Among the many terrible features of the Trans Pacific Partnership, twelve countries are crafting something that would give corporations unprecedented power: a secret court for capitalist enterprises to sue any country that infringes on profits. As it stands, with investment treaties skewed in their favor, multinational corporations enjoy the freedom to pillage developing countries–when people suffer disease, death and environmental devastation as a result, they simply claim there is no jurisdiction where they can be made to answer to a court.
Despite many international human rights treaties that countries must follow, there are none that apply to corporations–despite the fact that 37 of the top 100 economies in the world are corporations. But while the corporate elite flex their power across the planet, one small country has been leading a fight to hold them accountable for their crimes against humanity. Ecuador has been spearheading a project in the United Nations to create a binding legal instrument that, for the first time, would hold corporations accountable for human rights violations in the countries they extract profits from.
Leading this bold initiative Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador’s permanent representative to the UN; also having served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and of National Defense under President Correa. She joined Abby Martin at the TeleSUR studios in Quito to discuss this historic venture, and how Ecuador ended up on the forefront of this fight.