the abuses they suffered. Several days after the complaint was filed, OPIC committed to conducting an independent review of the impacts of its investment in Buchanan Renewables.

In early January 2014, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO – the grievance mechanism for the World Bank’s private sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation – IFC) released a damning report in response to a complaint filed by communities in Honduras. This complaint addressed the IFC’s investment in Corporación Dinant, a palm oil company implicated in serious human rights abuses. In response to the CAO’s report, the IFC issued an action plan that failed to address most of the report’s findings and led to an outcry from civil society organisations (CSOs). While the IFC has promised to revise the action plan, the IFC’s new response still does not go far enough to ensure accountability.

Visit the News section of the Human Rights and Grievance Mechanisms website for more information on the Dinant and Buchanan Renewables complaints. You can also find out about recent complaints to the CAO regarding land grabs in Cambodia, and the Project Complaints Mechanism of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) about hydropower plants in Macedonia, Croatia and Georgia.