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Protest outside World Bank tribunal: Civil society leaders denounce mining corporation lawsuit against El Salvador over rights to gold

December 13, 2011

Protest outside World Bank tribunal
Civil society leaders denounce mining corporation lawsuit against El Salvador over rights to gold

What: Protest and rally outside World Bank tribunal
When: Thursday, December 15, 2011, 12 PM EST
Where: World Bank Building / Murrow Park, 1818 H St NW, Washington DC
Who:
AFL-CIO; United Mine Workers of America (UMWA); United Steelworkers (USW); American Federation of Teachers (AFT); International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM); Teamsters Union; Sierra Club; Friends of the Earth (FOE); others

Washington DC – On Thursday, Institute for Policy Studies Director John Cavanagh will join labor unions, local Salvadorans, and others to call for justice for El Salvador and fair U.S. trade policy at a rally in front of the World Bank building. The group will seek to deliver a letter to the World Bank tribunal signed by more than 100 international civil society groups to personnel working with the tribunal. Groups signed on so far include the AFL-CIO; United Mine Workers of America (UMWA); United Steelworkers (USW); American Federation of Teachers (AFT); International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions (ICEM); and Teamsters Union.

The event is permitted for Murrow Park, just outside the World Bank building. Participants will have an 18-foot tall, inflatable “fat cat” puppet, representing the Pacific Rim gold mining company, as well as colorful signs and banners.

Pacific Rim, a Canadian company, is seeking to exploit gold reserves in El Salvador by opening a mine that could poison the water supply for more than half the nation’s population. They set up a subsidiary in the United States in order to file a lawsuit under the U.S. Central America Free Trade Agreement against the government of El Salvador, which has not approved a permit to mine the gold.  In the course of the dispute over these natural resources, four anti-mining activists have been killed. 

The case will be decided soon by the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a little-known international arbitration tribunal housed in the World Bank. A victory for Pacific Rim would send signals to any global corporation that it can override national environmental or labor rights regulations by opening a subsidiary in the United States – a windfall never imagined by even the most ardent free traders.

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Institute for Policy Studies (www.ips-dc.org) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power