Pioneered by the North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico in 1994, the only "freedom" they bestow is to investors through investor rights clauses that empower corporations to trump the democratic rights of citizens and their governments to enact laws and policies for the public good.
Many of NAFTA's Chapter 11 arbitrations are held in secret. They are presided over, not by judges, but by arbitrators appointed by investors (corporations), governments or the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. The arbitrators are often corporate lawyers. They lack judicial independence, training and experience. And they tend to favor corporations over governments. There's a further bias in the process. Investors can sue governments but governments cannot sue investors.
"In effect, NAFTA establishes a private justice system exclusively for foreign investors, including the world's largest and most powerful multinational corporations," the study says.
In plain language, Chapter 11 repeals huge tracts of the democratic commons -- the right of citizens through their governments to determine the management of their society. It constitutes a fundamental abridgment of government of the people, by the people and for the people.