The World Bank announced Wednesday it would no longer be offering its programs in Russia and Belarus, citing the former’s invasion of Ukraine, just weeks after it was alleged the group lent millions to support Uyghur reeducation efforts in China’s Xinjiang province.
The World Bank is an international financial organization that provides developmental loans to countries in an effort to facilitate growth. The group said that, while it hadn’t invested in Russia since 2014, it would halt all ongoing programs in Russia and Belarus, from which Russian troops crossed into Ukraine.
“Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and hostilities against the people of Ukraine, the World Bank Group has stopped all its programs in Russia and Belarus with immediate effect,” the organization said in a statement.
The move comes just weeks after it was revealed in a report by the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which operates under the World Bank, had loaned over $400 million to companies alleged to use Uyghur slave labor. The report, published by the Atlantic Council, cited public disclosures showing the group provided loans and equity investments to Chenguang Biotech Group, Camel Group, Century Sunshine and Jointown Pharmaceutical Group.
The report alleged the companies rely on forced labor and the IFC investments funded projects in Xinjiang, the home province of Uyghur Muslims. Camel Group participated in a government-sponsored labor program that included alleged reeducation efforts such as “military and ideological training” and the singing of “patriotic songs.”
The World Bank did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
“We do not tolerate discrimination or forced labor under any circumstances,” a spokesperson for the IFC told CNN. “Whenever such serious allegations are brought to our attention, we work to verify and address them with our clients with urgency.”
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