More than 100 international experts and social activists gathered from 5-8 November in Brussels, Belgium, for a 'Week of Action' to call attention to the negative effects of International Investment Treaties (IIA) on human rights and the environment.
'At the moment we produce six kilos of gold per year, we cannot meet the demand,' María Luisa Villa of AMICHOCÓ from Colombia says. In the last couple of years, AMICHOCÓ has worked hard to organise small-scale sustainable gold miners and to make certification possible. Under the brand name 'Oro Verde' the Fairtrade Fairmined gold is now available on the market. 'We are ready to expand production, but the preservation of biodiversity and the protection of the rights of ethnic groups remains our priority,' Villa stresses.
Despite the fact that Laos recently let its neighboring countries know that the construction of the Xayaburi dam on the Mekong River would officially be put on hold, illegal construction activities appear to be taking place. In April this year, due to massive national and international protests, the Government of Laos felt obliged to suspend construction until the social and environmental impacts of the dam would be clearly examined. Around the spot where the dam was to be constructed however, people are being driven away from their land, a road has been built for the supply of building materials and forest is chopped down.
South Korean company POSCO uses violence against the local population and violates human rights in a controversial mining project in India. Dutch pension fund ABP has shares in POSCO and should therefore put pressure on the company to act according to the rules. This is argued by Fair, Green & Global, an alliance of Dutch civil society organizations. The alliance has therefore submitted a complaint about POSCO violating the OECD Guidelines (on corporate social responsibility) for multinational companies.
An order, issued by a Brazilian court against the construction of the Belo Monte dam, has been overruled by a higher court. The dam will have disastrous effects on the environment and the population in the area. Moreover, it is questionable whether the supposed benefits will outweigh the high costs and the damage done.