News

Urgent! Strengthening a powerful global voice in defence of life

By: Antonia Recinos - Radio Victoria / Translation: Sigrun Pallesen and Marina Bonetti  

didipioOn the 15th of August 2015, I was invited to participate in a mission of solidarity to the region of  Didipío, Nueva Vizcaya, the Philippines. The mission’s goal was to understand the battles and realities of the communities where the Australian mine company OceanaGold operated since 2013.

At first glance the impression is one of a quiet community. At the side of the road, huts come into view from which, once in a while, a girl or boy appears, with a curious look on these strangers that are arriving.

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The obscure legal system that lets corporations sue countries

Claire Provost and Matt Kennard - The Guardian

Fifty years ago, an international legal system was created to protect the rights of foreign investors. Today, as companies win billions in damages, insiders say it has got dangerously out of control

Luis Parada’s office is just four blocks from the White House, in the heart of K Street, Washington’s lobbying row – a stretch of steel and glass buildings once dubbed the “road to riches”, when influence-peddling became an American growth industry. Parada, a soft-spoken 55-year-old from El Salvador, is one of a handful of lawyers in the world who specialise in defending sovereign states against lawsuits lodged by multinational corporations. He is the lawyer for the defence in an obscure but increasingly powerful field of international law – where foreign investors can sue governments in a network of tribunals for billions of dollars.

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OceanaGold vs El Salvador: Foreshadowing 'Trade' Under the TPP?

By teleSUR / Heather Gies 

The Central American country of El Salvador could be forced to pay US$301 million to Canadian-Australian mining multinational OceanaGold as the two face off in a World Bank investor-state tribunal with proven tendency to favor corporate interests over arguments for protecting national sovereignty, the environment, and human rights.

The pending case in El Salvador gives a glimpse into what can likely be expected if controversial trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) go through. With strong “investor protections,” the TPP and TTIP will pave the way for many more instances of investor-state settlements that allow companies to sue governments for billions through highly secretive hearings and supra-national courts.

The number of such corporate lawsuits levelled against countries in the World Bank’s little-known International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has skyrocketed over the past decade. According to Mining Watch, while just three cases where brought to the body in the year 2000, this climbed to 169 cases in 2013.
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5 reasons to oppose OceanaGold’s lawsuit against El Salvador

Statement from the Canadian Labour Congress - CLC on the Pacific Rim/OceanaGold law suit against El Salvador. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Given our shared struggle for human rights and corporate accountability, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) supports the position of the El Salvadoran government in respect to the investor-state arbitration suit with OceanaGold.

The CLC is against investor-state arbitration that drains countries of their natural resources and gives power to corporations. We call on the Canadian government to reject the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process, and the trade and investment model on which it is based.

Canadian unions support Salvaide’s Stop the Suits Tour, a campaign to raise awareness of the ISDS currently affecting the people of El Salvador.

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Amid TPP Fight, El Salvador Mining Case Shows Danger of Corporate Tribunals

Deirdre Fulton - Common Dreams

A Salvadoran delegation is in Canada this week to warn of how investor provisions threaten democracy, public health, and environment

In a case illustrating the dangers of corporate-friendly provisions buried in trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a secret tribunal is on the brink of issuing a ruling any day that that could force the Central American country of El Salvador to pay $301 million to a Canadian-Australian gold-mining firm.

OceanaGold, which purchased the Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining in 2013, is suing El Salvador—the most water-stressed country in the region—for an amount equivalent to 5 percent of its gross domestic product for refusing to grant it a permit to put a gold mine into operation.

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Save Our Water, End Investor Rights

Maude Barlow and Meera Karunananthan - Huffington Post

As the world looks for innovative solutions to solve the rapidly worsening water crisis, two Salvadoran experts are touring Canada this week to promote a simple strategy that could save the public billions of dollars.

Yanira Cortez, Deputy Attorney for the Environment for El Salvador's Human Rights Ombudsperson's Office and Marcos Gálvez, President of the Association for the Development of El Salvador are calling on Canadians to help solve the water crisis by challenging investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms that have enabled corporations to sue governments for hundreds of millions of dollars when policies aimed at protecting the environment threaten corporate profits.

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