Tribunal: Monsanto violates human rights
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Five internationally renowned lawyers have come to the conclusion that the US corporation Monsanto violates human rights. In the context of the Monsanto Tribunal , they analysed the activities of the corporation from the point of view of international law and human rights law. The Tribunal was a symbolic trial organised by an international group of environmental activists. Monsanto was invited to attend but refused to take part.
In mid October 2016 the lawyers heard 30 witnesses from all over the world. They spoke about the damage that has been caused by the the chemicals and seed corporation Monsanto with its policy and its products. The corporation produced the carcinogenic chemical PCB and the dioxin-contaminated 2,4,5-T-Acid herbicide. This was used as an ingredient in Agent Orange in the Vietnam war, killed thousands of people and today is still causing birth defects and cancer. They also talked about the pesticide Round-up, that contains the active ingredient glyphosate, and the genetically modified seed associated with it. The indictment covered the suicide of Indian farmers after crop failure with genetically modified cotton and the patent cases with which Monsato ruined American farmers.
On the basis of the witness statements the judges drew up a legal opinion that has now been submitted. They came to the conclusion “that Monsanto's business practices impede the right to health.” The judges also considered the right to a healthy environment and “the freedom essential for scientific research” are being violated. The increased input of genetically modified plants and Round-up leads, in the opinion of the Tribunal, to “Monsanto's activities having a negative impact on the right to food.”
Possible indictment for ecocide was a theme addressed in the judges' legal opinion document. What is meant by this is “severe damage to or destruction of the environment that is capable of seriously and permanently impairing global common goods or ecosystems.” The Tribunal came to the conclusion that the activities of Monsantos could constitute the crime of ecocide. However, ecocide – unlike, for example, genocide – has not been incorporated into international law. If this were to happen, Monsanto would not be the subject of a symbolic Tribunal but would be indicted in the International Criminal Court located in the Hague in Holland – the place where the Tribunal was held.
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