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Chevron, clean up your mess!

On May 21, 2019, thousands of activists will gather around the world and in Ecuador for the 6th Global #AntiChevron Day. There will be actions in at least five EU capitals to denounce the crimes, impunity and ISDS attacks of the giant oil company Chevron.

Using ISDS to avoid cleaning up the Amazon

Read a longer ISDS case file here.

Between 1972 and 1993, US oil firm Texaco (now purchased by Chevron) dumped over 30bn gallons of toxic waste and crude oil into the Amazon rainforest in the north east of Ecuador. This has since become known as one of the world’s greatest ever environmental disasters. Vast swathes of forest were contaminated across a 4400 square kilometer region. Rivers turned black. Local communities’ health and livelihoods were severely affected, with a spike in cancer and birth defects among the consequences.

Chevron’s Toxic Legacy in Ecuador’s Amazon – Caroline Bennett / Rain Forest Action network (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Following an 26-year legal battle that went up to the Ecuadorian supreme court, Chevron was ordered to $9.5bn to clean up the Amazon and compensate affected people. To this day, no compensation has been paid, and the oil firm’s “environmental remediation” efforts in the Amazon have been exposed as a sham.

But worst, in 2009 Chevron even counter-attacked and launched a billion dollars ISDS claim against Ecuador.

The ISDS tribunal decided in Chevron’s favour in September 2018, landing the Ecuadorian government with an as yet undisclosed pay-out to the firm. At no point in the ISDS process was there an opportunity for the voices of those affected by Chevron’s actions to be heard.

It’s been almost 50 years since Chevron began its devastating pollution of the Amazon. Yet still, after decades of struggle in the courts, the people whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed have yet to win justice. ISDS, as a tool for undermining democratically determined legal processes, was at the heart of this toxic subversion of justice.

The Chevron case was also one of the main reasons pushing affected communities and civil society to demand a binding treaty at the global level to end corporate impunity.


Join the #AntiChevron Day

On May 21, join us for the #AntiChevron day

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This article is heavily based on the « Chevron vs. Ecuador ISDS file » published by War on want and Global Justice now in May 2019. Read the full case file here (EN, pdf).