Many SEZs have been associated with compressions of land, labour and human rights. Investment treaties protect investments against adverse regulatory change, including in SEZs. To date, investors have brought at least 20 arbitrations to challenge diverse aspects of SEZ regimes.
The “moonlighting” debate echoes another controversial practice : that of “double hatting”, in which individuals wear two “hats” by simultaneously acting as arbitrators and legal counsel in international investment arbitration.
The UNCITRAL process runs a real risk of producing middle-ground solutions that will fail to address the fundamental flaws of the ISDS system and will only further institutionalise and re-legitimise the system.
More than 300 civil society groups and trade unions urged governments participating in United Nations meetings in Vienna to completely overhaul the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system.