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UNIT 19

ETHICS IN DEVELOPMENT INDUCED DISPLACEMENT

Structure

19.0 Objectives

19.1 Introduction

19.2 The Definition of Ethics

19.3 Ethics of Development Induced Displacement

19.4 Ethical Concerns in Displacement

19.4.1 Legal Issues in Development Induced Displacement

19.5 Methodology of Applied Ethics

19.5.1 Rationalising Displacement

19.6 Guidelines for Minimising the Adverse Impact of Development Induced Displacement

19.7 Let Us Sum Up

19.8 Cues to Check your Progress

19.9 Glossary

19.10 References

19.0 GLOSSARY

After going through this Unit you will be able to:

i) define ethics in displacement;

ii) understand the linkage between ethics, development and displacement;

iii) understand the methodology of applied ethics; and

iv) identify the ethical concerns in displacement.

19.1 INTRODUCTION

Any development project is likely to raise ethical issues especially since it involves people directly. While

a development project is meant for human good, sometimes it affects people adversely, especially in the

case of a road infrastructure improvement project, which may affect people living in the vicinity of the project road. In such a case, the process of development is usually weighted against them (Pandey, 1998:

5). What are the ethical obligations in the development process when the displacement of people is inevitable or an actual result of such development? The ethical issue of development can be broadly discussed at three levels. One, the importance of ethics in displacement; two, the larger issue of development and its impact on society; and three, specific issues related to development projects and its

effect on displacement.

19.2 THE DEFINITION OF ETHICS

Critics estimate that nearly 100 million people worldwide are displaced as a result of development (See McDowell, 1996). The process has been intensified in the era of globalisation. The effects are more pronounced among economically and socially backward sections of society. It is this vulnerability to displacement that has been the center of recent debate.

Ethics is fundamentally about caring for and holding itself responsible to the other (Das, 2005: 1). It would be pertinent to note that caring for the ‘other’ would in effect mean caring for the ‘self’. Here ‘other’ refers to the displaced and ‘self’ to those who have not been displaced. The ethical question in a way establishes a connection between the two.

Theoretically there is a field of tension between the ethics of state sovereignty and cosmopolitan ethics. The ethics of sovereignty sees states as morally fundamental and views international ethics as moral relations between states. Beitz (1979) has referred to this perspective as ‘the morality of states’. Cosmopolitan ethics, on the other hand, is based on the view that humanity is part of one global society and states as institutions that may or may not be conducive to the good governance of this global society.

It treats the state system as the framework for articulating an appropriate international ethic, while

cosmopolitanism views international ethics as conceptually prior to the state system and as a basis for evaluating the state system and its propensities.

19.3 ETHICS OF DEVELOPMENT INDUCED DISPLACEMENT

One of the key questions regarding the development paradigm has been the question of development itself and if it is ethical to displace a section of the population for the benefit of another or what protagonists call ‘the larger good’. The ongoing debate on the issue is that displacement is an outcome of the present pattern of development, which followed the western model of development. It widens the gap between the rich and the poor and often alienates the poorer segments from the development of the nation. The defenselessness of the poor is signified by their displacement and that too without a share or participation in the project that displaces them. This dispossession is economic, social, political and cultural in nature. The adverse consequence of displacement has been documented in field studies by sociologists and social anthropologists. It has been long argued that due to its adverse impact on the physical and cultural existence, development induced displacement could lead to “developmental genocide,” “cultural genocide” or “ethnocide”. Balakrishna Rajagopal, Professor of Law and Development, MIT refers to this as the “violence of development projects.” This, he argues is a “soft form of genocide or crime against humanity involving systematic and deliberate destruction of ethnic, racial and religious minorities and indigenous people.” Although projects tend to benefit certain sectors, they affect people of that area in an undesirable way. It uproots and displaces a large number of people.

