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Salvadorans Warn Canadians About World Bank's Kangaroo Court

 Rene Guerra - teleSUR

The company’s proposed gold mine would have used thousands of tons of cyanide and hundreds of thousand liters of water per day

In anticipation of an imminent ruling from the World Bank’s little known investor-state arbitration tribunal that could force El Salvador to pay Canadian mining firm OceanaGold US$301 million, a Salvadoran delegation is in Canada to discuss how this arbitration process threatens democratic decision making, public health and the environment here and beyond.

“As United Nations expert Alfred de Zayas recently expressed, the impact that investor-state arbitrations have already had and will have on human rights is very worrisome,” warned Yanira Cortez, Deputy Attorney for the Environment for El Salvador’s Human Rights Prosecutor’s Office, at an event in Ottawa this week. “We know that just the threat of these lawsuits can force governments in the Global South – and even here in Canada – to go against the public interest when it comes to health and environmental protections.”

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Trade Deals Are Giving Corporations the Power to Intimidate Tiny Countries

Sandra Cuffe: New Republic

Alejandro Guevara hasn’t slept. There was a death in La Maraña, and Guevara, the vice president of the community environmental association, spent the night at the wake. Still, he doesn’t skip a beat as he describes recent violence in his small Salvadoran village, running dates and names, his own included. Someone fired shots at Guevara’s home in October 2013. An anonymous person then called to his cell to ask whether anyone in the house had died.

Murders, threats, and attacks have followed the environmental activists who oppose a gold mining project in the Cabañas department in northern El Salvador. The list is a work in progress. On April 4, police harassed Santos Neftalí Ruíz, a priest and the president of the Cabañas Environmental Committee. READ MORE

Salvadoran Deputy Ombudswoman for the Defense of Environment rights begins a tour in Canada on the case of OceanaGold

Toronto (Canada), May 12 (EFE  Noticias) .- The Ombudsperson for the Defense of the Rights of Environment of El Salvador, Yanira Cortez,  began a tour of Canada today to talk about the case of OceanaGold mining corporation which has sued the Central American country for 301 million dollars for denying an operating permit.

Cortez and Marcos Galvez, president of the Salvadoran NGO CRIPDES will visit Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto in the coming days for to seek support from Canadian social and trade union organizations against OceanaGold’s law suit.

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WILL EL SALVADOR BE FORCED TO PAY $301 MILLION FOR VALUING CLEAN WATER OVER GOLD?

Gabriel Labrador- Equal Times

The Central American state of El Salvador could be forced to pay US$301 million in damages to an Australian-Canadian mining company, OceanaGold, after the company’s application for a mining license was rejected on the basis of the projected environmental damage it would cause.

El Salvador is the most water-stressed country in the region. As a result, the government stopped granting mining licenses back in 2008 in an attempt to preserve the country’s limited clean water supplies and safeguard the environment.

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NEWS RELEASE: El Salvador Facing $300m Claim from Mining Multinational under ‘ISDS’

INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION CONFEDERATION

Brussels, 15 April 2015 (ITUC OnLine):  The ITUC has described a $300m claim against El Salvador by an Australian/Canadian mining conglomerate as an example of the worst excess of corporate greed. The claim is being decided in a tribunal under the tainted “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS) procedure which corporations and some governments want to see incorporated into possible new trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

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When Corporations Sue Governments

By Manuel Perez Rocha

In 2004, the Pacific Rim mining company applied to dig for gold in El Salvador. Pacific Rim (since acquired by the Canadian-Australian company OceanaGold) assured the government of then-President Antonio Saca that its work would be eco-friendly and would generate jobs. But with 90 percent of the country’s surface water contaminated, and fearing damage to the Lempa River — an essential source of water for El Salvador’s 6 million people — the administration failed to approve the proposal. In 2008, Mr. Saca instituted a moratorium on new mining permits; to date, this has been maintained and is widely popular. (READ MORE)

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