pesticides

The six largest international pesticide companies – Monsanto, Dow, BASF, Syngenta, Bayer and DuPont – were charged with human rights violations by the Permanent People’s Tribunal, a jury of international scholars and experts. The Tribunal met the first weekend of December in Bangalore, India to hear the cases against the six largest Agrochemical Transnational Corporations for violating “internationally recognized rights to life, livelihood and health.”

The Pesticide Action Network organized the tribunal as a call for justice, corporate accountability and human dignity. More than fifteen witnesses from around the world testified to a range of grievances from endosulfan and paraquat poisoning to water contamination, toxic dumps of obsolete pesticides, Monsanto’s monopoly on seeds and even harassment of scientists. The Guardian highlights the coverage of Bayer’s neonicotinoid pesticides effect on the bee population. Videos of witness testimony and live tweets of the trial call for independent research, an end to bribery in the agrochemical industry and a standard of human dignity.

Jurors for the PPT include a UK legal scholar, a molecular geneticist, a Senegalese law professor, a Japanese ethics professor, a German economist  and an Italian public policy professor. The People’s Tribunal is also charging the corporations’ home countries – the US, Germany and Switzerland – and the financial infrastructure that supports the abuses, namely the IMF, WTO and World Bank.

The Tribunal was founded in 1979 as a people’s court that exposes “various forms of human rights violations through alternative judgments and legal articulations.” Although they can’t enforce penalties, the PPT  can set precedents for future legal action because they use actual court proceedings.

The trial coincides with the 27th anniversary of the Union Carbide pesticide plant explosion that killed 8,000 in Bhopal, India and left a legacy of contamination. You can read the session’s findings and recommendations here.

image: Make fruit fair!

Keep in touch with Erin in Twitter: @ErinPie