Sustainable Pulse, 22 June 2015
A federal judge in Argentina has ruled that an unprecedented class action lawsuit, demanding a ban on the release of GMOs and their associated pesticides, can proceed.
The lawsuit asks the government to provisionally suspend the uncontrolled open release of GMOs – for example, the sale of RR2 Pro/Liberty soybeans – on the grounds that they violate seed laws. The lawsuit also demands labeling of GMOs.
The lawsuit further argues for “a ban on the application of pesticides used for farming until their safety for the environment, ecosystems, biodiversity, the health of living beings, the cultural heritage of the Argentine people, and the sustainability of the production model is scientifically proven”.
The lawsuit primarily attacks GMOs for their contribution to the trend towards monoculture, direct seeding with consequent reduction of rural labor, economic concentration in the hands of few producers, and impacts on the health of rural populations and the environment.
The lawsuit demands that the commercialization of new GMOs is not permitted in the country. It is titled, “Gimenez Alicia Fanny and others against the national government, Monsanto and others, over environmental damage”.
The defendants are the Argentine national government, the Federal Council for the Environment, and a group of companies, including Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, Novartis, Nidera, Dow Agrosciences, Pioneer, Agrevo, Ciba Geigy, Argenbio and Bayer, that produce and sell GMOs and the agrochemicals tied to their use.
The lawsuit also urges the Legislature to pass a biosafety law, set minimum standards for use of soil resources, and order the defendants to “rebuild” or “repair” environmental damage caused by the GMO farming model. This would be achieved through the reintroduction of non-GMO cultivars and wild species, and the rebuilding of soil. If these measures are not possible, the lawsuit demands that the companies be ordered to pay compensation.
The expert lawyers who presented the case to the Court are: Jorge Mosset Iturraspe, Daniel Salaberry, Graciela Cristina Vizcay Gómez, Miguel Araya, Horacio Belosi and Santiago Kaplun.
The joint action has been taken to represent the following cases:
► Case Sandoval: (Bandera, Santiago del Estero). Julieta Sandoval died at the age of seven months in 2010. She was born with multiple birth defects attributed to the use of environmental chemicals. Her maternal grandfather and father were fumigators and used glyphosate, insecticides and fungicides. Fanny Alicia Giménez is the mother of Julieta and now supports full protection from these chemicals.
► Case Ayelén: A five year old girl, also resident of Bandera has leukemia whose origin is allegedly related to agrochemicals.
► Case Tomasi: Fabian Tomasi, worked as a fumigator in Basavilbaso, Entre Rios, from the age of 23. Today he suffers serious conditions associated with exposure to chemicals.
► Oscar Lescano: Rural doctor and former Mayor of Basavilbaso. From his experience in office he became one of the strongest voices for the problems in his province.
► Case Milesi: (Mercedes, Buenos Aires) Jose Milesi and Silvina Picchioni and their son Juan. In 2008, when Juan was two years old, he was sprayed in the courtyard of his house by a crop duster. Later he was diagnosed with leukemia.