Oral Statement Indonesia for Global Justice For the 18th Round RCEP Negotiations, Manila, Philippines May 10th, 2017
Thank you Mr. Chair person, and all Trade Negotiating Committee for your time.
My name is Megawati, I’m from Indonesia and working with Indonesia for Global Justice, an organization who have concerns on free trade agreements.
As we know, RCEP will put a very strong provisions on the protection of investors through investment chapter and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. This investment protection practices lead to the state being held hostage by the corporations and to the loss of democracy.
The agreements of investment protection even makes the state legalizes crimes and human rights violations committed by the corporation, particularly in the extractive industries, such as causing pollution and environmental destruction, land, particularly indigenous land, grabbing, and committing violence against environmental, mining , and human rights activists.
Even, a group of UN Human Rigths Expert published a statement that stated the FTAs and Investment Protection Agreements, As well as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), have raised the risk of regulatory function of the State to protect the national interest and the setback to the promotion and protection of human rights.
They believed the problem has been aggravated by the “chilling effect” that intrusive ISDS awards have had, when States have been penalized for adopting regulations, for example to protect the environment, food security, access to generic and essential medicines, and reduction of smoking, as required under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, or raising the minimum wage.
In fact, this criticism on investment protection rules, particularly on ISDS, was followed by some actions from several countries to review their investment treaty and make a new model, as did by India, South Africa, and including Indonesia.
Therefore, RCEP will give big potential risk to human rights impacts. We demand to remove the ISDS Mechanism and investment protection rules in The RCEP. And ASEAN, particularly LDCs countries, should be cautious to ambitious countries that wishing to accelerate and pust to conclude RCEP with such provisions.
To ensure the protection and promotion of human rights standards above the trade and investment agreement under RCEP, we demand to the Trade Negotiating Committee and all member states, to conduct all current negotiations process transparently with consultation and participation of all relevant stakeholders including labour unions, consumer unions, environmental protection groups and health professionals.
All draft treaty texts should be published so that Parliamentarians and civil society have sufficient time to review them and to weigh the pros and cons in a democratic manner.
Thank you very much.**