The Hague, 14 October 2016: Millions represented by farmer groups and activists across the globe launched the People’s Assembly and Monsanto Tribunal.
The day started with a press conference of the Monsanto Tribunal & People’s Assembly organizing committee, including: Vandana Shiva, Corinne Lepage, Emilie Gaillard, Mindy Schneider, Hans Herren, Ronnie Cummins, Andre Leu, Nnimmo Bassey and Renate Künast. They spoke of the necessity of a people’s grassroots movement in the face of governments and international institutions’ inaction in protecting human rights. A full day of presentations and reports from various scientists, activists, and leaders of important organizations such as Navdanya International, IFOAM, GM Watch, and Pesticide Action Network to name a few, who covered topics of ecocide and genocide, adverse effects of pesticides and herbicides on the environment and health, and attacks by big international corporations on farmers and farming as well as science and scientists.
Together, they made a joint declaration to save the planet from the past century of ecocide and genocide.
Crimes Against Nature:
Monsanto, along with the other poison making corporations, have to recognize that nature has rights. We cannot continue to allow for violations and looting of our Mother Nature, if we want our planet and all her diverse species to survive. The conquest of nature driven by rampant and mindless industrialization has poisoned and polluted our planet. Greed for the control of nature has driven the new colonizers to disregard indigenous traditions and sciences. In the process, nature has been made into an instrument of exploitation.
We stand today to celebrate Nature in all her diversity, with all her rights and we call all citizens of the world to rise in pledging to honor the rights of our Earth (http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/08/24/the-universal-declaration-of-the-rights-of-mother-earth/).
Patenting Life and seeds:
All beings including plants, animals, and even the tiniest of microorganism are sentient beings. They are self-organised living systems and not inventions. Monsanto’s claim on patents on seeds and life is not only a gross violation of Nature’s rights, but also represents a challenge to Nature’s process of creation and to Life itself. Monsanto claims to be “the creator”, that is “the inventor” of life and seeds. Yet, plants and seeds produce and reproduce themselves without the intervention of a corporation.
Monsanto, by claiming to be the Creator of seed, sends out a simple signal to the world – GMO = God Move Over.
Violations of Farmer’s Rights:
Across the world, from India to Mexico, the rights of farmers have been violated. In India alone, 300,000 farmers have committed suicide in the past two decades – most of these occuring in the “cotton belt”, the area of India where 95% of the cotton seed lies in Monsanto’s hands. By fraudulent means of manipulation and lies, Monsanto has tricked farmers into buying their seeds. They have illegally extracted royalties and increased the costs of inputs. This has led to hundreds of thousands of farmers being pushed into the debt and suicide cycle.
Contamination, Genetic Pollution and Devastation of Biodiversity:
GMOs have contaminated farmers’ fields and destroyed generations of natural evolution of plants all over our planet. From Steve Marsh from Australia to Percy Schemeiser from Canada, farmers are the worstly affected victims of this genetic contamination. Furthermore, GMOs have oppressed farmers by making them pay for the pollution of their fields. Monsanto wants control of our seeds and food systems and is willing to cross any boundaries for its profit.
In 1995, Monsanto illegally smuggled Bt cotton seeds into India and contaminated native and hybrid cotton fields in Gujarat. They have used genetic pollution and contamination as a modus operandi to enter countries without any biosafety or scientific assessments. In many countries of the world, Monsanto has reversed thousands of years of natural evolution.
Attack on Democracy and Countries:
Monsanto’s drive for profit has unleashed seed imperialism on the world. They have corrupted governments and lobbied to dismantle sovereign laws and Constitutions of all countries.
Article 6 of the Argentinean Constitution and Article 3 (J) of India’s Constitution do not allow patents on plants and seeds, but Monsanto has challenged these laws in both countries’ courts in an effort to undermine these democracies. Through lobby groups, Monsanto has applied international pressure to the dismantlement of the safety frameworks that ensure that rights of plants and citizens are protected.
Monsanto is still attacking Argentinean laws, seeking to change any laws that come in the way of their corporate profits. “In the case of the lawsuit against Monsanto in Argentina in 2013, we requested to have access to the studies conducted by Monsanto. This legal measure was approved and we could see with our own eyes that their studies are just trash science,” said Fernando Cabaleiro.
By introducing poisons such as Roundup (glyphosate) and Basta (glufosinate), Monsanto has exposed millions of people to virulent poisons. Today, these people are suffering from neurological diseases like autism and Alzheimer’s, food-related diseases like cancer and diabetes, and are developing countless health complications. The poisons being forcibly unleashed on farms are the major reason for these diseases.
Agro-ecology can feed the world with nutritious and poison-free food, while also cooling our planet. But this is both omitted and denied to us. Industrial agriculture is promoted through favourable economic policies, while small farmers are forced to buy agribusiness’ inputs.
Attack on science:
Monsanto has worked to misguide the public about the science behind chemical agriculture. They have influenced academia, research magazines, and bought out scientists to steer the public away from transparent and rigorous scientific analysis.
Monsanto has worked to discredit independent scientists such as Dr A Putzai, Dr Gilles-Eric Seralini, Shiv Chopra and many others who have stood up for rigorous science and independent research.
Resources for journalists
The People’s Assembly is taking place, 14 to 16 October in The Hague, Bazaar of Ideas (next to the Student Hotel) – Hoefkade 9, 2526 BN Den Haag
For more information, audiovisual material, for accreditation and to interviews with the president of Navdanya, Vandana Shiva and other speakers
press [@] peoplesassembly [.] net