Protocol of Santiago.

The attendants of the Southern Cone Regional Workshop (Consulta Taller Regional Cono Sur) on "Accountability Mechanisms Regarding the Processes of Privatization of Services and Natural Resources - Trade Negotiations EU-FTAA/ALCA-TLC" (European Union-Free Trade Area of the Americas-Free Trade Agreement), gathered in the city of Santiago de Chile, on the 18th and 19th of November 2002,

Considering that,

In Latin America we face several liberalization processes that seek to make possible the creation of a continental free trade area.

Within these processes the investments are positioned more and more towards the service sector, mainly towards those public services that have already been privatized or are facing privatization.

In the GATS-WTO (General Agreement on Trade and Services - World Trade Organization) service agreements and in the first draft of the ALCA, as well as in the recent negotiations of the EU-Chile Association Agreement, all of the services, and in particular public services, are matters of negotiation, inasmuch as they have not been explicitly excluded.

A significant business arena for transnational corporations - in the field of services - is the provision of sanitary services, those which traditionally have been owned by the state and/or the community, and that during the 1990s these services had been the subject of privatization in the majority of countries in the region.

Among the social and environmental effects arising from the privatization of basic services, and specifically water, are: the increase in taxes, without binding participation of the population; the absence of a regulatory framework and of overseeing bodies; the lack of recognition of the existing asymetry between consumers and corporations and thus, the citizens' rights as consumers; and the continuous transfer of the hydric resource from communities, mainly in rural areas.

Privatization of hydric resources and services, far from resolving the challange of development, has contributed to the deterioration of the social and economic situation of a majority of countries in the region, as it has been denounced by several international organizations.

The information supplied by the attendants of the Southern Cone Regional Workshop, leads to the defense of the right to water, understood as a public service of social character and a natural resource for the whole population, and where representatives of the civil society who have managed and participated in the conflicts arising from the attempts of privatization and transnationalization or in those countries where privatization is widespread, shows a diagnosis to keep in account in order to establish and reach agreement on common strategies.

We wish to bring attention to the following:

The urgent necessity to deal with the processes of water control in Latin America as part of the worldwide hydrologic system; this is furthermore a necessary condition to guarantee the life cycle and human nature in the long-term.

The wave of privatization has affected the right to water and the water rights, water production, water purification and water distribution, without taking into account the necessary scientific conditions in order to guarantee the hydrologic cycle and, hence, human life.

The standards that have been utilized to put into practice the privatizations of the water cycle derive from the impositions of international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB).

This type of neoliberal economic system, resulting from the instructions of the IMF and other international financial organizations, has lead to the deterioration of civil liberties and freedoms as well as economic, social, and cultural rights, as recognized in international treaties.

The said organizations must be considered non-coherent with the provisions of international human rights law, whereas these international human rights standards are binding upon all of the members of the United Nations System.

At the same time we warn that countries such as the United States and blocks such as the European Union have underlined their interest to incorporate the matters of public services, and particularly the question of water, into the agenda of WTO negotiations.

This application of legal norms eluding the principles of the rights of citizens and civil liberties can indeed be seen as the application of de facto states, of international character, that affect the States' obligations and places democratic institutions under crisis.

These norms, which can be considered as "exception" norms, have left aside in a coercive manner the traditional indigenous and community rights that, in the case of Latin America, used to enjoy international legal recognition, derived from the legal order that replaced that of the Spanish colonization.

We understand that this form of utilization of the illegal systems can amount to international crimes such as extermination, and even genocide. In relation to these crimes, the so-called figures of financial engineering have played a specific role in the systematic organization of the above-mentioned violations, provoking what we could call a "crime of plunder" that directly affects the right to life as a collective right, and from the point of view of human life as a system.

The sought purpose of the known and reported forms of corruption of private and public agents, lies in the economic concretion of the crimes related to the systematic violations of human rights and they constitute necessary conditions for the comission of these types of crimes.

It is necessary to consider natural monopolies and their exploitation as services that the states can not transfer under any circumstance. Therefore, they should be recovered as a means to guarantee the right to life and the fulfillment of the international human rights system as recognized by the United Nations.

Considering the necessity to articulate social responses around this subject, as well as to propose accountability mechanisms in the framework of trade negotiations, particularly the ALCA.

We urge the governments:

To take into consideration the reflexions of the Protocol of Santiago. In particular, to incorporate both into the current trade negotiations and into the UN fora, the necessary safeguards to guarantee natural resources and the continuity, regularity, accessibility and quality of all of the uses of water.

We demand of the national and international Members of Parliament:

To supervise and modify -with citizen participation- all those agreements not abiding by the provisions of international human rights law and international law in general. We consider domestic standards to be of priority as long as they abide by international law.