Displacement can be direct or indirect. Direct displacement consists of evictions. Direct development refugees are people removed for the construction of dams and their reservoirs and other infrastructure projects, such as ports, roads and irrigation canals, by slum clearance and urban redevelopment, and, in forests, for conservation or logging purposes. Indirect displacement by development happens due to processes not directly under the control of decision-makers, such as market processes and environmental degradation resulting from different, interacting development activities. If people move because they have been impoverished by the market-mediated or environmental consequences of development decisions, we can refer to them as ‘indirect development refugees’. Environmental refugees are those displaced by environmental degradation if such degradation is the result of one particular economic activity, such as the displacement of river fishers displaced by the pollution of an upstream tannery. It can be taken to be direct displacement. On the other hand, if the displacement occurs as a result of a more interactive pattern of development, the resulting environmental refugees represent indirect displacement. Environmental displacement is thus a form of development-induced displacement that cuts across the distinction between direct and indirect displacement.

It is argued that displacement is ethically objectionable because it involves coercion. This is obvious in the case of direct displacement. However the element of coercion is not always straightforward in the case of indirect displacement. If one views forced and voluntary migration as mutually exclusive categories, then it is easy to view much of migration that is induced by development or environmental degradation as voluntary, since much of the time there is a considerable element of choice as to whether to move or to put up with deteriorating conditions. What is misleading here is to view coercion and choice as mutually exclusive. A person can be deemed to be coerced when the range of options are restricted wherein choice is not eliminated, but merely restricted.

Displacement is also objectionable to the extent that such forced migration typically makes people worse off. They are often inadequately compensated for what they lose; they often have to move to areas more poorly endowed; and they often are unfamiliar with the new environment and the skills it requires and therefore lose in terms of making a living.

Some might respond with the claim that displacement has been ubiquitous in the process of industrialisation and economic growth, that it is unavoidable, that it is better than immobility or that it serves the public interest. Others, on the other hand, treat all displacement as morally unacceptable. The question is whether displacement can, under certain conditions, be justified.

Check Your Progress 1

i) Define the term ethics and its relevance in development.

ii) What is the ongoing debate on the ethics of displacement?

iii) What are the main ethical arguments against development induced displacement?

19.4 ETHICAL CONCERNS IN DISPLACEMENT

Ethical research began with a review of policy guidelines set by the development banks and the Brookings Institution. The following are the key areas (Kidwai, 2006: 101-03):

1)

Design: All the policy guidelines identify that displacement effects be minimised and find ways to avoid any and all displacement without blocking development opportunities.

2)

Equity: The benefits of development must be available and equitable across communities. The best practices, accordingly, will include resettlement and rehabilitation as part of the development process so as to advance the well-being of the oustees no less than any other affected communities. There is also need to pay special attention to vulnerable social groups, including women, ethnic minorities, and landless people.

3)

Voluntariness including democratic self-determination: The rights-based guidelines in particular express a concern not just to minimize displacement in general, but also specifically to eliminate involuntary displacement, or forced eviction. This can be achieved if the affected community negotiates and participates in the planning and execution of the project designing, approving and implementing the project.

4)

Human rights: Human rights must be respected, institutions of human rights protection be strengthened.

5)

Environmental concerns: Environment – physical, biological as well as social - need to be well protected.

6)

Heritage sites: Sites such as churches and temples, other buildings of cultural, historical or architectural significance, burial grounds, archaeological sites, historical sites and landscapes should be well-protected and where appropriate, relocated or restored.

7)

Stakeholders should be provided with enforceable rights and a well-structured development process with a series of checkpoints, the compliance of which must be verified by an independent review before development can proceed.

19.4.1 Legal Issues in Development Induced Displacement

Closely associated with the ethics of displacement, are the legal concerns in displacement, which must be

addressed as well. It needs to be pointed out that there are international legal instruments for refugees like the 1951 Convention on Refugees, the 1961 Protocol and the 1964 Cartagena Declaration. However, there is no international legal mechanism for resettlement and rehabilitation of those internally displaced as a result of development projects. It is also pointed out that contemporary international refugee law is marginal to the protection of most persons coerced to migrate. There is no specific or satisfactory law in this regard even at the national level in most countries. In India, there are laws like the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, National Highways Act, 1956, and specific laws like the Coal Bearing Areas Act, 1957 etc, which deal with the rules of acquiring land. However there is no comprehensive law, which addresses issues of the displaced and looks beyond land acquisition, which is only one of the consequences of displacement. Further, people who do not have Record of Right over the land suffer the most. The legal

system does not consider the

over the resources, which is either personal to them or under the use of the community (For details on the

legal concerns see MRR-005 Unit 67).

plight of these people as the laws do not recognise the right of these people

19.5 METHODOLOGY OF APPLIED ETHICS

There exist three distinct methodological approaches in applied ethics.

The first is the theoretically committed approach of deriving practical judgments and prescriptions from a particular normative theory. However, there are two difficulties here. Disagreements about normative theories are typically much greater than about practical judgments and prescriptions. The theoretical foundations could be debatable. The second difficulty or argument is that outside the philosophical discourse, ethical judgments tend to be made with reference to concrete issues rather than in a theoretical form and non-philosophers therefore tend to be handicapped in assessing theories and tend to be excluded from the discussion.

Diametrically opposed to the above methodology is the concept to respond to practical problems based on the situation implicitly relying on moral intuitions. These intuitions may be either those of the practical ethicist or they may be those of the culture, sub-culture or community in, which the practical problems arise. In the personal version it is not clear how argumentation is to proceed and what are appropriate criteria for resolving disagreements; this approach is always in danger of sliding into arbitrariness or never rising above it. In the communitarian version of this approach, the criterion is conformity with community values. The difficulty here is that there may be no real agreement within communities. This is even more likely when many communities are involved (e.g. not only dam displaced communities, but potential beneficiaries of rural electrification or irrigation) and when communities are stratified (e.g. by wealth, caste, or gender). Even when there is substantial agreement about community values, there is always the danger that they reflect patterns of domination within the community and the effective silencing of the disadvantaged (or their internalisation of the rationalisation of their underprivileged position, e.g. accepting the lesser worth attributed to them). While it is important to bring community values to light, analysis cannot be limited to them. Jamieson has referred to approaches (a) and (b) as, respectively, the “dominant conception of moral theory” and the approach of the ‘anti-theorists’.

The third approach focuses on generalisable principles, but does not commit itself to a particular theory. Instead of removing value disputes to the level of theory and attempting to resolve them there (as in approach it addresses them within the concrete issues), in this case that of development induced displacement. On the other hand, it is important to articulate the general principles at work in the ethical analysis and not to leave them operating at a level, which is not explicit and where inconsistencies and controversial implications may remain out of sight, which the strictly contextual approach is prone to. These features make this middle-level analysis attractive. It can be employed in a dialectical fashion, by engaging different theoretical perspectives in a ‘dialogue’ with each other to arrive at a more sophisticated mixed position (Penz 2005).

19.5.1 Rationalising Displacement

In accordance with the above methodology the rationalisation of displacement may be explored in terms of three approaches.

The publicinterest perspective of utilitarianism is readily represented by cost-benefit analysis. The question here is simply whether the benefits of development outweigh the costs of its side effects, including displacement. The distribution of benefits and costs in itself is not a concern in this perspective. Whether those displaced are compensated or not is not part of this particular moral calculus. Nor is whether it is the relatively affluent that benefit and the poor that bear the sacrifices.

The self-determination perspective of libertarianism, on the other hand, treats freedom and choice as central. From this perspective displacement is necessarily immoral. This applies also to communal self- determination, since displacement involves the coercive removal or forced migration for whole communities. This certainly seems like a promising antidote to heavy-handed and business-privileging development from the top. However, it completely ignores broader public-interest considerations, such as enhanced productivity resulting from the electricity and irrigation that dams, for example, provide. It is, of course, possible to convert opposition to consent by those required to move by offering them sufficient compensation to move voluntarily, so that they are, ultimately, not displaced (not forced to move). However, this creates an incentive for those required to move to try and capture some of the benefits from

the project by demanding much higher compensation than is needed to merely not be worse off and could make the project too costly to finance. This approach also involves a rather restrictive notion of freedom, in that it ignores that choice can be expanded by development. Amartya Sen’s notion of capacities complicates the issue, but draws attention to both the choice-expanding and-restricting aspects of development. Finally, from the next (egalitarian) perspective, this approach does not ensure a just distribution of benefits and can even stand in the way of redistribution, such as land reform, that would serve social justice.

