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Organizations launch a campaign against Bilateral Investment Treaties
Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS)
This translation has been freely translated by Anoosha Boralessa in March 2015. It has not been revised or reviewed by www.bilaterals.org or any other organization or person.
This morning (12 August), various organizations and social networks in Latin America launched a Continental Campaign against bilateral investment treaties and the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes. This action forms part of the Fourth Social Forum for the Americas (FSA) that started yesterday (11 August) in Asuncion, Paraguay and is continuing today.
The idea behind the Campaign is to give greater voice to Latin America social organizations to discuss measures and actions that show that in recent years, BITs and ICSID have been unfairly activated and to do away with such arbitral mechanisms.
According to the official announcement for the Campaign, it is also important
“to discuss the characteristics of necessary alternative mechanisms under a new regional financial architecture which is focused on the people rather than the expropriation of our natural resources.”
ICSID was created in 1966 under an international treaty on the basis of reports from the United Nations Organization (UNO). It is a forum that promotes provisions for the settlement of investment disputes between foreign investors and Host States.
However, several organizations believe that the Centre’s position yields benefits for investors to the detriment of the people’s interest. According to the statistics, 37% of the Centre’s claims are against South American countries, Central America and the Caribbean. Of these, half are against the Argentine Republic.
The official announcement explained:
“ICSID is an arbitral forum that needs transnational capital. It operates under the World Bank. In most cases, it has favored investors and sidelined the rights of people and the priorities and interests of national public policy. Its mandate is limited to ruling on whether a contract has been breached or not. It need not make a ruling on whether the reasons for the contract breach were “good or bad.”
The launch of the Continental Campaign against BITs and ICSID was one of the activities of the IV Social Forum of the Americas (FSA). From yesterday (11 August), around 10, 000 people from all parts of the continent are discussing strategies to construct “the potential for another America”. This year, the forum was held in Asuncion, Paraguay and will continue until next Sunday (15 August) with panels and self-governed, cultural activities.