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An international tribunal gives the green light to a lawsuit brought by two companies attempting to overcome strong public and government resistance to their destructive gold mining.
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As the international community’s attention is fixed on the coup and crisis in Honduras, another Central American country fights the constraints and inequalities caused by flawed Free Trade Agreements between the United States and the hemisphere.
Community leaders from El Salvador will be in Washington to receive the 2009 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award on behalf of the National Roundtable on Mining. This broad coalition of environmental, faith-based, and community activists has successfully worked to block permits for potentially environmentally devastating mining in El Salvador.
The coalition will speak about the investor-state suits recently filed under the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) by U.S. and Canadian mining companies against El Salvador. They will also discuss their work to oppose mining, and the attacks and threats that they and other members of the National Roundtable have suffered in El Salvador.
Representatives of El Salvador’s National Roundtable on Mining: William Castillo, Center for Research on Investment and Trade (CEICOM); Francisco Pineda, Environment Coordinating Committee of Cabañas
Sarah Anderson, Global Economy Project Director at the Institute for Policy Studies. Anderson will report on her recent experience serving on an official advisory committee to the Obama administration on bilateral investment treaties (BITs). The administration is currently reviewing the U.S. Model BIT, which includes rules that are similar to those in the investment chapter of CAFTA and other trade agreements.
Rep. Michael Michaud, Democratic Congressman from Maine and the lead sponsor of the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act. One provision of the TRADE Act would ensure that trade agreements no longer permit foreign investors to sue governments in international tribunals over domestic regulatory policies that protect public health and the environment.
Stephanie Burgos, Oxfam America (moderator)
For more information on this event, please contact Manuel Perez-Rocha, Institute for Policy Studies, at email@example.com or (240) 838-6623 (mobile). For more information on the struggle over mining and the investor-state cases, read El Salvador’s Gold Fight, a Foreign Policy In Focus commentary.
This event was organized by the Institute for Policy Studies, Oxfam America,and the Washington Office on Latin America, and sponsored by Rep. Michael Michaud (D-ME).
At stake in El Salvador’s movement to ban mining is the question of whether private interests can trump national sovereignty.
This op-ed appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on June 11, 2006.