Investment protection mechanisms give corporations the right to sue states if they take any measures – including public interest legislation – that might threaten profits. Wellknown versions of this is the Investor state-dispute mechanism (ISDS) which after rising controversy and critisism has been replaced by the Investment court system (ICS). Investment protection mechanisms are included in most new FTAs. Nevertheless, several governments are starting to reconsider their commitments to it as they recognize the danger that it poses to their sovereignty. TNI has produced extensive research highlighting how investment protection gives corporations far-reaching rights that curtail governments’ sovereignty and drain limited public budgets. It has also revealed the big stakes the legal industry has in these mechanisms.
The peoples of Myanmar have long desired a platform for inclusive peace and dialogue where the vital issues of politics, economics, welfare and human rights for all can be discussed together, fully and in a spirit of national reconcilitation and cooperation. Thus any initiative towards peace and dialogue is always welcome.
The current crisis of the Bolivarian project is due to its failure to question the rentier petro-state model. Far from accepting that an alternative to capitalism necessarily had to be a departure from the destructive development model of unlimited growth, the government of President Chávez intensified it to extremes unknown in the country’s previous history.
As an increasing number of jurisdictions consider whether and how to legalize and regulate access to cannabis, tensions are growing between these initiatives and countries’ obligations under the UN drug control conventions. A groundbreaking new report produced by a coalition of legal and drug policy experts offers strategies for countries exploring regulatory approaches to cannabis to do so in ways that ensure that their domestic reforms align with their international legal obligations.
The creation of Pat Jasan and its ‘people’s war on drugs' have brought to light drug-related problems facing not only the Kachin State but also the rest of the country. Praised by some Kachin activists for finally addressing drug problems, they are also criticised by others for violating human rights and not providing any services to marginalised communities, including drug users and poppy farmers.
TNI's fifth annual State of Power 2016 report explores the intersect of power and democracy. Featuring prominent activists and academics, its essays feature the long battle between economic power and popular democracy, expose the different powers seeking to undermine democracy today, and tell the stories of radical popular democratic alternatives emerging worldwide.
Drug users from Kachin came together last November to discuss the challenges and difficulties they experience and identify possible solutions to their problems. Read their statement and recommendations.
The Transnational Institute (TNI) in the Netherlands is issuing an open call for essays/short papers and artistic collaborations for its forthcoming State of Power report launched in late January 2017 to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos. In 2017, we are particularly looking for accessible, engaging essays and artistic explorations that interrogate the relations between culture and power.
In Mexico, a 2012 constitutional amendment recognised the human right to water, requiring a new national water law. Coordinadora Nacional Agua para Tod@s Agua para la Vida has proposed the citizens' bill, which has been developed through a nation-wide bottom up process. It connects local grassroots struggles against privatisation, water resource contamination, indigenous peoples, and urban popular movements for access to, and local control over, water resources. Important local water struggles in Puebla, Guadalajara, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Ramos Arizpe, Saltillo and Mexico City are the background of this national mobilisation. The citizens' bill ambitiously addresses sustainable water basin plans and democratic water service provision in an integrated way.
Jennifer Franco, Hannah Twomey, Pietje Vervest, Tom Kramer
28 January 2016
“Land is like our vein; it is vital for our living. After our land was confiscated, we don’t know what to do for our livelihood,” says a farmer from Kachin State in Myanmar. Today many inhabitants of rural communities in Myanmar live under threat of losing their lands in a battle for resources spurred by ethnic conflict, exploitative land laws, and powerful economic actors. The existence of a legal right to the land does not translate into that right being respected in practice, and people across the country are now working to protect their right to the land.
India has strongly entrenched power hierarchies that have historical roots but have also been exacerbated by inequalities and injustices that have deepened with economic globalisation. However grassroots political movements are emerging in India that could signal a gradual shift to direct or radical democracy, coupled with making representative democracy more accountable and ecologically sustainable
Privatisations of state-owned assets have become a central plank of EU/Troika agreements with debtor nations such as Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal, but there has been little examination of their track record nor an examination of who really benefits. This report puts a spotlight on the legal and financial corporate giants making millions out of the new wave of privatisations across Europe.
To address its serious drug use problems, Myanmar should change its drug policy towards a harm reduction approach. Instead of a repressive approach, voluntary and evidence-based treatment and public health services, including harm reduction, should be made available and become generally accepted by enforcement officials and by the community at large.