Yesterday, advocates of social justice in Peru kicked off a week of activities designed to increase awareness about the dangers of the investor-state system by highlighting one of the most egregious examples: the case that the U.S.-based Renco corporation has launched against Peru concerning the company's notorious metal smelter. Renco, owned by one of the richest men in the U.S., launched the investor-state attack on behalf of its subsidiary Doe Run, whose Peruvian metal smelter has severely contaminated the town of La Oroya, declared one of the ten most polluted sites in the world.
Several organizations are participating, including Public Citizen and Georgetown University’s Harrison Institute from the United States, along with RedGE, CooperAccion, Red Uniendo Manos Peru and other organizations from Peru. Rosa Amaro, the president of the Movement for Health in La Oroya (MOSAO for its Spanish initials) has also traveled to Lima to speak out on behalf of the citizens of La Oroya. The events organized for this week include a press briefing breakfast, an informational meeting for organizations in Peru, a public forum, and meetings with various government officials.
In case you haven’t been following the situation in Peru closely, the case that Renco has launched against Peru is one of the most outrageous examples of the dangers that the investor-state system poses to public health and the environment. Renco is using the system to try to evade the consequences of the massive pollution that the company has left in La Oroya and to avoid compensating those suffering from lead poisoning, air pollution, and water contamination in the company's wake.
Renco claims that the Peruvian government is attacking the corporation’s investor privileges by not granting it a third extension to comply with its unfulfilled 1997 commitment to install pollution mitigation devices in its smelter. Instead of fulfilling these promises, Renco is suing for $800 million in compensation. For more background, check out the analysis on our website.
Check back for more updates, videos, and photos of the events in Lima as the week progresses.