To recommend all European Parliaments not to pass any such agreements, for they affect the countries where democratic systems suffer serious problems of legitimacy.

We urge civil societies:

To establish networks for the socialization of information on these types of conflicts, and also for the follow-up of the behaviour of transnational corporations which are part of these privatization processes.

To look for new forms of organization that permit global work before this type of conflict, engaging direct popular support, and also other countries' activists, that suffer the same problems, and especially in the countries of origin of the investments or of the multinational corporations.

To proceed with a spirit of solidarity and adherence.

- Porto Alegre
- Cumbre Mundial del Agua (World Water Summit)

Endorsed by:

  • Alianza Chilena por un Comercio Justo y Responsable, ACJR (CONADECUS, Consumers International, REMTE, RIGC, IEP, ODECU, APILA, Corporación Ayún, PDH)
  • Asociación Nacional de Empleados Fiscales, ANEF
  • Confederación Nacional de Funcionarios Municipales de Chile, ASEMUCH
  • Confederación Nacional de Pescadores Artesanales de Chile, CONAPACH
  • Centro de Estudios Mujer y Trabajo
  • Red Conreso (ACCIÓN, REDESOL, ASONG, Plataforma Komyunity-Chile, Plataforma Novib-Chile; RENACE y ACJR)
  • Corporación de Promoción y Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo, CODEPU
  • Revista Le Monde Diplomatique, edición chilena
  • Sindicato de Empresa ISAPRE CONSALUD
  • Centro de Extensión y Servicios de la Universidad Católica Cardenal Raúl Silva Henríquez
  • Foro del agua, Chile
  • Federación Nacional de Trabajadores de Obras Sanitarias, FENATRAOS
  • Observatario Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales, OCLA
  • Sindicato de Trabajadores No. 1 Empresa de Servicios Sanitarios de Los Lagos (X Región)
  • Sindicato de Trabajadores Profesionales de la Empresa de Servicios Sanitarios de Los Lagos (X Región)
  • Sindicato INGEPRO-Telefónica Chile

International Level:

  • Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador, CONAIE
  • Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú, (CGTP-FDTA)
  • Federación de Regantes de Bolivia
  • Programa Laboral del Desarrollo (PLADES)- Perú
  • Foro de Consulta Ciudadana (FOCO) - Argentina
  • Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Laboral y Agrario (CEDLA)- Bolivia
  • Federación de Regantes de Bolivia.
  • Equipo Nizkor (UE)
  • Serpaj Europa (Bélgica)
  • Alianza Social Continental (ASC) y Red Global - Latinoamérica
  • Instituto del Tercer Mundo (ITEM) y Social Watch (Control Ciudadano)- Uruguay
  • Internacional de Servicios Públicos, ISP
  • Red Globa

The "Protocol of Santiago" is left open to its adherence at the national and international level.

Endorsed by:

  • Organizations
  • Somos Iglesia (Chile)
  • Canelo de Nos (Chile)
  • Padres y Pastores por la Paz (Venezuela)
  • Iglesia de Cristo (República Dominicana)
  • Centro Evangélico y Liberación/Exodo (Espaņa)
  • Diócesis de Nuevo laredo (México)
  • Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Últimos Dís (Canad´)
  • Revista Le Monde Diplomatique - Edición chilena / Attac Chile
  • Organización Latinoamericana de Estudiantes, OCLAE
  • Movimiento Ecuménico por los Derechos Humanos (Argentina)
  • Alternatives (Canad´)
  • Red Congreso (Acción, Plataforma Komunity y Plataforma Novib Chile, Renace, Redesol, Asong, ACJR).
  • Religiosas Ursulinas de la Unión Romana (Perú)
  • Foro Social de Córdoba (Argentina)
  • ESSIP, Argentina.
  • Fundación Línea Verde, Argentina.
  • Global Exchange, San Francisco, California, USA.
  • Personalites
  • Danielle Mitterand (Francia)
  • Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (Argentina)
  • Evo Morales, ex candidato a la presidencia de Bolivia
  • Salvador Quisphe, diputado electo de Ecuador.
  • Lourdes Tib´n, Vicepresidenta Nacional CONAIE (Ecuador)
  • Angélica Gimpel Smith, Doctor en Economía
  • Miguel Arteche Salinas, Premio Nacional de Literatura de Chile
  • Zarko Luksic Savoia, Economista
  • Francisco Vio Grossi
  • Adolfo Castillo, Consejero Foro Sociedad Civil de Chile
  • Claudio Rom´n Su´rez, Abogado
  • Gabriel Cea V´squez, Productor de Cine
  • Juan Carlos Souper Rodriguez, Cientista Político
  • José Tapia Yánez, Médico Veterinario, Francia.

Economic and Social Rights

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This document has been published on 25Nov02 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights