cc licensed Flickr user Tori Rector

Resisting the ‘law of greed’

In 2011 in a small court in Ecuador’s Amazon jungle, a judge ordered the American oil giant Chevron to pay US$9 billion dollars in damages for pollution in the region that was caused by drilling activities in the 1970s and 1980s. The company quickly denounced landmark ruling as illegitimate. More than a year before the final ruling had been issued, Chevron had already taken steps to initiate an investor-state dispute against the Government of Ecuador under the terms of a US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty (BIT). The company seeks to avoid paying the US$9 billion by convincing an international tribunal that the courts of Ecuador are corrupt and that the government is ultimately responsible for any environmental damage and associated health issues experienced by local residents. Continue reading →

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Democracy resides in participation in organisations

The story of the abolition of the Transatlantic slave trade reads like a modern NGO advocacy campaign. Most of us know of Wilberforce who was its parliamentary spokesperson, but the campaign was much more than Wilberforce. It was the birth of the modern community organising campaign. Continue reading →