Agrochemical companies are accused of promoting dangerous and unsafe pesticides
- From Hillsborough to pesticides: establishment cover-ups, lies and corruption
- UK-US air transports of high enriched uranium: global security at risk for commercial gain
- Brutal, opaque, illegal: the dark side of the Tres Santos 'mindfulness' eco-tourism resort
- Uranium mining threatens South Africa‘s iconic Karoo
Monsanto, Bayer and Dow face trial for 'systematic human rights abuses'
16th November, 2011
Permanent Peoples' Tribunal accuses biotech giants Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont and BASF of promoting dangerous pesticides including endosulfan, paraquat and neonicotinoids
The world's major agrochemical companies, Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont and BASF, will face a public tribunal in early December accused of systematic human rights violations.
They are accused of violating more than 20 instruments of international human rights law through promoting reliance on the sale and use of dangerous and unsafe pesticides including endosulfan, paraquat and neonicotinoids.
The Permanent Peoples' Tribunal (PPT), an international opinion tribunal created in 1979, will hear expert testimony from scientists, medical doctors and lawyers to prove the charges. Victims who have been injured by these products - from farmers, farmworkers, mothers and consumers from around the world - will also testify to the causes and nature of their injuries.
The cases will be heard over a four-day trial in Bangalore, India beginning December 3. While the Tribunal has no legal weight, and cannot force sanctions on companies, it aims to expose and raise awareness of large-scale human rights violations.
Pesticides Action Network (PAN) International, a global network comprised of 600 organisations in 90 countries, has spent years collecting information to bring about the indictments and is seeking justice for more than 25 specific cases - such as Silvino Talavera, an 11-year-old from Paraguay who died days after breathing in a cloud of Monsanto's RoundUp herbicide sprayed by a crop duster. The trial will also hear evidence of the link between pesticide use and a decline in bees.
The corporations, known as the 'Big 6' control 74 per cent of the global pesticide market, as well as dominating the global seed market.
Bayer reject the allegations saying they are a 'wholesale distortion of the role of pesticides in our society.' Monsanto, Syngenta and Dow, after being contacted by the Ecologist, were unavailable for comment.
An estimated 355,000 people are believed to die each year from unintentional toxic chemical poisoning, according the World Health Organization, many of these from use or exposure to pesticides and other agrochemicals. Nick Mole from PAN UK said the trial would give a voice to the otherwise voiceless victims of pesticides.
‘The pesticide industry is massive and incredibly powerful. It is difficult to prove corporate manslaughter even when these products are killing hundreds of people a year,' he said. ‘We've spoken to people who have been abused and we are allowing them to give voice to their individual stories. We will be presenting the outcome of the Tribunal to the corporations and will be inviting their response,' he said.
It is hoped that the verdict, to be delivered on December 6, will lead to greater discussions at UN institutions on holding agrochemical corporations accountable for crimes relating to the impact of their products.
The PPT grew out of the work by Italian Senator Lelio Basso, and serves as a grassroots, ad hoc court to consider charges and to issue verdicts on complaints of human rights violations submitted by victims or their representative groups.
Since 1979, the PPT has held 35 sessions exposing various forms of human rights abuses in cases from the Bhopal disaster, Tibet sovereignty and the intervention of the US in Nicaragua.
Agri-chemical companies are both breeding and killing bees
Agri-chemical companies like Syngenta don’t just make the chemicals that have been blamed for the decline in bees; they also breed the bees that are being used as a replacement for wild pollinators
Chemical warfare: the horrific birth defects linked to tomato pesticides
The 'Immokalee babies' were born with severe deformities after their mothers were each exposed to pesticides whilst harvesting tomatoes. Barry Estabrook reports on the case that shocked the US
The inside story on Monsanto and the glyphosate birth defect data
The pesticide industry and regulators have repeatedly misled the public with claims that glyphosate is safe, says Claire Robinson. As a result, Monsanto's Roundup is used by gardeners and local authorities, in school grounds, and in farmers’ fields
Leaked document exposes risks to bees and insects from Bayer pesticide
US government scientists flag up risks to bees and aquatic insects from neonicotinoid pesticide that biotech giant Bayer are trying to gain approval for use by farmers
'Unnecessary' weedkillers could undermine efforts to protect bee population
New research encouraging gardeners to increase bumblebee populations by planting flowers could be undermined by the use of weedkillers and pesticides, Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) warns
Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.