The equal-sharing perspective of egalitarianism focuses on the distribution of costs and benefits from development as well as on inequalities prior to particular development projects or policies. From this perspective, development should serve to reduce inequalities. Thus, development-induced displacement could conceivably reduce inequalities if it primarily benefits the poor and puts the burdens on the better off. Considerations of horizontal equity among the better off would, however, limit or complicate such a process. Even more crucial is horizontal equity among the poor in that development can benefit some disadvantaged groups, e.g., by providing electricity to poor villages, while harming others, e.g. by displacing them. Compensation is one way of dealing with this; having those displaced share in the benefits of development, beyond mere compensation, is another. One major concern about the egalitarian approach is the maintenance of economic incentives. This can be accommodated by qualifying the egalitarian approach by a maximum distribution approach, i.e. Rawls’ difference principle of maximising the conditions of the worst off. This represents a move away from the pure version of egalitarianism.

The three perspectives can be brought together by according each of them a role in a more comprehensive approach to the ethics of development-induced displacement, The requirements of self-determination should be recognised as important by providing substantial community control over environmental decision-making and by dealing with the required resettlement of populations through negotiations and roughly consensual consent, but not as an unqualified right to veto development projects and policies with displacement consequences. The latter may be justified by public interest and distributive-justice considerations. In that case, however, certain conditions would need to be met: compensating those displaced, minimising displacement in the selection of development options, and giving priority to poverty alleviation in determining development strategies (Penz, 2005).

19.6 GUIDELINES FOR MINIMISING THE ADVERSE IMPACT OF DEVELOPMENT INDUCED DISPLACEMENT

Since development is meant for the people, displacement should be the last resort. Minimising the need for displacement should be a key, if not basic parameter in choosing the location of the project. Ideally a project should not be approved if it involves extensive displacement of people. All alternatives need to be thoroughly researched and proved non-viable, only then should one consider execution of the project.

1)

A consideration of possible or actual ethical issues needs to be considered an essential part of any development. This needs to be considered throughout the course - at every stage of the project.

2)

Ethical guidelines need to be framed as obligations and responsibility approach.

3)

A range of actors need to be involved in the process. These include institutions, individuals and systems of power.

4)

Applied ethics should be used to assess practical judgments and prescriptions.

5)

There should be a focus on practical issues of displacement as observed in case studies.

Considering the growing needs of the country and accepting the current model of development, we need to ensure that the fundamental rights of the displaced people are not infringed upon. Their involvement the project from the beginning till the end is essential and the benefits should accrue to them.

Check Your Progress 2

i) What are the legal concerns in the ethics of displacement?

ii) What is the public interest perspective of displacement and the ethics behind it?

iii) List out the guidelines for minimising the undesirable impact of displacement.

19.7 LET US SUM UP

This Unit explains how ethical debate is crucial for a healthier and more equitable society. Ethics is fundamentally about caring for and holding itself responsible to the other. Ethics in development induced displacement indicates care and concerns for the rights and well being of those displaced as a result of development project. Ideally projects should be planned in such a way that displacement can be avoided but in case the design of the project necessitates displacement then loss and damage should be restricted to the minimum.

