Social and environmental organizations expose new trade agreements between the EU and Central America, Peru, Colombia
BRUSSELS (BELGIUM), SAN JOSE (COSTA RICA), December 11, 2012 – Today, in response to the European Parliament’s passing of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia and Peru, and an Association Agreement with Central America, social and environmental organizations warn in a public statement  about the negative impacts of these agreements on the people and the environment .
“The FTA and the Association Agreement passed today require Latin American governments to establish certain guarantees and to reform their laws in order to favour European investment, i.e., to be open to investments from European corporations with no conditions or requirements that may limit their profits. This will cause even more damage to the Latin American peoples and environment”, said Grace Garcia of Friends of the Earth Costa Rica (COECOCEIBA), coordinator of the International Solidarity Mission of Friends of the Earth International in Central America .
Lucia Ortiz, coordinator of the program Economic Justice, Resisting Neoliberalism of Friends of the Earth International said: “The FTA and the Association Agreement will allow European corporations to operate in Latin America with greater impunity. They will secure favourable conditions for their investments, leading to the loss of peoples’ rights, especially workers, the displacement of local communities and environmental degradation”.
Social and environmental organizations are calling the national Parliaments both in Europe and in Latin America to not ratify the agreements.
The FTA and the Association Agreement include a non-binding “democratic clause” to defend human rights. According to the civil society organizations that signed the public statement as part of a global campaign against transnational corporations, the clause has proven to be ineffective in the past .
“European corporations should comply with the standards set up by the European Union, including human rights laws when they operate outside Europe. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as the Friends of the Earth international delegation could verify”, said Jagoda Munic, chair of Friends of the Earth International.
From November 13 to 19, Jagoda Munic participated in the Friends of the Earth International solidarity mission in Guatemala and El Salvador, that verified systematic human rights abuses and criminalization of environmental activists and communities resisting mining and dams, including the local resistance to the construction of a hydroelectric dam by Spanish corporation Hidralia S.A.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Grace García (in Costa Rica), Friends of the Earth Costa Rica, Tel: +506-2223-3925 or email email@example.com
Lucia Ortiz (in Brazil), coordinator of the program Economic Justice, Resisting Neoliberalism of Friends of the Earth International. Mobile: + 55 51 9841 8707 and + 55 48 99150071 or email: lucia[at]amigosdaterrabrasil.org.br
Jagoda Munic (in Croatia), chair of Friends of the Earth International, mobile: +385 98 17 95 690 or email: jagoda[at]zelena-akcija.hr
NOTES TO EDITORS
 Several reports showing the negative impacts of these types of agreements are available here: http://www.enlazandoalternativas.org and http://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org
 For more information about the Friends of the Earth International solidarity mission in Central America, please go to: http://www.radiomundoreal.fm/Gira-Internacional-de-Solidaridad, https://www.foei.org/es/media/archive/2012/guatemala-y-el-salvador-corporaciones-transnacionales-saquean-recursos-naturales-y-violan-derechos-humanos-denuncia-mision-internacional?set_language=es
 For more information on the ‘democratic clause’ and the Free Trade Agreements, please read: http://www.enlazandoalternativas.org and http://www.tni.org