Protect Domestic Laws

Sign the Petition to Dr. Kim: No More Trade Pact Tribunals Attacking Our Laws

Sign the Petition Below

Dear Dr. Kim,

Congratulations on your appointment as head of the World Bank. Many people around the world look forward to your reshaping that organization so that it promotes the goals and values that undergird your decades of excellent work fighting for public health and against poverty.

We know there are many pressing issues for you to address in your new role. We urge you to prioritize dealing with ICSID – the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. This is a facility housed at the World Bank where many of the infamous “investor-state” corporate attacks on domestic health, environmental and other public interest laws are initiated.

Under the investment “arbitration” system of ICSID, individual corporations are empowered to skirt domestic laws and courts and directly sue governments to demand cash compensation if they think that their investor privileges granted under trade agreements or investment treaties are undermined.

The foreign investor protections included in some recent Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and their enforcement through investor-state arbitration at ICSID threaten to undermine countries’ domestic justice systems and fundamentally shift the balance of power between investors, states and other affected parties in a manner that undermines key public interest policies.

ICSID’s damage is expanding. Rather than being an option of last resort, the use of this regime is increasing dramatically. In a recent decision, an ICSID tribunal allowed half of Canadian mining firm Pacific Rim’s attack on El Salvador’s environmental laws to move forward. Given the extraordinary facts of this case, the only reasonable outcome should have been total dismissal of Pacific Rim’s attack. That this attack was even possible spotlights the dangers of extreme investor rights in FTAs and BITs and their private enforcement at ICSID.

Since 2000, just under ICSID, 173 cases have been resolved and an additional 128 filed. To put this in perspective, as recently as 1999, only 69 ICSID cases had been launched. Today, there are 370-plus such cases underway, an increase of 436% – and that is only the number of Investor-State cases at ICSID. Over $675 million has been paid out under U.S. FTAs and BITs alone, 70% percent of which pertained to challenges to governments’ natural resource and environmental policies - not to traditional expropriations. Tobacco companies have also used Investor-State dispute settlement to challenge government tobacco control policies enacted to implement obligations under the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

We call on you to announce that one of your first initiatives as president of the World Bank will be an open and transparent review of the role of ICSID and its place within the World Bank. There is no place for these damaging corporate tribunals at a World Bank committed to promoting democracy, public health and fairness.


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1-25 of 6323 signatures
Number Date Name Location
6323 Wed Aug 21 15:03:01 EDT 2013 Sheila Brady IL
6322 Sun Jan 13 12:44:01 EST 2013 Elaine Gross ON Stephen Lewis, in a recent CBC interview, spoke highly of your desire for justice. That gives me hope. Thank you for your interest.
6321 Sat Nov 03 11:14:55 EDT 2012 Marie Weis WA
6320 Mon Oct 29 07:49:56 EDT 2012 Chris Stark ME
6319 Tue Oct 09 04:44:30 EDT 2012 Jan-Paul Alon NJ
6318 Sun Oct 07 03:11:58 EDT 2012 Anonymous WI
6317 Wed Sep 26 21:57:00 EDT 2012 Erin Foley-Collins NJ
6316 Mon Sep 10 18:37:06 EDT 2012 Carolyn De Mirjian CA
6315 Wed Aug 22 17:34:14 EDT 2012 Nicole De Nardis WI
6314 Tue Aug 21 02:12:36 EDT 2012 Anonymous MA
6313 Mon Aug 20 15:35:43 EDT 2012 Rebecca Rens UT
6312 Fri Aug 17 04:13:41 EDT 2012 lynn thompson OH
6311 Tue Aug 07 15:23:54 EDT 2012 Donald Story OH
6310 Wed Aug 01 23:30:35 EDT 2012 Anonymous CA
6309 Wed Aug 01 03:53:52 EDT 2012 Bailey Sparks MD
6308 Tue Jul 31 17:38:11 EDT 2012 Dennis Johnston ot
6307 Mon Jul 30 12:28:57 EDT 2012 Constance Birch VA
6306 Tue Jul 24 13:27:13 EDT 2012 Mike Zielinski MD
6305 Thu Jul 19 13:38:44 EDT 2012 Steven Vogel VA
6304 Tue Jul 17 20:33:55 EDT 2012 chris brazis CA
6303 Tue Jul 17 18:22:07 EDT 2012 Virginia Brisley LA
6302 Tue Jul 17 13:23:58 EDT 2012 Anonymous TX
6301 Mon Jul 16 18:13:14 EDT 2012 Anonymous CA
6300 Mon Jul 16 17:24:38 EDT 2012 James Hubbard CA
6299 Mon Jul 16 10:03:05 EDT 2012 John Young IL
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