19.8 CUES TO CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

Check Your Progress 1

i) Ethics is fundamentally about caring for and holding itself responsible to the other. Here ‘other’ refers to the displaced and ‘self’ to those who have not been displaced. The ethical question in a way establishes a connection between the two. Any development project is likely to raise ethical issues, especially because it involves people directly, as the process of development is weighted against them.

ii) The ongoing debate on the issue is that displacement is an outcome of the present pattern of development, which followed the western model of development. It widens the gap between the rich and the poor and often alienates the poorer segments from the development of the nation. The defenselessness of the poor is signified by their displacement and that too without a share or participation in the project that displaces them. This dispossession is economic, social, political and cultural in nature.

iii) Displacement is considered ethically objectionable because it involves coercion. This is obvious in the case of direct displacement whereas the element of coercion is not always straightforward in the case of indirect displacement. The other argument against displacement is that forced migration typically makes people worse off. They have to move to areas that are poorer often to unknown and unfamiliar environment where they lack the skills it requires to making a living; and displaced people are more often than not inadequately compensated for what they lose.

Check Your Progress 2

i) Though there are international legal instruments for the protection of refugees like the 1951 Convention on Refugees, the 1961 Protocol and the 1964 Cartagena Declaration there is no international legal mechanism for resettlement and rehabilitation of those displaced as a result of development projects, although the international funding agencies have developed resettlement and rehabilitation policy guidelines for fair compensation to the displaced and otherwise project affected people. It is pointed out that contemporary international refugee law is marginal to the protection of most persons coerced to migrate. There is no specific or satisfactory law in this regard even at the national level in most countries. In India there are laws like the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, National Highways Act, 1956, and specific laws like the Coal Bearing Areas Act, 1957 etc, which deal with the rules of acquiring land. However there is no comprehensive law, which addresses issues of the displaced and looks beyond land acquisition, which is only one of the consequences of displacement. Further, people who do not have Record of Right over the land suffer the most. The legal system does not consider the plight of these people as the laws do not recognise the right of these people over the resources, which is either personal to them or under the use of the community.

perspective. Whether those displaced are compensated or not is not part of this particular moral calculus. Nor is whether it is the relatively affluent that benefit and the poor that bear the sacrifices.

iii) The adverse impact of development induced displacement could be reduced in the following ways:

i) The inclusion of possible or actual ethical issues needs to be considered as an essential part of any development. This needs to be considered throughout the course - at every stage of a project implementation.

ii) Ethical guidelines need to be framed as an obligations and responsibility approach.

iii) A range of actors need to be involved in the process. These include institutions, individuals and systems of power.

iv) Applied ethics should be used to assess practical judgments and prescriptions.

There should be a focus on practical issues of displacement as observed in case studies.

19.9 GLOSSARY

Alienate

:

Isolate or push away

Arbitrararines

:

Unpredictability and randomness

Equity

:

Justice and fair play

Ethnocide

:

Genocide of particular community or group

Eviction

:

Forceful removal

Genocide

:

Mass killing of people

Paradigm

:

Theoretical model

Utilitarian

:

Functional

19.0 REFERENCES

Beitz, Charles R. 1979. Political Theory and International Relations, Princeton University Press Princeton

Das, Samir K. 2005. Ethics of care and protection of the victims of forced displacement, Module notes for Winter Course on Forced Displacement, MCRG Kolkata available on www.mcrg.ac.in

Fernandes, Walter and Enakshi Ganguly Thukral 1989. Development, Displacement and Rehabilitation. Indian Social Institute: New Delhi

Jose Muricken, MK George, KA Emmanuel, Jose Boban K., Prakash Pillai 2003.Development Induced Displacement. Rawat Publications: New Delhi

Kidwai, Atiya Habeeb and Jay Drydyk, 2006. Development-induced population displacement IN Shobhita Jain and Madhu Bala (eds.) The Economics and Politics of Resettlement in India Pearson’s Longman: New Delhi

McDowell, Christopher 1996. Understanding Impoverishment: The Consequences of Development- Induced Displacement. Berghan Books: Providence RI

Sen, Amartya 1992. Inequality Re-examined Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Penz, Peter, 2005 Development, Displacement and International Ethics IN The Ethics of Development Induced Displacement n.d. (EDID Theme Paper) Centre for Refugee Studies, York University: Toronto