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20 August 2010 | |

Wrong Beneficiaries

Organizations fear ICSID will benefit Canadian company in El Salvador

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Canadian company Pacific Rim has a long record of irregularities, including the murder of people opposing its mining operations in Cabañas department. Nevertheless, the company decided to file a lawsuit against El Salvador before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) of the World Bank.

But social organizations from the country are warning that the international court will likely adopt a position favourable to the North American mining corporation, and that is why they are demanding Mauricio Funes´ administration, from the left-wing party Frente Farabundo Martí para la LIberación Nacional (FMLN), the immediate passing of a law to ban metal mining in El Salvador.

“The government should get serious and think about the interests of the population and the environment. That´s why we voted for them. They should keep their promises”, said Ricardo Navarro from CESTA-Friends of the Earth, one of the organizers of the press conference called to demand the regulation of this polluting activity.

Navarro said that it is not likely that the ICSID´s ruling will be favourable since “all they want is to open the doors for profits, and the World Bank has always financed mining, coal and oil projects because they see money in them”, said the leader.

Meanwhile, Francisco Pineda, from the Environmental Committee of Cabañas highlighted the need to pass a law to ban metal mining as soon as possible, and said that these environmental conflicts are related to the commitments taken by the countries when they sign Free Trade Agreements.

Rina Navarrete, from the San Isidro Cabaña´s Friends Association said that the ICSID will not rule in favour of the interests of the Salvadoran people. “These courts always benefit big companies, we have other examples in the region”, she concluded.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/248634...

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