In partnership with the Coalition for Human Rights in Development and ARTICLE 19, IFEX published a new report — “Unhealthy silence: Development banks’ inaction on retaliation during COVID-19” — about the failure of development banks to ensure, in the context of the COVID-19 projects they were supporting, that people could freely and safely express their opinions and raise their concerns.
As of June 15, 2021, IFIs have earmarked US$ 150.54 billion to finance responses to COVID-19, through 1,332 projects. Many projects supported by IFIs have included awareness-raising about COVID-19 as a key component. However, in many of those same countries, people who provide information about the pandemic or speak about the spread of the virus have been strongly repressed.
The report presents eight emblematic case studies of reprisals and statistical analysis on 335 cases of people attacked for speaking up around COVID-19 responses. It also shows how development banks have failed to uphold their own commitments and presents a set of recommendations to address reprisals.