The right of foreign investors to sue governments in international tribunals is one of the most extreme examples of excessive power granted to corporations through free trade agreements and investment treaties. For decades now, corporations have used this power to demand massive compensation for public interest regulations and other government actions that may reduce the value of their investments. Widespread outrage over this “investor-state dispute settlement” system is among the key issues in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Trade Tribunals. Corporations
By Nick Mathiason and Claire Provost for The Bureau of Investigative Journalism - When, in June 2011, indigenous Peruvian farmers attempted to take over a regional airport in the southern province of Chucuito, security forces opened fire. Six protestors were killed and 30 more wounded. Farmers said they were driven to this deadly protest by fears they would be thrown off their land and that water supplies could be polluted if a proposed silver mine in the remote mountains near Lake Titicaca went ahead. The deaths triggered further violence. Fearing complete social breakdown, the Peruvian government cancelled the Santa Ana mining concession given to Bear Creek, a little known Canadian mining firm.