The case is based on the fact that Chevron-Texaco dumped 18 billion gallons of toxic waste in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador which polluted waterways and severely contaminated the soil, resulting in an increase in cancer rates, cultural upheaval and devastation of biodiversity.
In February 2011, the Ecuadorian court ordered Chevron to pay US$9 billion in compensation.
Chevron, however, did not pay the compensation and instead took the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
This month, the court in The Hague has ruled in favour of Chevron, finding the Ecuadorian Court's earlier ruling to be in violation of a bilateral investment treaty signed with the United States in 1997.
This case provides an example of how current trade policies enable the interests of transnational corporations to override the interests of people and sovereign democracy.
“This ruling is a clear example of the urgent need to bring international trade and investment rules into accordance with the internationally agreed-upon framework of values in the United Nations,” explained German MEP, Helmut Scholz.
“The impunity of big corporations when committing human rights abuses and environmental crimes must urgently be curbed.
“The European Union, and namely the European Parliament, have an important role to play ensuring that people and the planet are prioritised above the interests of investors in making profits.”
Spanish MEP, Lola Sanchez adds: “The case highlights the need for an effective United Nations Binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with transnational characteristics with respect to human rights.”
In order to curb current trade imbalances and promote the United Nations Binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with transnational characteristics with respect to human rights (also known as the 'People's Treaty'), GUE/NGL will co-organise a high level meeting in October (event details to be released soon).
Last year, a GUE/NGL delegation visited the area of the Amazon that was polluted by Chevron-Texaco and acknowledged the huge ecocide committed by the oil giant.
GUE/NGL MEPs are working with lesser developed countries, progressive politicians and trade activists towards the development of the 'People's Treaty' within the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The European Parliament's committees on Development, International Trade and Human Rights will present an oral question on the 'People's Treaty' to the Parliament in October.