El Salvador: Academics analyse lessons learned from historic mining ban

Author: Robin Broad & John Cavanagh, Ethics & International Affairs, Published on: 26 June 2017

“Historic wins for democracy and rights in El Salvador ethics and intenational affairs”, 19 Jun 17

…Recently there have been two giant wins for democracy, human rights, and the environment in an unlikely spot: the small, embattled nation of El Salvador. The most recent win was in March 2017, when the national legislature voted overwhelmingly to make El Salvador the first nation on earth to ban all metals mining, an activity that threatened that nation’s water supply…The other win occurred six months earlier, in October 2016: After a seven-year battle, a World Bank Group-affiliated arbitration tribunal ruled unanimously against a global mining firm that sued El Salvador for not granting it a mining license… Why these two victories in a world where the rich and powerful have written rules that largely serve them at the expense of democracy and human rights?...First, the communities in northern El Salvador at the center of these fights led with powerful and scientifically-backed stories and voices…It helped that there was not a strong domestic business lobby for mining…Putting this in a broader context, the El Salvador wins are part of two larger and overlapping movements for human rights and the environment…

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