International organizations have contacted the Armenian Environmental Front (AEF) activist group and expressed their readiness to support us and the local communities in the struggle against possible investment arbitration on Amulsar issue. In case Lydian does decide to apply to the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), the global network of organizations fighting against unfair investment agreements and corporate courts will join the cause.
One of these organizations is Global Justice Now, which fights against unfair trade and investment agreements and the corporate arbitration centers based on those agreements. International trade and investment deals are giving big business huge and unequal power to sue states for making decision or adopting policies which harm corporate profits. This may include, for example, adopting laws on minimum wages, introducing stricter rules for protecting the environment, banning destructive environmental activities, etc. ISDS is an elite legal system tailored for global investors which allows corporations to bypass national or international courts and, instead, have cases heard in secretive tribunals where the arbitrators do not have to balance the public interest, human rights or environmental concerns.
Global Justice Now fights to stop the corporate arbitration court system, which exclusively serves the interests of global investors, and to establish equal conditions for nations and peoples against corporate power over them. No country should “compensate” corporations for democratic decisions that protect people and planet, states Global Witness. In the UK specifically, the organization demands removal of ISDS in existing investment deals, and no ISDS in new and replacement trade deals.
War on Want is a UK based organization that follows a similar agenda. The fightback against corporate plunder through investment courts gives positive results; South Africa, India, Ecuador, Tanzania, Indonesia and New Zealand have been revising, limiting or cancelling investment deals. Similarly, strong movements against TTIP (Europe-US) and CETA (Europe-Canada) secretive transatlantic trade and investment deals, and the fact that those agreements have not been adopted, is a sign that the global fight against unregulated power of business in possible and effective.
The Armenian Environmental Front will also cooperate with civil society organizations in Romania that are involved in the ISDS process on Rosia Montana mine.
We started raising the problem of corporate courts back in 2018. For more about investment courts and international economic relations (in Armenian) watch AEF member Anna Shahnazaryan’s talk on BoonTV.