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Because there are no enforceable Affirmative Action or Equal Employment Opportunity laws at the Multilateral Development Banks, GAP treats claims of race discrimination at these institutions as whistleblowing. In June 2009, GAP released a study of racial discrimination in the hiring, promotion and retention practices of Black employees at the World Bank. In response to allegations raised by whistleblowers there, we found that the Bank’s rhetoric about inclusion and equity does not extend to its own employment processes. The report finds that a race ceiling exists at the institution, and that the Bank’s legal system fails to address racial discrimination adequately. A week before the report was released, a racist slur was scrawled on the wall outside the Bank’s Legal Affairs Office, an incident that the Bank was slow to acknowledge, condemn and address.
In October 2009, GAP released a report entitled “The IDB, Poverty and Racial Discrimination.” This report, which is based on whistleblower disclosures, shows that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) also fails to promote racial equality adequately in its hiring, retention and promotion practices. In addition, IDB lending has failed, over the years, to reduce poverty and inequality in Latin America effectively, especially among Afro-descendant and indigenous populations.
In January 2010, GAP hosted a discussion about racial issues at the World Bank and IDB, in follow-up to our two reports. GAP continues to monitor racial discrimination at both institutions.