For an entire year, people from the town and villages next to a planned gold mine at Amulsar mountain in the south of Armenia have blockaded the entry roads to the mine. They have succeeded in completely shutting down construction. But this amazing act of resistance is now being threatened by corporate courts (also known as ISDS).
UK-registered mining company Lydian was given the go-ahead for the mine by the previous government, despite longstanding concerns. That government was an authoritarian administration with a track record of police violence and repression of public protest.
Then in 2018, Armenia had a 'Velvet Revolution' and a new democratic government. Local people felt they had a chance to make their voices heard, and started protesting, leading to the blockade.
Now Lydian is threatening to sue the government in a corporate court – a shadow legal system written in to many trade and investment deals including a UK investment deal that Lydian is using. Essentially Lydian is using corporate courts to bully the Armenian government into taking a more repressive approach to public protest.
We need to tell Lydian to drop the corporate court case and respect the wishes of the local communities – save Amulsar and stop ISDS!
To find out more about Amulsar, watch the video and read the briefing. There is also more background on ISDS.