Human rights

Human rights related articles, news and letters.

Race to the Bottom, Take II (September 2003)

Race to the Bottom IIClick here for pdf

Significantly destructive projects that violate host country law, international environmental standards and international human rights and labor laws continue to be considered and supported by ECAs. "Race to the Bottom, Take II: An Assessment of Sustainable Development Achievements of ECA-Supported Projects Two Years After OECD Common Approaches Rev 6" presents a civil society proposal for reforming the OECD Common Approaches on Environment and supports the proposal with nine case studies of ECA-backed projects from all over the world.

The projects include the Aracruz Pulp and Paper Factory in Brazil, the BTC pipeline in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, the Bujagili dam in Uganda, the Camisea oil and gas project in Peru, the Cernavoda 2 Nuclear Reactor in Romania, the Sakhalin II oil and gas project in the Russian Far East, the Sepon Gold and Copper mine in Lao, the Tehri dam in India.

Speech on the Role of IFIs in Privatization - Commonwealth Foundation

Commonwealth Foundation
Brunei Darasalaam
July 22nd, 2003

The Role of IFIs
Pamela Foster
Halifax Initiative Coalition

I may have been asked to give this talk as I, among our Commonwealth colleagues, sit closest to Washington. As there is so much experience in the room in addressing issues of the World Bank and the IMF[1], I will merely start a list of all the ways that the IFIs are implicated in the relentless drive towards privatization of public assets.

First, I would like to quickly share two contextual comments regarding this push towards privatization. It must be situated within the drive towards the end of history, or the ultimate global supremacy of US-modeled capitalism. This victory was declared at the end of the Cold War. The end of history envisions the role of the state being limited to maintaining law and order and a sound investment climate.

EDC response Re: Three Gorges - July 2, 2003

July 2, 2003

Mr. Fraser Reilly-King
Halifax Initiative
153 Chapel Street, Suite 104
Ottawa, ON  K1N 1H5
Dear Mr. Reilly-King

I wish to respond to your letter of May 16 in which you raise a number of questions concerning Export Development Canada’s practice of assessing human rights issues related to transactions that we may consider for support.

You suggest that I intervene with the Chinese authorities in the development of the Three Gorges Hydroelectric Project. While EDC continues to follow developments concerning the project, your request is more appropriately addressed to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. Canadian foreign policy and government-to-government relations are quite properly handled by political authorities, not export credit agencies. This is consistent with actions taken by the Swiss government.

Letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Re: Three gorges - May 16, 2003

May 16, 2003

The Hon. Bill Graham
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Lester B. Pearson Building
125 Sussex Drive,
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0G2
Fax: (613) 996-3443

Dear Minister Graham:

Thank you for your letter of March 17, in response to the human rights concerns we raised with regards to the Three Gorges Dam, and Canada’s involvement in the project through Export Development Canada. We also received a response from EDC.

You are right to acknowledge the energy needs of the Chinese population, and to observe that relative to the total project budget of USD$24 billion, Canada contribution was minor. But this should not diminish the significance of the USD$165.5 million in financing that EDC provided, nor should it downplay the fact that as the first export credit agency to become involved in the project, EDC set an example for others to follow.

Update on submergence


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