Ecuador: Foreign Minister wants transnational corporations held accountable

Posted on November 1, 2014 • Filed under: Business, Ecuador, Politics, Social Issues Patino/ Opinion/ Ecuador has undergone a profound social, economic and political transformation over the past seven years, prioritising the needs and rights of its citizens, in order to tackle a great moral challenge of the 21st century: establishing people’s control over the forces that reign supreme in trade and commerce.

Transnational corporations enjoy special rights, protections, and privileges that have led to an unprecedented level of social and environmental injustice, particularly in developing countries without sufficient legal recourse to defend against corporate power. A new proposal spearheaded by Ecuador and South Africa to create a legally binding instrument to regulate the human and environmental rights abuses of transnational corporations, recently approved by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, is the start of setting things right.

The global proliferation of Bilateral Investment Protection Treaties has granted transnational corporations extensive and ever-expanding investor rights and protections at the expense of the rights of the people and environment where they operate. Some of these agreements have enabled corporations to sue the government of South Africa for empowering citizens affected by apartheid, the government of Germany for phasing out nuclear energy, and the governments of Uruguay and Australia for requiring health warnings on cigarette packages. Read Article

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