Monday, September 15, 2014

Teamsters, others protest World Bank hearing on Pacific Rim's right to mine El Salvador

Teamster Mike Dolan at today's World Bank rally
Canada-based OceanaGold/Pacific Rim Mining Corporation is suing the government of El Salvador for over $300 million because El Salvador is refusing to let it mine gold.

The 'court' of 'law'? The little-known World Bank ICSID -- International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. The issue is whether the people of El Salvador should be punished for refusing to let a foreign corporation run a mining project that threatens to poison their drinking supply.

Today a protest was held in front of the World Bank by Teamsters and others who don't think multinationals should be able to override the laws of a sovereign nation.

According to the Institute for Policy Studies,
OceanaGold/Pacific Rim Mining Corporation is suing the government of El Salvador for over $300 million because El Salvador is refusing to let it mine gold. 
The people of El Salvador are saying “yes to life and no to mining.” Many refused to sell their land to Pacific Rim, a requirement for a mining license in El Salvador. At least four anti-mining community members were slain under suspicious circumstances as the conflict over mining deepened. 
Yet, the saga continues. Because of trade and investment laws that the U.S. has championed in recent decades, corporations can sue governments when corporations feel their future profits are being threatened by government actions. Today they are doing this in the World Bank Group’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). 
This case exemplifies the perils of the massive Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) being negotiated by the United States with other counties of the Americas, Asia and Oceania. and what is wrong with “investor-state dispute settlement” mechanisms in such agreements. Let’s put an end to these egregious/capricious lawsuits that are increasingly biased in favor of corporate investors and against public interest.
Also joining today's protest were people from the  Institute for Policy Studies’ Global Economy Project, International Allies Against Mining in El Salvador, Oxfam, the Washington Ethical Society, Sisters of Mercy – Institute Justice Team, the Center for International Environmental Law, the SHARE Foundation, the AFL CIO, Friends of the Earth, Sierra Club,  Casa de Maryland, Committe In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES ), Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns,  Communications Workers of America (CWA) and Public Citizen.